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  1. #1
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    France with 3 students and 4 adults

    Hi, I am new to the forums where everyone seems so friendly!

    My dear husband (DH) and I plus another couple are taking 3 high school girls/young ladies to a conference in Toulouse, France with 2 days in Paris on the way back - 10 days total. We are flying from the US to Paris, taking the TGV to Toulouse and back to Paris, and then flying back home. My husband is in charge of the trip through work, which means that I am in charge of the details while he dreams of all the cool things we can see and do and makes all of the reservations, etc.

    We will have the first aid kit which is getting rather large (already outgrew the wonderful TB First Aid Kit which will have wound care essentials), but it’s the one area where I won’t scale back since they aren’t my kids. Also, I have fibromyalgia, so lots of medications for me. DH has a bad back (more medications), and I can no longer carry a backpack, either. I can carry a shoulder bag, however, which I do daily with a computer using the Absolute Shoulder Strap on a bag I had already owned. DH also will have to pack dressier business clothes for the conference. I get to play tourist, so don’t need as many clothes

    So, lots of stuff to take. We will have 2 wheeled bags, at least 1 of which will be checked. I would like to invest in a TB bag for this trip as well as for future one-bag travel for me. Ideally, we will take this bag on the plane with a couple of day’s worth of clothes for each of us, meds, and toiletries. We’ll each have a small personal bag as well. Also, DH loves souvenirs, so we’ll need that extra wheeled suitcase for bringing things home. (As a challenge for me, I am trying to pack as if I am going with 1 bag but knowing that we will be splitting things up.)

    Finally, which TB bag to get that will hold enough, not be used in backpack mode, fit in the overhead on a 777, and somehow be compatible with the 2 wheeled suitcases - I refuse to pull more than 1. I am thinking Western Flyer or TriStar but maybe something else would be better - thanks in advance and sorry so long.

  2. #2
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    The only TB bags that fit over the handles of a rolling suitcase are the Pilot and the Co-Pilot. Any of the suitcase sized bags will probably sit on a rolling suitcase, but there's nothing to keep it attached to the handle.

  3. #3
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    I have used the long key strap to attach the Western Flyer carry handle to a rollaboard pull handle to keep it from falling off. I'm pretty sure you could make one of the backpack straps do something similar, though you might have to wrap it around the rollaboard handle once to keep it secure.
    Last edited by imperator; 05-15-2018 at 11:27 AM.

  4. #4
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    I'm sad that I missed out on the WF when it had the handle passthru on the back instead of the backpack straps. I know TB is all about one bagging it, but sometimes it's not practical and it would be nice to be able to easily stack bags.

  5. #5
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    France with 3 students and 4 adults

    I don't have a WF or Tristar so I can't comment on those bags, but as BWeaves said, the WF used to have a pass through so you might keep an eye on ebay or Craigslist. They got rid of it when they added backpack straps, as far as I know.

    Why do you need such a large First Aid Kit, to the point where you're actually taking two of them? This sounds like a trip in urban settings. Unless there is an adventure/camping element, I would leave all but a few bandages and Neosporin at home.

    I know you said you weren't going to scale back the first aid kit because they weren't your kids, but any injury or ailment that couldn't be handled by a bandaid/sachet of burn gel/neosporin/Tylenol should be seen by a doctor, *especially* if they aren't your kids.

    Familiarize yourself with the logistics of French medical services for foreigners, and print a list of key emergency first aid vocabulary words. Familiarize yourself with French names/brands of common OTC meds or pack lipstick sized travel sizes of same.

    I hope you have a wonderful time. What time of year are you traveling?

    Quote Originally Posted by lotsobooks View Post
    Hi, I am new to the forums where everyone seems so friendly!

    My dear husband (DH) and I plus another couple are taking 3 high school girls/young ladies to a conference in Toulouse, France with 2 days in Paris on the way back - 10 days total. We are flying from the US to Paris, taking the TGV to Toulouse and back to Paris, and then flying back home. My husband is in charge of the trip through work, which means that I am in charge of the details while he dreams of all the cool things we can see and do and makes all of the reservations, etc.

