2 months to go - What to do??

Aug 12th, 2008, 04:46 PM
  #41  
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I did have a question - one thing I noticed was how because I am short it is hard not to have a foot rest. I do not think Airfrance has them... do you just prop your feet up on your carryon?
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 07:52 PM
  #42  
 
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MomDD-I live in SoCal too. I know you said you didn't want to buy another bag, but if you change your mind, you might try checking Ross or Marshall's. They have tons of carry-on sized roll-aboards usually under $50 each. I've bought a few there and some are "ultralight". Definitely under ll lbs, more like 6 or 7 lbs.
BTW, I always do carry-on if I can, taking one 22" and one "personal" bag, no matter the length of time I'll be gone. To give you an idea of how I packed for 12 days in cold weather in central Europe, look here:
http://www.wired2theworld.com/Centraleurope2007.html
I can make due with less in hot weather. Anything more than 10 days and I have to do laundry. I will be a bit more challenged on my next trip as I will have to pack for a couple of "dressy" events.

Cherish your time traveling with your daughter. I didn't travel much with my Mom as a kid, but now we do a trip together almost every year.

And yes, I often use my smaller carry on bag as a foot rest as I am short too. Regardless, I like to have under the seat in front of me for easy access. I also pack a change of clothes in it in case I am forced to check the larger bag and it gets lost.
Kristina is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 08:51 PM
  #43  
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Kristina - excellent advice -thank you for posting. I am reading your blog and SO enjoying it - although I am only up to the business class seats and I am green with envy!

I really want to know how much your bag weighs when you are done?
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 09:23 PM
  #44  
 
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My 22" bag usually weighs about 22 lbs when packed, so sometimes I have to check it depending on airline's specific weight regulations. I flew Thai airways in December and their carry-on weight restriction was 7 kilos (15 lbs!) total so I had to check. Of course, I saw plenty of people with rolling bags and but I didn't even try to get away with it. US carriers have more lenient rules regarding carry-on than other international airlines I've found. They tend to be size restrictive, but generous with weight. Have you looked at what Air France's restrictions are for carry-on?

For my last trip, to Rome, we ended up checking the 22" bags because we were traveling with friends who were checking bigger bags. Try as I might, I could not convince them to go lighter. ;-)
If you want to see what I packed for Rome, go to the planning page of Rome 2008 on my main page, www.wired2theworld.com

I'm going to France in October and I'll to be flying over alone and meeting my Mom in Paris for a week. My plan is to do carry on all the way (on United weight is not an issue) so I can just go straight to the RER. I may check my bag on the way home as I will be with Mom then and she will be checking her bag.

If you look at my website, you'll see that not only am I an obsessive packer, but planner too. I just can't help myself.
Kristina is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 06:16 AM
  #45  
 
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11 lbs. empty is awful heavy for a suitcase when you are trying to pack light and go carry-on only.

I recommend you aim for 20-25 lbs. when packed. Remember for your particular trip, it's not just about airports, but about moving around alot, on and off trains, in and out of hotels, etc.

You mentioned having to help your daughter. My suggestion is to try to get her packed in a way she can manage her own things. Maybe a 17" roller and a small day-pack?
suze is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 09:06 AM
  #46  
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Suze - as usual good advice - I will try to find her a 17 inch bag. I do not think I own one of those... and yes, actually I am more concerned about the train travel/moving then the actual "not checking" my bag. We are flying direct from LAX to LHR and I am not overly concerned or obsessed with NOT checking a bag but for this trip it is more about having to move often and dealing with too much stuff.

Kristina - I have really been enjoying reading your blogs. Thank you so much for sharing them!
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 09:24 AM
  #47  
 
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Dawn - Can you borrow a bag from a friend? Just a thought...

g.
gruezi is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 09:29 AM
  #48  
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I have so much luggage - I need to go and look through it all - I am sure I could borrow a bag...
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Aug 13th, 2008, 11:55 AM
  #49  
 
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What about a kid's backpack for your daughter?

That's what my friends who travel often with kids use. One family I'm thinking of has been going to Europe since their *four* children were tiny, each with their own minature backpack!

Definitely find a suitcase among your own, or borrow from a friend. There's really no need to buy a new one (now that I'm thinking about). Are you set on wheeled luggage? Would you consider using a duffle bag?

suze is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:09 PM
  #50  
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If it was light Suze. I have two herinated discs in my back so always worry about that.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:15 PM
  #51  
 
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I'm leaving in a few weeks myself. Here are some other things to do:

1. Notify your bank and credit card companies the dates you will be in Europe to alleviate the chance of them closing them down if they see suspicious out-of-country activity. Make sure you change or convert your ATM PIN to a 4-digit NUMERICAL code for Europe.

2. Arrange for friends/relatives/neighbors to pick up mail, newspapers at your house and generally make things look normal.

3. Any European AC adapters needed...?

4. Cell phone/phone access in Europe ... get new phone/SIMM card, whatever is "in" now. (I personally don't want it but you might.)

5. Obtain reservations now for hard to get sites: e.g., in Florence: Uffizi, Academia, etc. for whatever city might have something where advanced planning could help.

6. Make copies of all important documents, passports and put them in ANOTHER suitcase. If items are lost or stolen you'll have a treasure trove of good re-bounding info to have your passport re-issued or to continue your trip.

