Luggage & Travel Day

February 7, 2011

Another practical post to start off the week. Today, I’ll be sharing the luggage we chose and reporting on our travel day.

blair family at airport

Our luggage search was fairly extensive. First we window-shopped, just to get a sense of what was out there and what might work for our family. We started at TJ Maxx, which is my favorite spot to find great individual pieces at bargain prices. Next, we checked out the Army Navy Surplus store to see their enormous, sturdy duffel bags. I even approached Lands’ End about a possible luggage sponsorship because I love their totes and figured their luggage would be excellent as well — but during discussions, we figured out they didn’t have quite the sizes we needed for this particular voyage. So we kept searching.

suitcases lined up blair family

What I found out in my research: luggage can be really expensive, but there are true bargains to be found. We eventually happened upon the brand fūl (pronounced ‘fuel’) during a Costco trip. It gets great reviews and is very reasonably priced. We ended up buying 7 duffel bags (they were $40 in store), and then bought 7 carryon/backpacks online. That’s 3 pieces for $90. Not bad! Especially considering most of the carryons we looked at were around $200 each.

laminated luggage tags laminated luggage tag laminated luggage tags

For luggage tags, I bought a set of 25 blank ones at Staples. You just slip inside a business card size piece of paper and run them through a laminator. Since I bought them at Staples, Staples did the laminating for free. For each backpack and carryon, I made tags with initials. GSB for me. BB for Betty. OSGB for Oscar. For each duffel bag and additional checked piece, I made tags that were numbered, B-01 through B – 10. We ended up checking 7 duffel bags, 1 guitar, 1 trombone, and 1 desktop computer (in original packaging).

Through the airport, we kept June in her stroller and hung the carseat from the stroller handle. The carseat came onto the airplane and the stroller was checked at the gate.

trombone case with luggage tag Oscar looking at luggage tag

For carryons, everyone but Baby June used a roller bag plus backpack. We love these! The detachable backpack was really convenient. Even 4-year-old Betty could roll her bag through the airport with the backpack attached. Then, on the airplane, the roller suitcases went above the seats and the backpacks went below.

We think these backpack/rollerbags will be great if we manage to do any traveling around Europe while we’re here — we won’t have to check any luggage

ful carryon with backpack duffel bags at airport

I have no connections at fūl and this is not a sponsored post, but I am way impressed with our luggage. The duffels are really amazing. Tons of helpful compartments — even a wet/dry section. At $40, I felt like they were a great deal. The only disadvantage: these pieces are heavy. If you’re looking for feather-weight luggage, keep searching.

maude with roller suitcase Blair kids at airport

Here we are trooping through the airport on the way to security.

blair kids at airport security blairs at airport security

Security was pretty straightforward. Only one bag needed to be searched. Olive had her scriptures in her roller bag and the book is so thick and dense they couldn’t tell what it was. : )

Ben and Gabby at airport

Security went so quickly we had plenty of time before the plane arrived. We ate breakfast and took pictures.

baby with cracker on airplane kids with earphones on airplane Blair Family

The first leg of the trip was from Denver to Montreal. The weather was crazy cold that day, but the plane left on time. The flight was about 3 and 1/2 hours. June was well-rested and easy to entertain. Everyone else enjoyed the individual screen time.

kids at montreal airport kids at Montreal airport baby in stroller at Montreal airport Ralph filming at airport

At the Montreal airport we had a longish layover — about 2 or 3 hours. We ate dinner, practiced a little French and Ralph worked on the short movie he was making about our trip. You can see his movie, Denver to Normandy, here.

girl sleeping on airplane Maude Blair kids sleeping on airplane Olive Betty Blair baby sleeping on airplane June Blair Boys sleeping on airplane Ralph, Oscar Blair

During the 7 hour flight from Montreal to Paris, the kids mostly slept. Poor Baby June had the hardest time during takeoff. She didn’t want to nurse or use her pacifier and her ears started hurting. The worst part, we couldn’t get up to walk and soothe her — which is the main way she calms down. She basically screamed for 15 or 20 minutes until we could walk her around the cabin. Then she slept and stayed asleep the rest of the way. Hooray!

