spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Europalooza Trip Report Part 6: Chunnel train, Metro pain

After a wonderful 28 hours in London, we had arrived at the Eurostar terminal on time for our scheduled departure to Paris.  I had scored a great deal on these tickets months ago, and it was time to put them to good use!  Originally, since we were supposed to have this morning “free” after going to Platform 9 ¾, I had planned to leisurely go to Marks & Spencer Simply Food and choose our lunch for the train and some other English snacks (roast beef crisps and Jaffa cakes, anyone?).  But since we had squeezed in the Hop-On Hop-Off bus, that leisure time vanished.  So we got into the security line with plans to purchase something from the shops inside the small terminal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 5: woke up in England, went to sleep in France

For someone who travels a good amount, the title of this blog post doesn’t seem like that big a deal.  But I was reminded of the huge impact of travel 2 days ago- DD’s school band will be heading to an important performance on the mainland in March, and there was a parent meeting to finalize the details.  I listened to some of the more inexperienced parents and students ask very basic questions about whether you need a passport to travel entirely within the United States (no, and 3 weeks before we leave is way too late to be asking that question anyway!) and what will happen if it snows (life/the performance will go on).  For many of the kids, it’s their first time to the East Coast, though they may have gone to California or Las Vegas.  For some, it’s their 1st time away from Hawaii.  Wow!  Talk about a whole new world.  Anyway, after getting this 1st taste of travel, maybe one day maybe they’ll take the Eurostar and be able to write a blog post like this one…let’s get started! Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 4: back on track with traveling fun

Having gotten let through into the part of Hyde Park where we were going to be ice skating, we piled our backpacks and the rolling bag onto poor DH and the kids & I dashed into the tent.  It was a nice, heated room where we could exchange our shoes for skates and check our personal belongings (purses/cameras were not allowed on the ice).  Everyone out on the ice looked rosy-cheeked and happy!  We were soon to join them 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 3: in which my optimistic nature is tested in 2 different countries

Part 2 left off with me and my family heading to Raleigh Airport (RDU) on Christmas Day to catch our nonstop flight to London on American Airlines (AA).  BTW, I updated that post.  Can’t believe I forgot to mention The Nutcracker and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences!  Go read it, I’ll wait.

Ok, now that you’re back…the European adventure was about to begin!  First, though, we had to drop off the rental car.  This is where some of my troubles began… Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 2: Family Time in North Carolina (updated)

When we last left off, DH and I had figured out the keyless rental and arrived at my sister’s place in North Carolina.  After much hugging and kissing and settling in, we set about making plans for the next several days.  It had snowed the week before our arrival, but the weather was clear for our whole stay, much to DS’s disappointment.  Ah, a small child’s dreams of snow…little did we know that heavy snow would make an appearance in our trip, later on and thousands of miles away…but we’ll get to that. Read the rest of this entry »

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 1: Escape from Hawaii

You may have noticed that I changed the name of this trip for purposes of simplicity.  Easier to type Europalooza than Spain and France in 2018 or So Help Me, which is a name I still love because of the Monsters, Inc. reference.   Anyway, Europalooza it is, for the duration of this Trip Report.

Departure day dawned…sunny? cloudy? rainy?…actually I didn’t pay attention to the weather at all, haha.  It just dawned, and it meant that I was up early due to have a pesky all-day work training to attend.  The packing lists had been printed and posted a few days prior, with almost all of the packing already done.  Just a few housechores left to do: Read the rest of this entry »

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Weeeeee’re back, baby!

OMG what an awesome trip we had!  Didn’t miss any of our 10 flights, stayed UNDER BUDGET at Disneyland Paris, and packed just the right amount of travel-sized toothpaste.  Does it get any better than that?  I think not.

I’ll be doing a full day-by-day Trip Report, but here are some pics to whet your appetite…

nc chaos

“Mami, pick me up!  Tía, me too!” -North Carolina

platform 934

Platform 9 3/4, King’s Cross- London

dlp entrance

Disneyland Resort- Paris

puente de triana

Puente de Triana- Sevilla

la boqueria

Mercat de la Boqueria- Barcelona

bronx zoo

Bronx Zoo- NYC

Going to try to start posting the Report within the next week 🙂

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Award travel success so far, European hotels

Yeaaaaaaaaaaah buddy! We currently have 4 of 7 hotel nights needed covered with points, with 2 of the remaining 3 hopefully covered by certificates later this year.  I shall now regale you with my recent adventures in hotel booking.

Um, have you ever noticed that European hotels (even American chains) rarely sleep more than 2 people?  I’ve had quite a time setting up 4-person rooms in London, Paris, and Barcelona.  We are lucky to be able to stay with family or friends in our other 3 stops (North Carolina, Seville, and New Jersey).  My chart:

Location # of nights needed # of nights booked on points # of nights paying OOP % nights covered
North Carolina  3-4  3-4 sister points  0  100%
London 1
Paris 3
Seville 3  3 friend points  0  100%
Barcelona 3
New Jersey 2  2 daughter points  0  100%

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Flights and Mice- Part 3

This is our last installment, where my sis boldly (ha!) details her adventures on the flight home from Honolulu.  My comments in RED.  I’ll be back soon with a regular post, lots of Disney news lately 🙂

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Flights and Mice- Part 2

WE LAUGHED, WE CRIED, IT WAS BETTER THAN ‘CATS’

This is a combo post.  My sister’s words are bolded, and my comments are in RED again.

I think I speak for most of us when I say that it’s hard to be friends with your sibling when you are young, simply because of forced togetherness.  My sister and I shared a room our entire lives until she went away to college.  We went to the same small grammar and high schools, just one school year apart.  We lived in a bad neighborhood and our parents did not let us play outside unattended.  In short, we couldn’t ever get away from each other. Read the rest of this entry »

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