    We will have the first aid kit which is getting rather large (already outgrew the wonderful TB First Aid Kit which will have wound care essentials), but it’s the one area where I won’t scale back since they aren’t my kids. Also, I have fibromyalgia, so lots of medications for me. DH has a bad back (more medications), and I can no longer carry a backpack, either. I can carry a shoulder bag, however, which I do daily with a computer using the Absolute Shoulder Strap on a bag I had already owned. DH also will have to pack dressier business clothes for the conference. I get to play tourist, so don’t need as many clothesFrance with 3 students and 4 adults

    So, lots of stuff to take. We will have 2 wheeled bags, at least 1 of which will be checked. I would like to invest in a TB bag for this trip as well as for future one-bag travel for me. Ideally, we will take this bag on the plane with a couple of day’s worth of clothes for each of us, meds, and toiletries. We’ll each have a small personal bag as well. Also, DH loves souvenirs, so we’ll need that extra wheeled suitcase for bringing things home. (As a challenge for me, I am trying to pack as if I am going with 1 bag but knowing that we will be splitting things up.)

    Finally, which TB bag to get that will hold enough, not be used in backpack mode, fit in the overhead on a 777, and somehow be compatible with the 2 wheeled suitcases - I refuse to pull more than 1. I am thinking Western Flyer or TriStar but maybe something else would be better - thanks in advance and sorry so long.
    Last edited by Cristina; 05-15-2018 at 12:56 PM. Reason: Typo

  6. #6
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    Hi lotsobooks,
    I'm actually living in the area near Toulouse so just an add-on to your clothing: spring is odd this year, and although south of France has a climate similar to let's say California, this year is somehow cold. I had to put on the heater yesterday in my house. Usually at that time of the year we should be sitting at the terrasse of a cafe enjoying a fresh beer. So no need to overpack, but do take a fleece. As for medication, only take medication for which you need prescription; everything else you will find very easily here, France has plenty of "pharmacie" absolutely everywhere. When are you going to France? There is a very big strike movement from the French national railway on-going, you have to make sure that your train does not run on one of the strike day; you can find the strike calendar on internet and I'll try to attach it to this message. The calendar is known until end of June so far. If you trip is on a day in red = change your ticket and day of travelling asap.
    As for luggage, I would advise to travel light and if possible with a backpack rather than a suitcase (although you mentioned your problem with backpacks), as taking the metro in Paris with a suitcase is a real hassle (many, many, many stairs, so you'll end up carrying your suitcase anyway), even more if you carry more bags.
    Travel light! There will be tons of things you want to bring back!
    I hope you'll enjoy your stay in France!
    Attached Images Attached Images France with 3 students and 4 adults-snip20180517_1-png 
    Last edited by melhoune; 05-17-2018 at 10:58 AM.

  7. #7
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    Wow, they go on strike nearly 50% of the days every month!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by melhoune View Post
    Hi lotsobooks,
    I'm actually living in the area near Toulouse so just an add-on to your clothing: spring is odd this year, and although south of France has a climate similar to let's say California, this year is somehow cold. I had to put on the heater yesterday in my house. Usually at that time of the year we should be sitting at the terrasse of a cafe enjoying a fresh beer. So no need to overpack, but do take a fleece. As for medication, only take medication for which you need prescription; everything else you will find very easily here, France has plenty of "pharmacie" absolutely everywhere. When are you going to France? There is a very big strike movement from the French national railway on-going, you have to make sure that your train does not run on one of the strike day; you can find the strike calendar on internet and I'll try to attach it to this message. The calendar is known until end of June so far. If you trip is on a day in red = change your ticket and day of travelling asap.
    As for luggage, I would advise to travel light and if possible with a backpack rather than a suitcase (although you mentioned your problem with backpacks), as taking the metro in Paris with a suitcase is a real hassle (many, many, many stairs, so you'll end up carrying your suitcase anyway), even more if you carry more bags.
    Travel light! There will be tons of things you want to bring back!
    I hope you'll enjoy your stay in France!
    I had assumed they would take taxis instead of the metro (because of the bad back & fibromyalgia & wheeled luggage) but with 7 people, I am guessing they will need two taxis, at least? If each person has a checked bag, carryon and personal item, even that might be a squish.