In Paris, we took our time gathering all our belongings. We made a point of being the last people off of the airplane so we weren’t rushed and weren’t a bother to the other passengers. We collected our checked pieces and took two separate mini-van taxis to our hotel. Our rooms weren’t ready yet, so we left our luggage with the bellhops and went to check out Jordan and Paul’s new apartment. (In case I didn’t mention it, my sister Jordan moved to Paris the day before we moved.)

When our hotel was ready, we crashed there for the day (Wednesday) and rented a minivan to use for our first couple of weeks. We left all of our checked baggage items with the hotel storage — all we needed in our rooms was our carryons. We slept-in the next morning (Thursday) and then drove to Argentan around noon, making sure to take a touristy drive around Paris on our way out of town.

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{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jan @ Family Bites February 7, 2011 at 8:08 am

Your kids are such troopers! Way to go, Blairs.

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2 Mom in Mendon February 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

Hooray for pictures and details! Love you all!

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3 Leanne February 7, 2011 at 8:31 am

Love all the wonderful pictures. When we took all 8 kids from Utah to Florida a few years ago it was a big deal. You make it look so easy. Have a wonderful time on your adventure.

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4 Adventures In Babywearing February 7, 2011 at 8:39 am

Oh, I love reading about this journey! The video is darling- oh how cute is Betty!

Steph

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5 Alicia W. February 7, 2011 at 8:40 am

I love how organized you are, even with your luggage! Those suitcases look awesome!

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6 Andrea February 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

I am in awe of your organization and bravery. You make this look so easy. The pictures are great. Can’t wait to hear (and see) more of this wonderful adventure.

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7 Sandra Gonzales February 7, 2011 at 8:49 am

Very smart not taking a hodge podge of luggage. Thanks for the pics!

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8 Catherine February 7, 2011 at 8:54 am

What an awesome family! I really enjoyed seeing all of you on Ralph’s video!

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9 peggy February 7, 2011 at 8:57 am

you are there!
yay… and it sounds you had a real good trip seeing there are 8 blairs travelling :)
I love the pics with all the luggage, amazing… soooooo much!!!
I did not know your sister is in France too… that is great… some family around!Enjoy and I am looking forward to read your news from France!

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10 missweb February 7, 2011 at 9:01 am

Can you please let up know how they stand up through the flight. We need to purchase luggage and are looking for something that wont fall apart if abused by the airline.

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11 Design Mom February 7, 2011 at 9:06 am

The luggage worked wonderfully! I don’t know how roughly it was handled, but it still looks great after that long trip.

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12 Katherine in Paris February 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

Oh my. I am so impressed. And you have your sister in Paris! There is only one thing better than moving to Paris – having your loved ones there to share it with you. I was lucky to move to Paris at the same time as my best friend by total coincidence. Can’t wait to hear more.

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13 rob February 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

i want to read all the words, but am too distracted by the photos of your darling children…

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14 Dani Henriksen February 7, 2011 at 9:18 am

Wow, what a great post – not only about luggage but about how to travel with kids. You are amazing. I stress about traveling with my 3 kids but you make it look easy with 6 going clear across the world. You make me think anything is possible, even with a big family and I thank you for that!

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15 Ashlea Walter February 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

Hip hip hooray, you made it! I loved reading this post. My inner pragmatist wondered HOW you were going to do it. And you did it! Wow.

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16 Katie February 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

Gabby, I am loving these posts about all the logistics! Glad it all went smoothly!

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17 Adrienne February 7, 2011 at 9:25 am

Your planning and organization is so impressive! Thanks for sharing the great photos. So happy that the trip went smoothly for your family and can’t wait to read about your adventures in France.

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18 Hannah Stevenson February 7, 2011 at 9:27 am

Completely impressed with you and your kiddos…seriously.

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19 debbie February 7, 2011 at 9:42 am

You did great. we travelled to England and France with our (4) boys a few years ago. It was hectic with all of the luggage and carseats. Any tips for hotels rooms for a big family. The European hotels are definitely smaller.

