if you plan on flying into france, you need to show them a ticket out of france BEFORE THEY CHECK YOU IN FOR YOUR FLIGHT. i, not knowing this, booked my flight home last minute standing in front of the baggage lady. don’t make the same mistake. of course, if you have your eurail pass, you can just book your first train out of France and this will suffice.
checked bags have weight limits, carryons do not. (even though they’re all going on the same aircraft). this being said, put heavier things like books and shoes (or your climbing rope) here so you don’t have to rearrange at the airport. overweight bags usually incur a pretty sizable fee. it’s super ideal if your carry on can fit inside your checked bag.
take A LOT of vitamin c. vitamin c is water soluble, meaning you can’t get sick from having too much. i have never taken anything like airborn, but i have heard people recommend it. planes are SUPER dirty. and you’re sharing a small amount of air with like 90 other people for several hours. do all your hand-sanitizer, breathing mask things. better to be safe than sorry.
if you have compression socks, wear them. or put them on mid-flight. you’ll be sitting still for a very long time.
you have probably heard that french people are rude. it’s true. customer service persons at stores, airports, restaurants, even on the flight will ignore you or pretend they don’t speak english, so my advice would be if you’re dead set on visiting france, do it after you’ve already met up with your travel partner. i will be the first to admit: it was Challenging getting around alone in france. i went to 6 different train stations and talked to like 50 people. i will say, the people working on the train were very polite and helpful.
consider buying a foreign data plan. you can download google maps and access them offline, but we found it extremely helpful that my generous parents (or nervous parents) bought a data plan for me. planning to meet up with someone in a foreign place neither of you have been to is challenging, but it’s, at the very least, helpful if Both of you don’t have to be on wifi to communicate. i definitely had some i-might-sleep-on-this-bus-stop-bench moments. save yourself that stress.