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Thursday, 1 October 2015

The one with... Trip to Paris and London, still on planning - part 2 :)

Planning part 1 is here.

In this post I’d like to share on the budget planning bit and also on packing.

Budget

This is another tough thing to do! So many places to go to and things to do yet so limited ka-ching! Hehe.

On the budget planning, I prepared a skeletal worksheet listing down every bit of the trip, like this:

*The image is truncated sebab tak dapat nak print screen the whole worksheet. But you get the idea right? :)

The way we did was we worked backwards. Meaning, we know ultimately the total budget we had for the trip, so we started from there. At this juncture, an amount can be put for the flight ticket already since it has been incurred (in my case la). Thereon we’ll know the balance amount we can incur on other things.

This is where your research skills are put to test, ewahhh. I mean, I first listed all the aspects of the trip and find out about the costs attached to it: places to stay, all the interest places - whether FOC or there are entrance fees and if so, will the kids entitled to a reduced rate or is it FOC for them, and transportation. These are the things I can search on in terms of the costs involved.

I did so by listing them all down and start going to the main website of those items and fill up the budget worksheet. By filling them all up, I’ll then be able to evaluate whether or not to pursue with those place(s) or to remove from the itinerary. Or I can have it stays in the list, but perhaps just a visit to the place without entering.

For example, we decided to go to Eiffel Tower and have a picture taken (FOC) but not paying to go up to the 1st and 2nd floors, or to the top. Same goes to the other places like the museums – we evaluated whether or not it’s worth paying for the tickets; depending on our budget and also our interest. As for us, we were all about let's do the been-there-done-that kind of style. Means pergi tempat tu, tengok2, tangkap gambar and move on to the next tempat. Hehe. 

One thing for sure, we got to know that decision needs to be made upfront as it is much better to buy online in advance because it’s much easier (no queuing involved) and cheaper that way. We also would want to incur as much costs before going so that when we were there in Paris and London, tinggal nak incur costs on the variables je – i.e. for shopping , miscellaneous items, and meal.

For Paris there’s this thing called Paris Pass and for London, there’s this thing called London Pass. You can go to the websites and weigh the cost-benefit of having this pass. There are a lot of benefits of having it if you plan to enter at least some, if not all the attractions covered by the passes. So like I said, do the cost-benefit analysis of this.

As for us, we didn’t buy the passes as we did not wish to go to all the attractions covered. So instead, we bought entrance tickets to places we would like to visit each individually and also we bought metro tickets (for transportation in Paris) and Oyster cards (for transportation in London) separately only when we reached there.

Now come the variable costs. Hmmm to be honest, I did not know how to estimate for items such as shopping and meal so it was more on depending on what’s left from the budget allocation after incurring on the ‘fixed’ items mentioned earlier. Of course, it means that you need to have some buffer in your budget to cater for this part especially when you travel with kids :)

So once we had our estimated budget sorted out, we started to beef and firm up our itinerary worksheet earlier. Google map became handy during this phase as it helped to understand the location of one place to another, so its easier to plan for a realistic itinerary for the day throughout the travel period. ✔ 

Once done with this phase then you'll know how much money to change and bring to Paris and London. And start asingkan ikut different envelopes. Duit belanja asingkan siap2. And duit nak bayar kat certain places pun asingkan siap2 like airport transfer and balance payment for apartment.

Pakai sampul duit raya pon bolehhhhh :D

Tips nak tukar duit pulak. Sila lah tukar awal2 time currency tengah rendah (rendah2 pun tinggi jugak lah kan sebenarnya untuk kami rakyat marhaen nih. Heh). We were so unfortunate because during our travel time, Euro went up until 4.9 and Pound went up to 6.8. Nak nangis rasa huhu. Sempat laaa tukar duit sikit masa Euro 4.2 and Pound 6.3 cuma we should have changed all at that rates but we were trying to be positive that maybe, just maybe, rate tu akan turun balik ke apa kan. Haihhh what were we thinking. So bila average out all the rates we had (we went to change at few time intervals, even till the very last day before depart - haha masih berharap tuuuu) our exchange rate for Euro was at 4.5 and Pound was at 6.7. Nangis! T_T

Packing

I never thought that I needed a clue on this department but I actually did a search on this too before going! Hehe. Maybe sebab tiba2 rasa overwhelmed sangat taktau apa nak packing ni for such long trip, for the whole family. So in the end I broke it down into these categories:

  • Medicine
Other than Kazim’s specific medication, we also brought:
The inhaler
Thermometer
Vicks
Plaster
Vitamin C
Scott emulsion
Ubat flu malam
Ubat flu siang
Ubat batuk
PCM – liquid and suppository
Panadol / Actifast
Minyak gamat
Strepsils – kids and adults
Clarinase for my husband

Everyday during our trip I made sure my boys didn't miss their Vit C and Scott emulsion take. The last thing I wanted was for my kids to fall sick during the holiday.

The plaster and minyak gamat became very handy during the trip because one day in our apartment in Paris Kazim tengah jalan kat dapur and suddenly he tripped and knocked his forehead at the edge of a chair. He had a deep cut from the fall :( Nasib baik ada minyak gamat and plaster so it helps with the healing process.