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20 Melissa February 7, 2011 at 9:44 am

Your organization is phenomenal. I’m sure you avoided many headaches by having all the same luggage & your ingenius tag system. I’m so glad to hear that you arrived safe & sound!

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21 Kathleen February 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

I love reading about your adventure!

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22 Sara February 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

Congratulations!! Very impressive!

Thanks for sending all of the details about luggage. I’m just starting to research what we need for our trip to Germany this summer. We’ll only be there for 2 months, and want to be able to travel around as easily as possible from our home base, so I want us each to only take wheeled roller bag that can be carried on plus a backpack, so those combo bags definitely seem worth looking into for us!

So excited for you all!

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23 marta February 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

you did it! so happy for you…
by the way, the music in Ralph’s video… love it!

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24 Courtney February 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

I had no idea Jordan was your sister. I read both blogs and was thinking “how funny is it that two bloggers I follow are moving to France?”

What an amazing experience for your family!

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25 Kayla February 7, 2011 at 9:57 am

Getting off the plane last is my secret to sane travel as a parent.

Looking forward to your France posts!

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26 natasha February 7, 2011 at 10:02 am

Have I mentioned what an inspiration your family is! ?! We’ve always wanted at least 3 children (only have 1 now), but have hemmed and hawed about not being able to move abroad etc with a larger family…but every time I read one of your posts about this adventure, the more I realize that excellent organization, a strong desire for adventure, and a sense of humor (and patience of course) goes a long way towards making things happen. Hooray for the Blairs and “bonne chance” in Normandy! (Also, LOVE the luggage) we are on the hunt for some as well. We will check these out for sure.

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27 Harriet February 7, 2011 at 10:08 am

Welcome to Europe!

I hope you are all settling in well, the video was great as are the adorable sleeping photos. But I just wanted to say that I was so impressed with how gracious Ralph was whilst filming, he is a great big brother and you both must be so proud of him.
I was also so glad for Betty that in the film I saw that your house had a few brown ‘vines’, Madeline was one of my favourite books growing up!
‘In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines …’

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28 Sarah February 7, 2011 at 10:12 am

Amazing! So glad you all arrived safely and without too much hassle. Those bags look AWESOME! I wish I’d thought to pay attention to that when my little family of three traveled to the Philippines last summer. I did not plan well and our luggage was a major major hassle. Next time we go anywhere I’m getting those backpack roller bags for SURE.

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29 bdaiss February 7, 2011 at 10:21 am

Oh, I love the sleepy photos. How cute! (And I’m always so mortified when my kids is freaking out on the plane and I can’t do anything meaningful to fix it.)

My hubby and I went to Italy for 16 days in 2004. We packed in 2 backpacks. We’re planning another trip overseas for 2012, including the kids. I am mortified at the thought of how much stuff I’ll have to pack!

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30 R. Pyper February 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

Wow — sounds like it all went pretty smoothly. Good for you! So great that you are doing this with your family.

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31 Christy February 7, 2011 at 10:41 am

This brings back so many memories of living in and traveling around Europe when my oldest two were younger. I am loving your posts about this adventure!

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32 Clyde February 7, 2011 at 10:51 am

Very useful luggage information! Happy to hear it was an smooth itinerary for this first family across-the-ocean-trip. What an adventure ahead of the Blair clan!

It may sound to be too extreme (and Flora June might be too young but you never know, some babies are easy/ier to be introduced to sweet)… have you ever try lollipops? Just the cheap, smallest round shaped suckers. I always carry tons of then while flyng with my little ones (it’s the last resource: when nursing, zippy cup and/or bottles failed to thei soothing part of the job) It actually help me too with my snapping ears – Give it a try!

(Warning: it would be messy with 2 years olds and under but at least you’ll be avoiding some stinky eyes from other passengers. :))

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33 Tala February 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

And they didn’t even lose a bag? Impressive!

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34 carolyn February 7, 2011 at 10:58 am

What a great post — glad to hear your trip went well and that you’re settling in! My hat’s off to you. What a terrific job you did getting everyone from point A to point B (France!!) so beautifully!

