As I mentioned in my last post, we made a lot of great decisions during our trip to France with our three-year-old daughter. But, there were a few areas for improvement, as the corporate types would say. Here is what I wish we did differently.
1. Brought the all-terrain stroller. Instead of the roll-over-everything City Mini stroller, I bought a contraption known as the Lilly Gold Zoomer, which turns your car seat into a stroller. Pretty cool, right? It is cool but only when your trip involves smooth floors and newly paved sidewalks. The Zoomer wheels were a challenge when we hiked the gravelly paths along the Mediterranean (see Collioure, above) and wandered those cute French cobblestone streets. I wish we had rented a car seat from the rental car company, checked the stroller and not brought one more extraneous thing into my life.
2. Did a bit more research. Normally, I plan every detail of a trip, including exactly where we’ll eat each day. With a kid in tow, I didn’t want to make plans, but a few times on our trip, I felt a little panicky because I was spending so much time figuring out what to do. I wish I had read up in advance and made a list of possibilities so we could just pick something and go.
3. Never drove more than 3 hours a day. We flew into Paris and headed straight for Collioure; you essentially drive about 8 hours south until you hit the Mediterranean. After a week there, we drove up to Burgundy, about 6 hours north. Because we traveled during peak French vacation time, we hit tons and tons of traffic so both drives lasted longer than the GoogleMaps estimate. Never again! Next time, we’ll either take the train (we considered this for a long time but opted for the car so we could more easily contain our little one) or plan the trip with shorter drives in mind.