I had a friend come into the cafe and tell me she was going to Paris with her family for Christmas. “Any tips for us?” she asked, and I thought about some good advice to share.

“Bring a power strip,” I told her. “In Europe there is usually only one or two plugs in each room, and there are never enough plugs to charge up all of the devices that Americans like to carry with them. Digital cameras, cellphones, iPods, laptops, they all need power and you’ll be very pleased to have six regular American plugs instead of trying to get them all into a converter and the DC plugs.

Also try to buy Euros ahead of your trip. Today’s exchange rate of $1.44 is the worst in history. If there is a bank or a place where you can beat that rate, buy them ahead of time. I have so often waited and had to buy them at a Forex or other exchange place in an airport and had to pay a high rate….or worse, I wait and don’t buy them and then the banks are all closed.

Which arrondisemont are you staying in? I asked. “The Marais,” she said. “Check out the story on GoNOMAD about the Marais neighborhood, it’s a wonderful part of Paris.

“Where are flying out of?” I asked. She said Boston. Then I gave her one last piece of advice. “Reserve your airport parking ahead of time, then you’ll know exactly how much it will cost and even though it’s the holidays, you guarantee yourself a parking spot.