Did we overpack?

1 Week to France: Packing up

One week to go.

It’s time to start packing.  Historically, we’ve not been great at packing light.  When our oldest son Ben was about seven months old, we took him up to my parents’ house in Dallas for a few days.  For that short weekend visit, our little car was packed completely full of stuff.  It looked like we were moving.  We brought the big exer-saucer, we brought toys, we brought the stroller, we even brought the baby bathtub!  What must my mom have thought??  She was so sweet not to openly mock us, but I’m sure she was chuckling inside as we unloaded that car. Read more

Paris Rental

4 Weeks to France: A burst of panic

Worry, worry, worry.

Is that what the mom is supposed to do?  I’m feeling a bit concerned about the apartment we rented in Paris.  We found it through Airbnb.  We’ve used Airbnb and similar vacation rental websites in the past with good success.  The difference here, I think, is that the apartment we rented is not an investment property or a vacation home—it is a family’s full-time home, full of their full-time stuff.  I feel small bursts of panic when I think Read more

Rental questions worth asking

Vacation rentals are great for so many reasons.  But since they’re separately owned, and the owners don’t have a brand reputation to uphold, there’s less consistency than what you’d find with hotels.  Whether it’s consistency with amenities listed, remodeling projects underway, environmental questions, it’s just worth hearing from them directly.

When we were researching vacation rentals in Paris, we explored HomeAway and Airbnb (two of the biggest vacation rental resources).  In our search, we learned a number of lessons that will come in handy down the road.  Hopefully you’ll find some of them handy, as well.

If it doesn’t say it’s an amenity, it never hurts to ask.  After searching through a number of rental options on airbnb, we found one that was in a GREAT location at a good price.  The only problem?  The listing had almost no detail about the place.  I knew location, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and that there was a washing machine.  There was only one photo posted, and it was of the backyard.

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Hotel or Vacation Rental?

This can be a tricky question, but hopefully we can help.

First and foremost, how much space do you need?  This will play into whether a hotel will work or whether a vacation rental would be a better fit.  To be honest, in most cases with kids, we’d probably recommend a rental.

Why go with a vacation rental?

Rentals are great for so many reasons, but here are a few:

Rooms with doors that close–let’s face it, if you’ve got a sleeping baby, or a child going to sleep before the parents, it’s pretty much critical.  It’s not always possible, and I can attest that when it’s not possible, and you end up in a hotel room with a baby crib right at your side, you may come up hours short on your sleep.  But when it is possible, even if it’s two bedrooms with doors that close, it can make a huge difference.

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