Packing for Paris

We are going to Paris.  My passport is here, the plane tickets have been purchased.  (We don’t yet have a hotel room reserved, however.  Dan is — voluntarily — in charge of planning this trip, so this is happening on a Dan/ADD schedule, not an Emily/OCD schedule.  I keep telling myself I will survive this.)

Benjamin, the porter

Now comes the task of packing, which really means making lists, doing laundry, sorting clothes, setting things aside, keeping said things out of the reach of the kids and the dog and, finally, trying to fit everything in to a reasonable amount of luggage to be managed by two adults who will also be wrangling two children and a stroller.  (I actually started working on packing last weekend — I prefer two weeks to work on it, but the details of this trip are kind of coming together at the last minute.)

This is not an easy task.  It takes a lot of thought and organization.  Secretly, I love doing this — it’s exactly that kind of challenge that suits the way my brain works.  (But it’s still a big job, and it still stresses me out.)

A few trips ago, I gave up trying to pack for every eventuality.  For years, trying to be prepared for anything and everything just left me carrying around a bunch of stuff I never needed, but I would STILL typically not have the one thing that would actually have been useful when some unforseen circumstance came up (such is the nature of the unforseen).  I am a bad Girl Scout — I simply must accept I will not always “be prepared” for everything.

I’m really going for “less is more” in terms of packing this time.  Anything we need, short of our actual passports (and actually, probably even those) can be purchased or replaced in France.  I am packing half the clothes that I think we need (except that I’m allowing for a full complement of socks, underwear and onesies, because there are limits to my practicality).  Our shirts and pants can be reworn – and if they get too dirty, they can be washed in the sink (since we don’t have a hotel yet, I don’t know if we’ll have easy access to laundry facilities).  For each of us, I’m packing a rain coat and a fleece jacket, which can be layered if it’s cold (even if it’s not raining, because a raincoat also makes a good wind breaker).  We’re each bringing two paris of shoes — one pair of rain boots and one pair of good walking shoes.  (I’d skip the boots except that the forecast calls for rain almost every day we’ll be in France.)  We’re bringing minimal toiletries and diapers (we can buy more of whatever we need), as well as only a few books and toys (because it will be more fun if we get a few things on our trip).

My goal is to pack for all four of us, for a week, in two relatively small rolling suitcases and one large-ish backpack.  (That includes packing the Ergo baby carrier, which takes up a fair bit of space on its own.)

I’ve assembled about 80% of our stuff at this point, but I haven’t tackled the actual packing yet.  That comes tomorrow (assuming Liam is easily distracted by tv tomorrow morning).  I’m hoping we can “travel light” (relatively) and be less worried about our stuff and more free to enjoy our time.  We shall see.  (But if they don’t sell diapers in France, we’re going to be in big trouble.)

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