His Paris takeaway -_-'
Andddd the basic medicine became handy too as it was so unfortunate that Kazim fell sick (fever and flu) on the very travel day :( So I brought along the syringes with their caps as well to ensure throughout the plane journey and during our stay we get to give the medicine to him on time even when tengah jalan2 in town sebab ubat dah siap2 letak dalam syringe tu ikut his dosage.

Thankfully, he's all fine during the long plane journey as in tak meragam ke ape although he kept on having temperature, and thankfully he's fully recovered on Day 3. Just in time before our trip to Disneyland! :)

  • Food
Ok this one as I mentioned in my entry previously, we wanted to save on food. I guess Halal food is a bit difficult to find in Paris but in London there's aplenty. But we were travelling for 2 weeks long, sakit jugak la kot kan kalau hari2 makan in Euro and Pound. Heh. And also, Kazim is a boy with tekak Melayu - he needs rice in his daily take. Heh. Unlike his elder brother, Khayr who prefers roti as his carbs intake. So, among other things to bring were roti and beras :)You can actually buy roti when you get there but we thought lets bring some first because we definitely need some time to settle down and familiarise ourselves with the surroundings and neighbourhood area.

We packed beras in small plastic like this ikut portion sekali makan.
And for the others, 
  • We brought all the instant food available in the market (I was surprised we had so many options! :)) from Brahim's, Yeo's, and also Adabi.
  • Food such as nasi impit, serunding, sambal bilis, and sambal hitam is a must :)
  • My mom was with us during our trip as well, and she actually brought the half cooked food she did herself before leaving such as roti canai, chicken in chunk size, nugget, fish fillet, beef patty, and sambal daging. Sampai2 apartment je she put all that in the fridge and only took out when to consume. Such a brilliant, my mom ❤ Having her around during the trip made meal time became such a trouble-free! 
  • All the 3 in 1s: milo, coffee, mushroom soup.
  • Ziplock bags.
  • Spread for the bread - nutella and peanut butter.
  • Maggie mee (why of courseeee what's a trip without a maggie mee righttt hehehe).
  • Plastic cutlery (you can take from the flight as well :P).
  • Mini rice cooker.
  • Sabun taharah! Untuk samak the kitchen utensils at the apartment.
We also packed 2K's favourite snack food such as biscuits and chocolates for them to consume whenever they are bored or something. Everyday during the trip before we went out from our apartment my husband will ask them which snacks did they want for the day and he will packed them and put into their backpacks. This is important as normally we will be out the whole day before coming back home late evening; and by involving them in the planning process (even it was just about the snacks they wanted to bring) make them feel more forward-looking about the journey for the day, we think.

Brahim's product that became our instant favourite during the trip especially its nasi goreng range. Easy peasy lemon squeezy tasted yummy too.
Oh and the way we planned the food to bring is by using the itinerary worksheet whereby we marked on daily basis what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also allocated some of the meal time to eat the local food there, depending on the area covered for the day.

In our case, Khayr and Kazim are no longer in the drinking formula milk phase. So its less hassle for us - no need to bring their milk, or milk bottle / cup. They are on fresh milk and flavoured milk phase. So we just went and bought the available milk in the local supermarket when we reached Paris / London.
  • Documents / utilities
We had a clear folder file with index of all the bookings we have made such as flight information, places of stay, entrance fees, euro train tickets, disneyland information, etc. We also saved these documents in one dropbox folder in our phones in case the hard copies went misplaced. The documents are important especially during immigration and security clearance. They tend to ask about the length of our stay so they normally wanted to see especially the flight information.

Other documents include passports, our IDs, debit and credit cards, and maps.

Utilities - travel iron, international plug/adapter, plug extension, phone charger and cable, camera, camera batter, charger and cable, and selfie stick (but in certain places such as Disneyland selfie sticks were not allowed - so be mindful of that).

Mini iron for travelling
As usual, toilet kat overseas kan jenis yang takde paip air. So always bring a bottle to make life easier. Or in my case, I found out about this folded bottle - very handy! Lipat and can put in handbag or even in the pocket of my jacket. Then masuk toilet isi air, and once you are done, you can fold it back and keep. Easy peasy handy manny! :)

  • Toiletries and Clothing
This was a bit straight forward. For clothing just don't forget to check the weather and temperature during your travel period because it'll give you guidance in terms of the kind of clothing you need to bring and wear. We also make sure that the places of stay during the trip have washing machine so we know we don't have to bring all attire for the whole travel period - just half of it. Cume we brought softener and also sabun basuh (in small storage form - downy ada jual botol kecik and so does breeze in powder form). Only bummer was during the stay - none of the washing machine came with the dryer function. So we had to hang our clothes to dry like we normally do here at home. But still, no issue with recycling the clothes as we get to wash them :) The tricky part for me was about Kazim's pampers. We were not sure whether should we bring some first and the rest to be bought there, or bring alllll from here. In the end, for the peace of mind sake we brought his pampers allocation for the trip from here.

Okie dokie that's all for now! Actual travelogue will come next!

Thanks for reading. Semoga bermanfaat 

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