Right and Wrong. How we travelled.

I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I’ve learnt how to pack a suitcase. For the very first time I managed to go away without needing to duck into a shop for a new toothbrush or a pair of socks. It’s only taken twelve years, but I reckon I might have cracked it!

There were a few things I would have done differently in our travels though. And in keeping with the over-sharing theme of this blog, I thought I’d write a little list.

Things we got right.

We flew with KLM.

KLM you were fantastic. The plane ran on time and your plane was clean. But best of all, you were cheap. You were unbelievably cheap! If it wasn’t for you and your cheap flights we wouldn’t have gone to Paris – so thank you for that.

Oh and the best thing about flying with KLM, if you’re around my age, you won’t be able to get THIS song out of your head. KLF, KLM, it all sounds the same after the drinks trolley has made its way past you for the third time. Ahhhhh bound for Mu Mu land.

What we also did right.

MORE THAN ONE BACKPACK

We took two lightweight backpacks. This meant we had somewhere to stash water, bagels, ham and a bottle of wine. Having two meant that we could balance out the weight and departmentalize a bit more. The third little traveller was happy to carry one of the backpacks as he had his eye on it for future use (possession being nine tenths of the law). Carrying food and water meant we weren’t held captive to stopping in expensive restaurants. Apples were often suggested when people complained of being starving. Amazing how kids can be starving for nutella crepes and not apples. I think the medical term is Selective Starvation.

MORE THAN ONE UMBRELLA

We packed two umbrellas. I probably would have only packed one, but G was on to it. Two meant that both G and I had one to hold. Much better than one umbrella and six bodies to fit underneath it.

PACKING SMALL ON THE BIG THINGS, AND BIG ON THE SMALL THINGS

2 shirts, 2 pair of jeans, 2 hoodies, 2 t-shirts, eleven hundred pairs of socks and jocks. This is what I’ve learnt. You can wear yesterday’s dirty t-shirt but if you can’t find a pair of socks – life will be miserable. I packed multiple spencers and singlets to keep the kids warm.

Things we did wrong.

CONNECTIVITY

We’d read something about there being a Relay shop in the airport and figured we’d pick up a SIM card there. When they didn’t have any and weren’t particularly helpful in suggesting where we could go to fix our problem, we were a little stuck. We had plans on using the ipad to find our way to where we were staying, so those plans were quickly squashed. We ended up finding an Orange when we went into Paris that afternoon. It was no biggie but it was a reminder to have a backup plan.

WEATHER

We were going in school holidays so our dates weren’t flexible, but early April is a bit dodgy in Europe. If you’re thinking of a trip, try and push it back to the end of April. The weather in Paris right now is superb. We had hats, gloves and three layers of clothes but travel is harder when it’s cold and wet. What’s really hard though – is travel when it hails! Particularly if you’re driving in peak hour traffic on a Friday afternoon with a head cold and a grumpy husband who’s angry with the GPS.

Who’s having fun?

SUGGESTIONS

If you’re travelling with small children, think about some sort of laminated card or bracelet with your contact details on it. Last year I wrote out our name and contact number on a piece of paper that went into the kids pockets. If my guys were smaller I might want to get something that was more of a bracelet (think hospital ID), the piece of paper inevitably goes through the wash.

Perhaps also take a picture of the kids each morning as you leave, if they’re lost it’ll make it much easier to track them down if you can remember what colour hoodie they had on that day.

Take your own corkscrew and pate knife. We had to borrow.

Take a photo/screen shot on your iPad or phone of the map you’ll be using that day. Then if your connectivity goes down it won’t matter.

If your heading into dodgy weather, think about a plastic poncho. We hopped on one of those tour busses on the very first day and the second little traveller and I eyed off the “free” ponchos. G was horrified at the idea of wearing “a human condom” around Paris and suggested we could do without.

He was even more horrified when he had to fork out 10 EUR per poncho in Disneyland when it was raining sideways and the umbrellas were deemed useless.

Travel lessons. Providing beautiful yet passive aggressive ways to say “I told you so” to your partner for the next twenty years together.

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