|Our house in Bruges.|
We use homeaway.com to find houses, but I've heard great things about airbnb too. And for those of you who have a creepy feeling about this, or you think of that Kate Winslet movie The Holiday where they swap houses, it's not like that. Most of these people (although NOT the ones in Paris) have these homes for the SPECIFIC purpose of renting them out. They're stocked with dishes and clean sheets and towels, and they're ready for strangers. It's not like the owners live there day to day and then go to a hotel when you show up, leaving all their icky soap and leftovers and hair in the showers.
At least, that's been our luck. The only 'bad' experience we've had was in Wales, and that wasn't even actually bad, it just kind of wasn't fantabulous.
Tip Two: Don't pack a bunch of shit you don't need. Ever since Ava was tiny and when we were only going to visit my sister a few hours away, I've always packed my kids' clothes in gallon sized ziplock bags. Pants, shirt, undershirt, undies, socks, and jammies for Warren and Daisy, who are still small enough that all of that will fit in one bag. Ava and Scott are now tall giants, so their jammies just get thrown on top of the suitcase.
And the lady saying nasty things will be dragging HER screaming four year old behind her, broken out in a sweat and having a miserable time. You probably won't even HEAR her nasty comment because you'll be all high on the endorphins from walking and seeing ALL THE THINGS and enjoying yourself. So seriously. Get the second stroller. Ava is SEVEN and she needs a break every now and then too. You certainly can't expect kids to walk ten miles a day up ancient European streets with no breaks.
Tip Seven: just go. I don't know what else to advise you to do. Just plan it out, get in the car, and go. That's the only way you're going to see stuff. When we get back to the States, I plan on renting an RV and just going to see a bunch of stuff. Wouldn't that be fun? But the first step is to just GO. Make sense?