AH AH I am beyond, through the roof, ecstatic for you! I’ve heard incredible things about Aix and it looks STUNNING. Not to mention all of the French food and culture, ahhh!
In terms of packing: try not to bring too much. I know it’s difficult and that it’s tempting to try to bring your entire closet just in case ANY occasion arises, but it’s really not necessary. I had a few dresses in my wardrobe in England that were far too fancy, as if I thought I would be meeting the Queen for tea or something. You don’t need most of that, just the basics. I wore plenty of jeans, leather jackets, jumpers/cardigans, fleece lined leggings, a nice winter coat, boots (tall and short), a few dresses/skirts for going out at night, etc. I’m sure it gets quite a bit warmer in France than in England, so of course you’d want some warmer weather clothes as well. I definitely would stick with the basics though, lugging massive amounts of luggage around airports by yourself really isn’t ideal. Plus, you can always pick up a thing or two over there if you are truly missing it!
I’d also leave hairdryers, curling irons, and things like that at home. I brought all of mine and ended up having to buy new ones with English plugs—as the adaptor didn’t quite work. They ended up coming out WAY too hot and burning my hair, so that was a mess.
Money-wise: I would definitely try to cook meals in a few times a week if I were you. It is SO essential to go out and experience the local cuisine, but cooking can definitely help you save—so aim for a balance of both. My friends and I would all chip in for taco/stir-fry/pasta night and not only was it a great way to get together, we saved quite a bit of money. I’d also try to budget your nights out and make sure you pre-drink, so you don’t have to buy too much alcohol while you’re out.
In terms of travel tips, I would use these websites:
- Ryanair. Ryanair was my actual life and allowed me to see SO many places in Europe on a budget. I flew to Ireland for £9 once. Seriously.
- Skyscanner. Another amazing website that compares flights and helps you to find the cheapest.
- Hostelworld. I booked every single one of my lodgings on this website and they all turned out great. I never had any hostel horror stories, but be sure to read the comments, check the safety ratings, and do some research to make sure that you are close to major landmarks that you’d like to see.
I also recommend getting to know Aix really well! I had a few friends who jetted about Europe so much that they missed getting to know quirky Manchester, which I loved. I think getting to know the city you are in is really cool, because after all, it is your home for 6 months!
Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with! Cannot wait to hear about your adventures xx