I am still sorting the pictures (almost 4k worth of pics to choose from!!) for me to update my blog about the recent trip. So in the meantime let’s kick start with the pre-travelling days – the planning bit! :P
Ok before I continue – I am not saying that my planning is perfect whatsoever. In fact I believe we can do better in this department. But timing (and budget) was everything. Months and days leading to our travelling date, we were so swamped with a lot of things, it’s so hard to sit down and agree on the planning! :(
Nak buat time weekdays, bila balik kerja tu lepas manage kids, dinner, and apa2 yang patut by then dah ngantuk dah nak tidur coz besok nya hidup mesti terus. Heh. Weekend pulak, always busy with stuff. Kids classes la, wedding invites la, family gatherings, groceries, laundry, and the list goes on. Tapi tu lah, talking about planning and preparation nih, it will continue on and on and on till the very last day before depart, senang cerita. Hehe. Selagi ada masa tu selagi tu prepare lah apa2 yang patut. You know, macam before masuk exam.. :)
But regardless I want to document it for my future reference, for remembrance sake, and also hopefully to benefit others who's planning to go to Paris and London as well. I know I did find it useful when I was doing the planning - to get to read other people's blogs and take on this topic, so I hope this will be as useful, if not better :)
So, here goes.
1. Choosing the destination
The trip we had was all triggered by my MiL’s planning of wanting to do Europe tour. There are so many travel agents out there offering Europe tour travel package covering multi-destinations. Matta Fair is the best place to go to check out on the best deal on this. But since we wanted to travel with our kids (aged 3yo and 5yo), we realised that going on a tour hopping from one destination to another based on the given scheduled timing and itinerary may not be the best fit.
My husband has been to London for work before, so he wanted to experience it again but this time as a holiday trip with family. And alang2 pergi London he said, might as well we go to Paris as well. So just like that we have decided on our location – Paris and London it is (and my childhood dream is to go to the Disneyland!) :) Plus my MiL’s tour will end in London, so we can re-group there. She’s going with both my SiLs. My BiL and his wife were going as well to Europe since the wife’s sister is studying there in London. So walla! the whole fam bam were going to meet up in London during the last leg of each’s trip :D
2. Purchasing the flight tickets
Once agreed on the destination, it’s time to buy the flight ticket. First thing you gotta have in mind is your travel dates. Then from there you can explore the options available in terms of the flight timing and ticket price. Our travel date was from 10 September 2015 to 24 September 2015 (nice weather - not summer nor winter ;) It's autumn i think - hot and cooling weather ^◕‿◕^)
Flight route: Based on our budget and also on the options available, we decided the route to take is Malaysia – Paris – London – Malaysia. From Paris to London, we decided to experience that high speed train (300km / hour!) connecting London with Paris (through the undersea tunnel!) - the Euro Train.
Flight operator: We decided to go with MAS, although it was such a bummer that not long after we purchased the ticket in May 2015, they announced the removal of Airbus A380 from KL to Paris. Grrrrr! So anyways, we decided to have a direct flight instead of having to transit. Emirates is such a nice plane and they are so kids friendly, but they don’t have a direct flight to Paris. Hence the decision to take MAS (verdict: I still prefer Emirates!)
Things to consider when choosing either to take direct flight or do transit from KL to Paris: It can be quite a long journey (13 hours) if it is with direct flight. Kids can be restless but at the same time direct flight means penat skali harung. Transit pulak, with kids it can be leceh having to transit coz it can kill their momentum. Sebab macam dah dalam plane, then turun lepak airport for few hours then naik plane balik to continue with the journey (unless you decided to transit for few days at the country of transit, then that’s a different game plan). But good thing is the kids can have a break in between. We know our kids well enough, that they are big enough to enjoy the in-flight entertainment to keep themselves occupied, hence the decision to take direct flight.
|Kazim enjoyed it so much watching Inside Out on repeat (hmmm 4 times, I think? ;))|
|Khayr was like so abang2. Baca paper dulu before start main game and watch cartoon. Hehe.|
Timing: we chose the night flight which will have morning arrival. It’ll do the trick in combating the jet-lagged. Because our mind will work out that we depart at night, and we reach in the morning which means it is the normal shift from night to day time to start the day. But our flight back was tricky. We departed at night only to reach KL late evening (still experiencing jet-lagged yo 5 days post arrival! -_-')
3. Places of stay
So based on our planning we know we will be staying at 3 locations – in Paris, in Disneyland Paris, and in London. There are so many options ranging from budget hostels to big hotels – you can read it in so many blogs on this. Bottom line, it all goes down to your budget, needs, and number of pax. We know we want to save on food (bad timing - currency exchange's going down south boohoo!), so staying at a place with a kitchen is our main criteria; i.e. at apartment. So for our stay in Paris, https://www.airbnb.com/ was our way to go. For Disneyland we stayed at the partner hotel, an apartment called Adagio Marne-la-Vallée Val d'Europe (10 minutes away from Disneyland by free shuttle) which had a package together with the entrance tickets to both parks (Walt Disney Studio and Disneyland Park); and in London, we found our place through this London Homestay MY FB page - https://www.facebook.com/London-Homestay-MY-872987106078341/timeline/?ref=ts.
4. Building up itinerary
This is the hardest! Haha. I have not been to Paris nor London, hence I have no idea about these places! (very the kampung dot com hehe). Well of course other than the basic known iconic places such as Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and whatnots.
So I started with the help of this website - http://www.visitacity.com/. You can choose your location, the days covered, and the kind of itinerary you want. They have a few kind of itineraries to offer such as top attractions to cover during that number of days, or top museums, or shopping attractions, or even for kids. You can even customise your options.
|Eg. You can choose Paris, and there's a drop down list of how many days you want to spend in Paris.|
|Example of list of suggested itinerary.|
Visit a city website also is very helpful if you know where are you going to stay. Coz it will help you to maximise your travel plan by showing you the distant and how to get there from your place of stay.
I also did a search on the net to read other people’s blogs about their experience travelling to London and Paris; and I also asked people around me who have been there. From these three sources (visit a city website, blogs, and asking around), I list down all the must-go / recommended places and match them with our interest.
And then I build the itinerary skeleton like this (coz I feel more personal like that hehe. Otherwise visit a city website can already generate an itinerary for you based on your selected option and customisation):
So now it’s time to fill up those empty spaces based on the list of places that I have identified earlier. As seen above, I also have the budget tab to monitor the budget incurred for the trip. This one I will elaborate further in the next entry.
We purchased our flight ticket in May 2015 and our travelling dates were in September 2015. 4 month of planning is actually such a short period of time! (-_-* ) So if you can have a longer time to plan, actually the better. At least one thing for sure, you don’t have to incur all expenses one shot / in one month close to another. (-_-* )
Thanks for reading. Semoga bermanfaat ツ
Planning part 2 is here.
Planning part 2 is here.