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35 Mrs. Potts February 7, 2011 at 11:20 am

We’ve always purchased our luggage from Costco – they consistently have the best prices and the best quality! Our duffels are similar to yours (though I’m coveting that backpack/carryon combo) and they’ve held up VERY well for 6 years of fairly extensive use.

CONGRATULATIONS! What a fun adventure. Can’t wait to live vicariously through your travels. :)

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36 allysha February 7, 2011 at 11:28 am

Oh my goodness! Your kids are such troopers. And you are an organizing genius. I loved Ralph’s little doc. (Keep ‘em coming, Ralph!)
I am so in awe and utterly jealous of you all. I know you will have such a tremendous time.

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37 katy February 7, 2011 at 11:31 am

Congrats on a smooth trip! Your organization is nothing short of amazing! It didn’t even occur to me to buy luggage before our move. At that time each passenger was allowed 2, 50lb bags on international flights so we utilized all 400lbs we were entitled too. Everything else was shipped by air or sea. I’m shocked you were allowed to bring a desk top computer. Here in Lux the rule is very strict – NO PLUGS! This rule is about 2 years old. When we moved US plugs were still okay. The plug rule must not be EU wide.

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38 Hollowsquirrel February 7, 2011 at 11:37 am

I always admire your Can-Do attitude. You’re amazing and inspiring. Kisses to you all from back in the U.S.!

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39 Daniil Rabinovich February 7, 2011 at 11:56 am

Nice to see you made it okay..
Here is a tip: Avoid the white luggage!! :) I once bought white luggage , used it one time..Got home, it was now BLACK ! I will stay with the darker color luggage from now on.

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40 Kate The Great February 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

I love the picture of June in her pink one-peice snowsuit with ears. And that’s saying a lot because I hate pink.

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41 jgw February 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm

that was so much fun to read about. thanks for the details and great pics. now breathe a great sigh of relief that it all went so smoothly!

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42 Heidi February 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Wow, this all seems like a dream! It sounds like your journey went (relatively) smoothly. You must have some amazing kids!

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43 natasha February 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

also, quick question: did you ship anything over? I am trying to imagine moving overseas for a whole year with only a duffel bag and carry-on..if so, kudos to you!…but I’m just wondering…

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44 Ana February 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Those luggage tags are an amazing idea! I will keep it in mind when I travel.
Thanks!

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45 senja February 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm

that video was awesome and your kids are adorable and so much fun! :) Oscar reminded me of my little brother.

Can’t wait for more posts about your new adventure. If you are traveling to Scandinavia, let me know. I live in Sweden (Lasse’s sister..) :)

XO Senja

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46 Alisa February 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Welcome to France. Impressed with the luggage and glad the flight went smooth. Your own personal tv – kids love that. Hope you are getting settled and things are going well. Thinking about you down here in sw France.

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47 jana February 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I love Oscar’s video…especially the squeals when you drove up to the new house. How exciting!!! (betty is darling)

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48 Emily February 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I can’t get over how easy you make traveling with lots of little ones across most of America and one big ocean seem! Welcome to the other side! Have you thought about Dublin as an English-speaking place to visit? Just an idea!

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49 Robin February 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Just awesome.

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50 Louise February 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm

DesignMom has been upped a notch to AdventureMom! It’s fun to live vicariously. Does the backpack zip off of the carry-on to make two pieces? That luggage looks too big for airline regulations. Also, why did you carry-on so much? Too much money to check bags??

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51 Cupcakes for clara February 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I am so full of admiration for your whole family – you are all truly amazing. You’ve made it all look so easy and fun! Can’t wait to read more x

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52 Emjay February 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Congratulations on your safe arrival! I am so looking forward to the posts on discovering France. Ireland sounds like a great trip — what a beautiful country with such warm people! I think there is a ferry from Calais…

I am also curious–how much stuff did you pack for each child? I am impressed with how you all stayed luggage light!

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53 Michelle February 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm

One of my favorite posts ever, and I’ve been reading Design Mom since your first post! Love the luggage tags and especially how you numbered all the checked baggage so you made sure you had them all: genius!

