I was invited on a trip by the French Tourism Board to visit some towns in Northern France for a week. It was such a special trip and I feel so grateful I got to go. I was traveling with Nicole, Dave, Carol and Nadia. I arrived at Charles DeGaulle around lunch. France has such a good train infrastructure. It was so easy to get from the airport to Reims because the train station left from the same airport terminal as where my plane landed. The high speed train got us there in less than an hour. So fast! Reims is a very old town in France and is where among other things champagne was invented and is home to the famous Reims cathedral (where most of the French kings were coronated.) It is beautiful town and there was so much to do.
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When I travel my goal is to be comfortable, dress appropriately, and not look like a slob. I also tend to be a light packer. If it doesn’t fit in my carryon then I don’t want to bring it. When I posted on Instagram that I packed for a 2 week trip to France (and a sidetrip to Morocco) with just a carryon I had several people ask me to do a post on it. Our trip was mostly touring cities so there wasn’t a lot of swimsuit time. Obviously if your trip was different (like in the winter or to a beach) you’d pack accordingly. I’ve tried to put notes next to each item on what I used it for so you could decide if you needed it or not. For example if you weren’t planning on working on your trip you might not bring a laptop. I packed to do a small load of laundry with socks and underwear halfway through my trip. But as long as I didn’t spill food on myself at mealtimes my clothes stayed pretty clean. All of the clothing and toiletries fit into one carryon bag and the electronics and travel documents and even the polka dot purse all fit into the leather tote. So when I was all packed up I only had two bags. (More photos below the jump.)
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I’ve been meaning to post pictures from our family trip to China and am just now getting around to organizing my photos. It was one of the best family trips we have ever been on. It was affordable, there was so much to see, and it was so easy to do with kids. Before I went I was a little nervous about getting around but I don’t think it was that much harder than navigating a European country with a foreign language. We felt safe and everyone was very helpful when we asked. We had been wanting to visit Paul’s brother and family who are living in China and when I was hunting for airfare for a Spring Break trip I happened upon some really cheap direct flights to Shanghai. They were less than $600. We jumped on them and are really happy we did.
The Flight/ I read the flight information wrong at first and had thought the flight was going to be 15 hours long. Luckily it only ended up to be about 12 hours. It really wasn’t bad. We came prepared with ipads and headphones and snacks and the kids did great. When we arrived we were tired but went directly to the train station and took a train to Nanjing, just a few hours out of Shanghai. We stayed with Paul’s brother and family. It was a great transition to stay with family for the first few days because there was no pressure to sight-see and we could get over jet lag. They took us to markets that aren’t in any guide books. They also taught us a few tricks to get around. Honestly, the most helpful thing was watching my sister-in-law bargain with the vendors in limited Chinese. It came in handy later on in the trip when I had to do it on my own.
Nanjing/ We probably wouldn’t have stopped in Nanjing on our short trip if we didn’t have family there. It is a great city but not as famous as some of the others in China. Besides the markets and seeing family we also went to Confuscious’ Temple and Yellow Mountain which we really liked. After a few days we jumped on a train and began our trip to Beijing.
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I love using Airbnb when I travel for so many reasons but this is especially true in Paris. The hotel rooms in Paris tend to be teeny-tiny so getting an apartment is a way better value. If you haven’t traveled much in Europe the idea of staying in a flat vs. a hotel can seem strange (I had to talk my sister into it recently) but it’s how most people travel in Europe. I lived in Paris for a year and a half and my friends are always asking me to help them choose an Airbnb so I thought I would do a post on how to choose an Airbnb Flat in Paris. I actually just returned from a trip to Paris and we stayed in the most beautiful Airbnb flat. (Of course there are lots of great neighborhoods but for the sake of this post I’m going to narrow it down to my three favorites.)
click through for maps and details…
I love making eye-catching invitations – I feel like you get RSVPs much quicker when the invitation isn’t just a plain text email. These paper lantern globe invitations are perfect if you’re throwing a bon voyage party for a friend. Wouldn’t it be fun to make one from a giant paper lantern for party decor? Just hang it with some happy decorations and you’re good to go!
Click through for instructions …