    Are French taxi drivers strict about luggage? I'm wondering if it all has to go in the trunk or if some of the carryons can go on people's laps. Despite France's reputation for being lax about certain things, they have some strict driving rules that other EU countries don't have.

  9. #9
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    Welcome to the forum!
    I don't have a Tristar, but I have both a Western Flyer and an Aeronaut 30, and routinely use them as my carry-on luggage (with a full change of clothes for a day in case the checked bag is delayed or lost) with a checked rolling suitcase. To hold either bag on the rolling suitcase, I usually twist the absolute strap around the handle a couple of times.

    My partner takes groups of college students to France often (I take mine to Germany...). We have had very good experiences with medical care in France, and so I think you should follow the advice of Christina above and not take too much first aid gear. And she is spot on with the advice that anything that can't be taken care of with OTC meds needs to be seen by a doctor. If you are not sure, ask a pharmacist, i France they are often asked for basic medical advice.
    I think Melhoune is right that you should try to travel light. I love the metro in Paris, but again, Melhoune is right, there are lots of stairs, and it can be pretty full at peak times. From my experience, teenagers like to take too much stuff, and then don't like to carry it. See if you can get your three students to travel light, too. (There are some great tips on the forums here, even if you don't become a one-bagger).

    I hope all of you have a great time. Write back and tell us all how it went!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWeaves View Post
    I'm sad that I missed out on the WF when it had the handle passthru on the back instead of the backpack straps. I know TB is all about one bagging it, but sometimes it's not practical and it would be nice to be able to easily stack bags.
    That would have been perfect!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the reminder - I actually used to take teenagers on adventure trips - work camp trips or to the edge of wilderness areas (both of which would require a 3 or more hour drive to the nearest hospital), so I guess I was a little over-zealous on the first aid side of things! I have pared things down to the Bihn First Aid Kit for this trip. I do trust the medical care in France; however, since we are trying to travel without renting a car, and our hotel is on the outskirts of the city, I wanted to minimize the number and immediacy of trips to the pharmacy. (We are staying near Cite de l'Espace for those who know the area.) I now have a little bit of everything so that we can get through a day at the conference if someone has a bee sting, small cut, rash, toothache, etc. Then, we can get to the pharmacy and back to stock up on more of whatever the specific need happens to be.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbcamp View Post
    Welcome to the forum!
    I don't have a Tristar, but I have both a Western Flyer and an Aeronaut 30, and routinely use them as my carry-on luggage (with a full change of clothes for a day in case the checked bag is delayed or lost) with a checked rolling suitcase. To hold either bag on the rolling suitcase, I usually twist the absolute strap around the handle a couple of times.

    I hope all of you have a great time. Write back and tell us all how it went!
    I just bought a used Western Flyer on Ebay to give this avenue a try. I'll try to post pix and give you all an update.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by melhoune View Post
    Hi lotsobooks,
    I'm actually living in the area near Toulouse so just an add-on to your clothing: spring is odd this year, and although south of France has a climate similar to let's say California, this year is somehow cold. I had to put on the heater yesterday in my house. Usually at that time of the year we should be sitting at the terrasse of a cafe enjoying a fresh beer. So no need to overpack, but do take a fleece. As for medication, only take medication for which you need prescription; everything else you will find very easily here, France has plenty of "pharmacie" absolutely everywhere. When are you going to France? There is a very big strike movement from the French national railway on-going, you have to make sure that your train does not run on one of the strike day; you can find the strike calendar on internet and I'll try to attach it to this message. The calendar is known until end of June so far. If you trip is on a day in red = change your ticket and day of travelling asap.
    As for luggage, I would advise to travel light and if possible with a backpack rather than a suitcase (although you mentioned your problem with backpacks), as taking the metro in Paris with a suitcase is a real hassle (many, many, many stairs, so you'll end up carrying your suitcase anyway), even more if you carry more bags.
    Travel light! There will be tons of things you want to bring back!
    I hope you'll enjoy your stay in France!
    Thanks for the strike update! We were aware of it but did not know that the days were published! We are arriving at CDG on June 30, so that looks good. Our plan is to take the TGV from Toulouse to Paris on Friday, July 6 and then fly back to the U.S. on Sunday, July 8. I'll have to look up the strike calendar for July 6.