First question: did you buy an airline seat for baby June or did you just hope you’d have an extra seat to accommodate her car seat?

Also, how did packing the kids go? Did the kids help choose what went in the backpack (for use during flight) vs carry-on vs checked baggage?

Thanks! So happy you all made it to France safe and sound.

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54 Kristen February 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

so, so awesome! I’m glad you guys (and your sis) are making this happen.

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55 Kate February 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Such an amazing post! I’m so glad everything went smoothly for you.

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56 Emily @ Merrypad February 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Beautiful photos – you did such a nice job documenting airport/plane time. Good luck over there; hopefully you’re well on your way to settling in.

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57 Molly February 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Awesome how organized you are :)

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58 Patty February 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm

If ever in need of duffles in the future check out LL Bean..they have been doing them for years and have fantastics customer service!!! Glad all of you are safe adn looking forward to your french adventures.

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59 Heidi February 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm

So pleased to hear it all went smoothly, Gabrielle. Thanks for your tips!

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60 Jaimie February 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm

seriously.. seriously! you are inspirational. one day, one day, i will pick up my family and move, i swear i will. even if it’s in the states. you are so lucky to be going on such a fun journey with your family.

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61 Rebecca Grace February 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I’m glad your trip went so silky-smoothly for you, but then, you’ve got the planning down, girl! I only have two wild Indians — er, precious children — and when we travel with my sons, everyone in the WHOLE AIRPORT knows my kids’ names…

I’m looking forward to following your family’s French adventures, and hopefully you’ll share some cool family-friendly, off-the-beaten-path things to do that I can incorporate into a future trip. I hope your family gets over whatever is ailing all of you soon.

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62 Damaris @Kitchen Corners February 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Maybe I missed the post but have you told us what you packed? I am moving to Brazil for a year with my 2 kids and husband and I’m not sure if I should just pack clothes or also bring books, toys, any suggestions?

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63 Petit Elefant February 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Okay Gabby, I’m checking out your luggage now. We officially bought tickets to Warsaw for May, and the thought of the luggage scares me a bit.

Gracias!

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64 Kathy Ayers February 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Looks like a lovely trip so far! We are all very jealous here. My kids and I (we have six, but older than yours) are following your website and enjoying it very much. My three youngest do K-12 and so have been very interested in this whole thing. Their father is a college professor and they think now he should do something overseas for a year! I don’t want too right now because I have my first grandchild on the way…..Yeah!

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65 shari February 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I am so impressed with your organization! your family looks so cute pulling their roller bags! and great job finding quality luggage! I hope it lasts for a long, long time!

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66 Stephanie Smirnov February 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm

You are amazing. And to think I stress over travelling with a single eight-year old. The pictures of the kids sleeping are too precious.

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67 Anna February 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

I am loving living vicariously through your little family–such fun! Glad you are taking so many photos–it’s sad poor baby June won’t remember this adventure, no?

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68 Jennifer Segalini February 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I am so excited for you and the family – how exciting! I so look forward to following the Blair Family Adventures in Paris.

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69 Laura Gaskill February 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Oh my goodness, congrats on making it through that trip – so sorry to hear about the stomach flu though :( And poor little June on takeoff, how awful! Glad she was able to sleep after that. I’ll be taking my little one on his first plane ride to California in a few weeks, and I’ve been really nervous about it – but you are such an inspiration, if you can make it to France with SIX children surely I can manage one little baby! Ha!

Rest up!! xo Laura

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70 Kim February 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Love the video! I hope you find Madeleine’s house Betty!

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71 Maren February 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm

What an exciting day!!! Glad you are all there safely. I enjoyed looking at all of the pictures! How lucky that baby June stayed asleep after that 15-20 minutes! That’s impressive for a long flight like that!

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72 juliagblair February 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Special treat to sit down at the computer and see you marvelous, beautiful, wonderful Blairs taking this fantastic trip. LOVED Ralph’s video! Eager to see the tree house and more pictures of you all! Hope you’re getting enough sleep.

Grateful it wasn’t a long flu! Know that we’re with you all the way — love, prayers, and WOW!!!!

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73 Kath February 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Love love love your organizational prowess!

