We survived our big trip. I was incredibly proud of my kids! They are great world travelers. We managed to get everything into backpacks for each of us. We did take one small additional wheeled carry-on because we had that many Girl Scout cookies to deliver to Oma. This was not a big deal because we only had the backpacks and my purse.
We just used backpacks we had so the kids were in school backpacks, and to be honest I was too. My husband has a larger travel backpack that has some convertible straps so it can be an over shoulder bag too. My backpack is one I found many years ago that seems to have all the right sized pockets in the right place for me to travel for 3-5 days so long as I don’t have a ton of clothing. It gets a bit tight if I have to travel for a work trip or something and need more clothing and shoes, but it is great for quick camping or weekend type clothes.
I would change the kids backpacks. We did a lot of walking and it would be nice to have some extra support straps and wider straps to make the backpacks more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. The kids did well with their stuff but there were complaints of shoulders hurting. I am not surprised as we walked about a mile to the hotel from the train station each time while we were in Munich.
My purse got a bit heavy as well because I had my laptop, liquids, magazines, snacks, etc. in there. The purse I brought was great except it didn’t have any way to close the top. Not exactly the best or safest way to travel. I got away with it this time, but I am sure I would not every time. Next time I’ll make sure to have a more secure purse with me. I debate about having taken my laptop. I didn’t use it much. I did use it a couple of times but when I really wanted to use it on the airplane I was unable to because of the seat arrangement and the person in front of me being reclined as far back as possible. Frustrating but wasn’t a deal breaker this trip. I am glad I wasn’t on a work trip with deadlines though. I would have been angry had that been the case.
A few things I could probably leave home the next time:
Clothes line and clips – Although this would depend on where we travel. We had a washer and dryer available. If not these would still need to come with us.
Laptop – I still go back and forth on this. It will depend on the trip. This one I could have left it home. A work trip, not so.
Second pair of shoes – I ended up not using my second pair at all and they were just extra weight and room taken up. I wore a pair of boots the whole time. Again, it would depend on the trip, but this one I could have left the second pair home.
Scarf/blanket – Debatable on these. This is the only trip I’ve ever had where the airplanes had the heat cranked. We spent the first nine hour flight sweating. I didn’t see a single person in our area of the plane with even a jacket on. It was hot! Now the flight home was more normal and was a little cool (the way it should be). I think we could have reduced the number of blankets we had, but the kids did like having a blanket from home in the hotels so maybe it was worth it?
Really that was about all that we didn’t use. I could have left the shampoo/conditioner home, but we used it up and got new in the hotels. If I traveled a lot to Europe I would invest in a travel adapter/converter for electronic stuff. I forgot about the power difference and cooked a Vick’s diffuser thing. I didn’t even think about it until it was too late. We had adapters but not converters and forgot that they run 220v over there not the 110v we run here. Just glad we didn’t start a fire.
Oh, one other thing we did this trip is we left our water bottles home. A little more expensive but nice in that we didn’t have to pack them around and in Europe we have found that most of the time even your water in a restaurant is bottled unless you specifically ask for tap water.
We had a great trip! I think my kids learned a lot about being in cities very different from where we live. We learned a tiny bit of German, ate some wonderful food, and the kids and Oma got to know each other a little bit. That has been long overdue.