3 Weeks to France: Gearing up

I’ve recently been taking inventory to see what needs to be purchased for our five-week stay in Paris.  There is so much cool travel gear out there these days!  We did our research before selecting a couple of new items.  First on my list was kid gear.  The owner of the apartment we are renting was able to procure a crib and a highchair for us to use during our stay.  Hooray!  The next big issue was a stroller.  We always debate whether or not to bring one, since strollers are so difficult to navigate on subways, buses, and narrow crowded sidewalks in foreign cities.  But heavy, strong-willed toddlers are also difficult to navigate, so we’ve decided to bring a stroller.

Which stroller to bring?  Our beloved double jogger, although perfect for our two youngest children here in the USA, was immediately deemed too heavy and unwieldy for Europe.  We ordered the fairly inexpensive The First Years Ignite Stroller, a portable umbrella stroller that has some nice features and got good reviews on Amazon.  However, when the stroller arrived and we tested it side-by-side against the Baby Jogger City Mini we already own, we decided to return the umbrella and bring along our own City Mini.

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Easy, fold-up of the City Mini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The City Mini is an excellent stroller.  We’ve had ours for a few years and been very happy with it.  It’s easy to push, even over rough terrain.  Its best feature is a convenient handle in the seat that allows you to easily fold and carry the stroller with one hand.  If you don’t already own a stroller, however, and are looking for something durable but inexpensive to take on a trip, we liked the Ignite Stroller.  It’s reasonably priced and gets great reviews for portability.

Since even the best stroller isn’t always practical as a tourist, we also ordered the Boba Air Baby Carrier.  The lightweight nylon carrier folds up into a neat little zippered pouch that can be tucked into a purse or backpack.  It can be used as a front or back carrier.  We tried our almost 2-year-old and the 3-year-old in it and they both fit, although the 3-year-old was a bit of a squeeze.  It should be great to have for exploring places a stroller can’t easily go.

We’ve learned from past travels that less is more in terms of carry-on gear.  We will bring along our inflatable travel pillows from Travelrest.  We tested these on our last overnight flight to Europe and really liked them.  They’re kind of funny looking, but quite cozy for sleeping on a plane.  I also wanted to find a durable travel tote bag—one that can be used as a carry-on and also for daily use around the city.  It needs to be roomy for four kids’ snacks, water bottles, diapers, and gear.  It also needs to be secure since we’ve heard reports of an increase in pickpocketing in Paris.  After some research, I finally settled on this bag from LeSportSac.  It looks durable, lightweight, and secure.

Last on the list was clothes and shoes.  Summer is such an easy season to travel without a lot of bulky coats and gear.  I browsed through the boys’ closets and drawers, searching for items that aren’t too frayed, stained, and holey for Paris.  It was then quick work to fill in the gaps with a few pairs of shorts and a couple of new shirts ordered online.  Our boys are too rough and tumble for fancy clothes!

Finally, a few new things for myself.  I know that buying a few new things for a trip to Paris should be fun, but it’s been stressful for me.  I feel pressure to look at least somewhat stylish since we’ll be living in Paris.  Right??  But alas, style isn’t something that comes naturally to me so the whole task of buying new clothes was a challenge.  I finally settled on few cute items from Boden.  It’s a British company, which, I reasoned, is close-ish to France and therefore surely more stylish.  Does that sound about right?  They have some darling summer dresses and tops.  This is the first time I’ve ordered anything from them, but I have high hopes.  And with a stylishly outfitted mother, I believe our crew is now all geared up and ready to go!

1 reply
  1. Kristy
    Kristy says:

    First, I love Boden, you will too, we order a ton of stuff from them for me and my little girls. Second, I think you’ll be so glad you’re bringing your stroller. We brought ours to London last year and it was a lifesaver. Otherwise, we would have been carrying our 5 year old, and with the stroller, she would just fall asleep in it and we’d see all the stuff we wanted to see. We got pretty good at pulling her out at the top of the underground stairs, folding up the stroller, and hopping on the tube. You’ll have a great trip!

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