:-)

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74 Shelley February 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Impressive! I’m glad you guys found luggage you love. If you or the kids want to personalize them, a great way I always loved to do while traveling is to pick up patches from places I visit and sew them on. It makes the bags easier to spot and differentiate however you travel. Bon voyage!

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75 Stacey H February 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Fantastic post. Thanks for the info and congrats on your move! Way to go Blair kids!!

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76 jen February 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm

You rock – you manage to make trekking through an airport with all your kids look stylish and fun! Really, we have four kids . . . and we travel a good deal, so it is so fun to see your family on such a great adventure!

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77 Jeannie from atlanticbeachlife February 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm

oh, i am really loving this. you and your sister’s family – you’re giving me hope and inspiration that one really can design one’s own life. our family is at a bit of a crossroads…and i think family adventure is in order. why not? i’m trying to build a local network to start over in my career but i could really go anywhere. my one blog follower would read me, still (my dad!). my husband is the one at the crossroads…a highly competent man in search of his next step. i told him tonight about your family’s adventure and the way i’m looking at our life now is: “i wonder what God has in store for us next?” we’re not passive; we’re do-ers, but the future is uncertain and it’s a bit unsettling. still, we’re both bright and willing to do what it takes and what i wouldn’t give to take a chance on a foreign stay elsewhere. we’d hoped for a foreign assignment back in the day when he was in a corporate role in a multi-national firm, but life and opportunity sent us to the beach, here. i’ve loved it a lot but honestly, we have to make some changes, and your ‘sea change’ truly encourages me.

can’t wait to see what happens next…my own wheels are turning in my mind…

bon soir!

jeannie

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78 Melanie Burk February 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Loving the beginning of this adventure. So impressed with how organized you are! Those kids look like they did great on the trip.. gives me hope for my family!

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79 Birgit February 8, 2011 at 12:10 am

The pics of the kids sleeping are too cute!

A word of caution – you will not be allowed to bring those combo bags on a plane in Europe. They are much stricter wrt handluggage allowance. One piece per passenger, 8kg max, and those pieces with the backpacks on them are definitely too large for cabin. Planes on continental EU flights will be smaller than across the Atlantic, and they won’t let you bring 8 huge bags like than into the cabin. It would also be really unfair to everybody else on the plane.

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80 http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/ February 8, 2011 at 12:51 am

Sorry, your family got the stomach flu. It seems to be making it’s way around again. I totally agree with you on the duffel bags. When we went to Europe in 2008 we used duffel bags because space is so limited in cars in Europe that we felt we could always squeeze a bag by someone’s feet or under a bench, but would be hard to do with a suitcase. I love how cute your whole family looked for their new adventure. Were the tickets cheaper going through Canada? Glad you all arrived safely. How fun to have your sister in France at the same time. Can’t wait to read more about your adventures.

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81 Jennifer Milton February 8, 2011 at 12:52 am

You are one impressive, organized mom. I only have 3 and our move was very hairy!! Dig the luggage tags. I’m totally going to steal that for our visits back to the U.S.

jennifer

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82 Petra Morvay February 8, 2011 at 1:33 am

Poor June with the ears:( I remember my first plane trip – they made me suck on chunks of chocolate, maybe just to forget all about the pain, and I was a lot older… Glad she slept well later, though. Your kids look too cute!! I am sooo excited about the tree house!

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83 Petra Morvay February 8, 2011 at 1:35 am

Forgot: you absolutely rock for doing this:)

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84 Miss Stovetop February 8, 2011 at 1:56 am

OMG, I think I have to lay off from your site till I’m done with pregnancy (which is jus a month more…hurray!). So “hormotional” all the time and those pictures of your kids sleeping made my cry :(

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85 Jessica Engel February 8, 2011 at 7:19 am

I am so over-the-top in awe of your bravery and sense of adventure and being so CALM throughout your trip. Such a HUGE inspiration!!

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86 just February 8, 2011 at 8:13 am

what a gift-the research for the perfect bag! and love zee in france logo! cant wait to hear more.