    See response to @Cristina about medical concerns.

    I am doing my best to pack light and minimally - I think I am down to a little less that my 21" rolling suitcase. I also just bought a used Western Flyer on Ebay that I will test out to see how it performs for us. I am going to try a packing test later today. I found some awesome lightweight pants that actually fit right and look decent at LLBean (Vista Camp Pants) that weigh almost nothing and are extremely cool to wear. (We just had an unusually hot few days of 90-95F in northern Indiana, so I had a chance to try them out while teaching in a building that was just starting to cool down with A/C.) 3 pairs of these pants weigh and take up the space of 1 pair of dress pants, so I can get by with those 3 plus the 1 pair of dress pants plus a few tops for the 10 days - a win for me I will definitely be working with the girls to try to convince them to pack light as well.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    I had assumed they would take taxis instead of the metro (because of the bad back & fibromyalgia & wheeled luggage) but with 7 people, I am guessing they will need two taxis, at least? If each person has a checked bag, carryon and personal item, even that might be a squish.

    Are French taxi drivers strict about luggage? I'm wondering if it all has to go in the trunk or if some of the carryons can go on people's laps. Despite France's reputation for being lax about certain things, they have some strict driving rules that other EU countries don't have.
    We are hoping to use public transportation as much as possible and maybe Uber(??) if we need to get around Toulouse. Unfortunately, the metro doesn't go to Cite de l'espace, which is where the conference is being held and near where we are staying. It appears that, in the summer, Cite de l'espace runs a shuttle to and from the city center. We can take a bus to the metro to get to the city center if need be as well. (My husband loves trains, so any time there is an opportunity to take a train, we do.)

    In Paris, the plan is to use the Metro to get around. We have reservations in the Latin Quarter - so near many sites of interest and the Metro to get to the others.

  15. #15
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    France with 3 students and 4 adults

    Quote Originally Posted by lotsobooks View Post
    Thanks for the strike update! We were aware of it but did not know that the days were published! We are arriving at CDG on June 30, so that looks good. Our plan is to take the TGV from Toulouse to Paris on Friday, July 6 and then fly back to the U.S. on Sunday, July 8. I'll have to look up the strike calendar for July 6.

    See response to @Cristina about medical concerns.

    I am doing my best to pack light and minimally - I think I am down to a little less that my 21" rolling suitcase. I also just bought a used Western Flyer on Ebay that I will test out to see how it performs for us. I am going to try a packing test later today. I found some awesome lightweight pants that actually fit right and look decent at LLBean (Vista Camp Pants) that weigh almost nothing and are extremely cool to wear. (We just had an unusually hot few days of 90-95F in northern Indiana, so I had a chance to try them out while teaching in a building that was just starting to cool down with A/C.) 3 pairs of these pants weigh and take up the space of 1 pair of dress pants, so I can get by with those 3 plus the 1 pair of dress pants plus a few tops for the 10 days - a win for meFrance with 3 students and 4 adults I will definitely be working with the girls to try to convince them to pack light as well.
    Hmmm, I can see your post to me but I don't see anything about medical stuff, only transportation. Is there another one that didn't post?

    That's great that you found some lightweight travel pants and that you're trying to consolidate as much as possible.

    Edited because I posted too early!

    Have these teens ever traveled before? I was the absolute worst packer when I was first traveling. If someone had said to me that a good way to test pack was to "carry all your luggage up and down three flights of stairs and around the block" I definitely would not have taken an Extra Large LL. Bean Duffel bag on a ten day trip (my first overseas trip). That thing is so big I can actually fit inside of it.
    Last edited by Cristina; 05-30-2018 at 12:29 PM.

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