7. Recharge camera/GPS battery(ies). Ensure battery and camera card ARE inside the camera....

Wow -- there's always something else to do so just expect things to fall through the cracks. Just remember that everything can be fixed. Then... ENJOY!!!
mbresso is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:19 PM
  #52  
 
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Nope, nevermind, I wouldn't recommend even a light-weight duffle bag if you have a bad back.
suze is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 06:32 AM
  #53  
 
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I totally relate to the dread before a big trip.

I was surprised to experience this before our trip to Europe this summer b/c I totally enjoyed the planning and was greatly anticipating going.

But, a week before, I complained to my husband that our 10 day trip was taking a full 10 days out of our lives prior just to go (double check arrangements, packing (arg!!), cleaning the house, arrangements for mail, and oh I forgot about the fish, etc. etc. etc).

Not to add to your to-do list, but mbresso has great suggestions. Start on those now, instead of 5 days prior, like I did! You have a great start on things, which I find is the only way to reduce a lot of stress prior to a trip.

Do you have a GPS?!

All that said, it will ALL be worth it - I'm sure you will have a wonderful time making such great memories with your daughter!

karens is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 06:37 AM
  #54  
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Karens..would you get a gps if you were not driving? I dare not drive - I am tackling enough on this adventure!
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 09:30 AM
  #55  
 
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I don't know about a GPS (haha) but some people recommend packing a small compass. So you can get your map properly oriented.
suze is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 11:36 AM
  #56  
 
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This is not my own idea and I have not tried it. But was recommended here and seemed worth considering.

Instead of a wheeled suitcase, which is heavy by nature, taking one of those metal-framed fold-up carrier deals and strap a softsided bag(s) onto it with bungie cords. I saw these contraptions in the window of Bergmann Luggage yesterday reminded me of the idea.

In your case you & your daughter could each have a softsided duffle or somesuch, then put them both onto the wheeled frame as/when needed.

Just a thought (with credit to someone else here who's name I'm not recalling, sorry).
suze is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 11:36 AM
  #57  
 
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No, if you're not driving, you don't need a GPS. At least I wouldn't get one if I weren't driving. (And I would NOT drive in England!!!!)

Just maps of the tourist stuff...
karens is offline  
Aug 14th, 2008, 08:12 PM
  #58  
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no..no driving - my Mom tried to convince me to get one for walking around

Suze - that might not be a bad idea...

My big issue with the packing is that it will be in the mid 70's at the start of my trip in Italy and then cool in Munich and Salzburg.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 11:04 AM
  #59  
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I decided to clean out my closet today - it was in dire need - so I started setting out the clothing for the trip - which is closer to 5 weeks away!

The shoe issue is getting to me. I will be in weather ranging from 50's to mid 70's.... maybe even 40's?

I will wear my boots on the plane as to save space - for Italy in Oct do you think sandals would be okay (Florence is as far south as we will be)...

Thanks in advance as always! I should ad I like open toed shoes - living in Southern California my feet do not like to all binded up
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 11:51 AM
  #60  
 
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Hi Dawn,

I have a lot of trip reports to write but they take so long and you need to know this now...

I just want to say that I know you are a fan of Disneyland and that you definitely must go to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau - which BTW are basically a short walk from each other so literally at the top and bottom of the little village. You and DD will love, love, love it there. It's very fairytale like and the mountains and lake scenery is beautiful not to mention the cute town of Fussen nearby and the tour of the castles and the horse drawn carriage up the mountain (cost is 5 Euros each for horse carriage, kids free for castle tour, so reasonable I think). Perfect for an 11 year-old and her mom. The inn we stayed at was really nice with views to both castles, but pricey I thought (my husband didn't, but he is always comparing to Switzerland prices). I think you can find a nice place for less and perhaps even with a view. My husband and I plan to head back here in the fall or winter as we loved the area so much and we didn't have time to tour Hohenschwangau (well, not with the teenagers...)

Dachau has a sign outside the museum building saying the exhibit there is not suitable for those under 12. We didn't spend time in the museum except for the movie as we have seen so much already about the holocaust so education on that was not our intention. (The movie was not too horrible except for some heart-wrenching photos of the many corpses at the end which I still have a visual of tonight, but it provided a decent overview of the Nazi history and the opening and uses of the camps specifically Dachau. I told both girls they could leave if it was too sad, but both stayed.)

My girls did not even want to go to Dachau and went under protest of sorts, but they said it was not as bad as they thought it would be. "Creepy" was the word used - not disturbing. They said watching "Schindler's List" was a lot worse...
That said, my younger daughter and I had bad dreams last night but not about Dachau...

Neither daughter would have been ready to discuss Dachau or what happened there, when they were 11, but I think I mentioned to you they are pretty sensitive and we have a very feminine home life - no horror movies, wrestling, name-calling, etc (all the stuff I grew up with having brothers). So you will have to decide for yourself knowing your daughter.

There is a barrack with sleeping quarters etc, 4 religious memorials, 2 crematoriums and a gas chamber plus an area where executions took place - all of these can be entered. Much of the camp has been destroyed so only a few barracks remain. I think it takes an adult perspective to really perceive the crowding, privacy and health issues. To a kid the clean, empty barrack may look a bit like summer camp.

The audio is good and you can do this self-guided easily.

Let me know of any specific questions on either place.

gruezi
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