Frequent Traveler's Best Tips To Breeze Through Europe's Largest, Most Stressful Airport

If you are traveling around Europe, chances are you'll pass through one of its most stressful airports, Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. That is because, when it comes to the size of the area it covers, Charles de Gaulle is also the largest airport in Europe. Experienced travelers know it can help you avoid stress if you arrive ready with a plotted course around this huge space. That's why frequent traveler and TikToker Cari Padula, known as @carielizabethh, posted her top tips to help people trying to navigate this busy airport


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♬ original sound – cari

Padula recommends using the website to look up what terminal your airline will be arriving at, so you can get a map and figure out your way around. The Paris airport website also has some great maps you can use. Thankfully, this airport has an automated shuttle system called the CDGVal, which will help you move around the airport and get you where you want to go so that you won't need to walk the whole way with heavy luggage!

More tips for Charles De Gaulle Airport

Once you touch down in France, Padula advises buying an eSim at the airport so that you can get online, which will help you to order a taxi and use a map app. She recommends downloading the Bolt and Uber taxi apps to see which is less expensive. As it takes 8 minutes to get between terminals on the CDGVal shuttle, make sure to factor in the time it takes to wait for it, as well as the journey, when planning your onward travel and when to meet your ride.

It may be easier to get a train or taxi into Paris than to rent a car if your only plan is to explore the city. The busy highways can be hard to navigate, especially the city's notorious ring road, known as La Périphérique. Paris also has a great public transportation network, so you don't necessarily need a car to explore the city. Once you've gotten out of the airport and mastered public transportation, then you'll know how to experience Paris like a Parisian.

How to make European airports easier to navigate

Before you head to a European airport, research its high and low seasons, as this will affect how long it will take to get through customs. During the busy holiday season, it is worth getting to the airport 3 hours before your scheduled flight so that you will be at your gate in plenty of time. During high season, you should also give yourself extra time to clear customs before ordering a taxi. Another tip from Padula is to download Google Translate if you don't speak the local language, as it will help you to understand any signs that aren't in your preferred language. 

It is also worth checking to see if your airport is enrolled in the Clear Reserve program. This is a free service where travelers can use the Clear app to book a spot in the security line prior to boarding. At your reservation time, head to the front of the line with your QR code, which will be scanned by a member of staff to let you through. The participating European airports currently include Amsterdam Schiphol, Berlin Brandenburg, London Heathrow, Frankfurt, and Rome Fiumicino. Even though some European airports can be hectic, this continent has some of the most wonderful cities in the world. Any travel hassle is worth it once you are gazing upon the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Rome's Colosseum.