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87 Nee February 8, 2011 at 9:02 am

Is that really, truly all you are taking to France for your stay there? Did you ship anything? Will there be a post on how to pack a family so lightly? How did you negotiate with the children to leave behind favorite things?

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88 diana February 8, 2011 at 9:05 am

hooray! thanks for the update, and glad you hear you all made it there safely and in good form. why do i feel like i am on an adventure too?

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89 Kate February 8, 2011 at 9:19 am

Hi there,

I am shocked that you would try to get a luggage sponsorship from Lands End. This is your trip/you decided to make it and have eight kids, thus it is YOUR responsibility to open up your wallet and pay for your needs! Shame on you for trying to get a freebie, like that!

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90 Design Mom February 8, 2011 at 10:58 am

Hi Kate. You know I detest offending my readers, so I’m sorry if getting sponsors seems shameful to you. But working with sponsors and advertisers is how most full-time bloggers make a living.

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91 liz stanley February 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

seriously, those baby june pictures make my ovaries hurt. goooo BLAIRS!

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92 Isabel @AlphaMom February 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

This post made me cry. I love you and your family.

I am so proud of you guys. This move is such a big deal and your family is handling it with such joy and excitement.

Thank you for sharing. It’s so inspiring.

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93 Chris February 8, 2011 at 10:36 am

Yay!!!!

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94 Shannon A February 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

REALLY appreciate your level of detail about how you packed and traveled. While I’ve taken my 5-year-old to France (by myself) and Spain (with hubs), now we have 2 children and we are moving to Germany at the end of the year. I’m already plotting how to downsize our “stuff” into storage (and oddly highly excited to find out how little of our own “stuff” we actually need, or how little we miss the stuff we leave behind during our 2-3 years in Europe..by the time we return to the US, I may be ready to yard sale all of it and go minimalist!)

Looking forward to the rest of your journey. (If you don’t already read or follow it, you might be interested in Kristin Espinesse’s “French Word A Day” blog, and you’d probably like Kristin.)

Enjoy every moment!

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95 Bethany February 22, 2011 at 8:01 am

Shannon,
My husband and I are moving to Germany at the end of the year with our daughter, too. We’re also trying to figure out how to downsize, store things, etc. Are you a military family?

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96 Renee February 8, 2011 at 10:59 am

Amazing! I’m so loving your organization skills during of all this. That’s just how I would be and I only have 2 kids. We hope to bring the kids overseas for a vacation while they’re still little so I’m eager to learn from your journey!

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97 Neva February 8, 2011 at 11:26 am

Oh, I am so envious…to live in France. Sigh*
I am visiting Paris for the first time in a little over a month, I am over the moon excited. Keep the lovely posts coming…

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98 Kelly February 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

There is something about this that made me tear up — I just love the expressions on all your kids faces. They look so ready and happy.

This is so lovely to read about and follow along — you Blairs are so inspiring!

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99 Easter Island February 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Pack your luggage and travel to easter island!!!!!! great place!!!

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100 Cathi February 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I love living vicariously through you Gabby!!! Absolutely love it!!

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101 Rachel February 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

We’ve been looking for some new luggage for the fam lately (0urs is falling apart & matches everyone else’s black suitcases). I read this last night & then happened to see some in Costco today so I picked some up. Thanks for the tip!

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102 mommyingaround February 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Wow. Was just browsing your posts and can’t believe you moved to France for a year! It’s amazing how you were able to do it in such short notice and you pulled it off extremely well :) What an exciting adventure for you and your family!

My husband is French and I moved there with him after we got married. We lived right inside Paris for 2 years and then finally moved back when he got his permanent residence card for Canada. We go back to the South of France to see family every 2 years. We have family in Normandy as well. It’s a beautiful quiet countryside there.

Also you chose a good time to bring baby June on a long flight. Sleeping through most of the flight is a blessing. When we took our 18 month old on our 12 hr flight to France last June, he only slept 2 hours. Maybe even less.

By the way, thanks for the carryon/backpack tip. I’ll definitely have to check that out at Costco! ;)

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103 barkingkel February 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm

You Blairs ROCK!!! I am so excited for you, jealous too.

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