Monday, May 12, 2014

How to Pack for Two Months and Seven People

First, accept the fact that you are nuts. Then move on. You've done this before and you can handle it. Most likely. Well, maybe have a cup of coffee to wake up or a glass of wine to relax and then move on. I'm alternating between the two.

1) Keep a bag/box/suitcase open and handy for a month or two before leaving, where you will stash items such as gifts for Auntie Margie, the clothes the youngest two must have for the wedding in July, extra hair product (so no one steals it in the meantime), and allergy meds.

2) Make a list. Make a lot of lists.

  a) You need a list for what stays and who will take care of it:

       1) plants, animals, house or apartment, paychecks, bills and refrigerators (they can be their own special problem in the summer months).

  b) a list of what goes with its own subcategories:

      1) Carry-ons

      2) Shared suitcase for 2 nights in Paris (or Clinton or San Antonio)

      3) Long-term suitcase for stay

      4) Rethink carry-ons for worst-case scenario; lost luggage and stuck in country other than where the suitcases find themselves; underthings, toothbrush, make-up remover, wash-cloth, needle and thread, food.

3) Check in again tomorrow for everything that I forgot to mention...or remind me of it in the comment section!


  1. Good luck to you! We did that last spring/summer and survived. We only relied on public transportation and traveled via train from Germany to Vienna to Switzerland and back. Be sure you can carry all of your luggage and determine in advance who carries what. Each child got a backpack, even Flora, who was 4 then. We only lost one children's purse on a train, but it was found and returned to us later.

  2. Remember city guide books-they make a huge difference in Europe! We have just visited Holland and Belgium :) Most importantly have fun, if you forget something you will probably be able to buy it :)

  3. Thank you, Eva! Those are good points and it's very encouraging. All by train???

  4. If your carry ons look similar buy some sturdy ribbon and assign each child/person a color. Also do this with checked suitcases. When those babies come down the belt it can be hard to find yours.

  5. Yes, no car this time and it worked well. I even managed to take the train back from Switzerland to Germany with all children by myself. My husband stayed in Switzerland for another week. We had lots suitcases and a stroller, and due to a technical failure of our very first train missed the ICE train that had our reservations. So the whole trip was without reservations, but we always found a seat and could even sit together. That was very lucky. But we had practiced in advance who would carry what and how to walk so we would not miss a connecting train. For us it was cheaper to travel by train in Switzerland and Austria. When we were in Europe 10 years ago with only three children we did the leasing program from Renault. This is only possible for Americans, not Europeans. You lease a car at a certain place and must keep it for at least 6 weeks I believe. A very good way to travel with many people, especially when you are in France. Much cheaper than renting a car and you get a brand-new car!


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