Many aspects of planning a Paris getaway are a lot of fun. From selecting hotels to mapping out the places you absolutely must see while you’re there, you’re sure to relish a lot of the steps that you take to prepare for your adventure. Other steps may not be as much fun, but they’re often even more important. By being adequately prepared, you’ll be able to breathe easily and enjoy yourself to the fullest while visiting one of the most beautiful and intriguing cities on the planet.

1. Inform the Embassy of Your Plans

The vast majority of those who visit Paris return home without experiencing any serious issues. Still, it’s way better to be prepared for the worst than to assume that everything will be fine. With that in mind, submit your itinerary and contact information to the U.S. embassy in Paris prior to leaving. You can also notify the U.S. State Department via its official website, which is a handy way to ensure that you can quickly get help if you need it.

Paris Arc De Triomphe

2. Obtain a Few Euros Before Leaving

Upon arriving in Paris, you’ll likely need at least a few euros for cabs, buses and other things. Rather than scramble around trying to find an ATM or a place to exchange money, take care of it before leaving the United States. Later, once you’ve settled into your hotel and are ready to really enjoy yourself, you can get more local currency.

3. Make Sure Your Passport Is in Order

As long as it was issued when you were 16 or older, your passport will be valid for 10 years. Because passports remain valid for so long, people often assume that they’re all set. Never make such an assumption. Well before your trip begins, find your passport, dust it off and make sure it is valid and will remain valid for at least 90 days after you arrive in Paris. You can technically be denied entry if your passport is due to expire within 90 days.

4. Make Arrangements for Your Cell Phone

Don’t wait until you’re in Paris to figure out how you will stay in touch with loved ones back home. Call your cell phone provider and explain the situation. Chances are that your service provider can alter your plan to allow you to use your cell phone or smartphone upon arrival. You should also consider using calling cards or even purchasing a special French chip to put into your phone.

5. Call Your Bank and Credit Card Companies

Let your bank and credit card companies know that you will be in Paris to avoid having your cards blocked due to suspicious activity. Make a list of all of your card numbers and phone numbers for each bank and credit card company and store it somewhere in the cloud. If something goes wrong, you’ll be able to get the help you need right away.

A trip to Paris is something that you will never forget. By taking care of a few issues ahead of time, though, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the experience and will be much less likely to run into trouble while visiting the City of Light.