We arrived back in Kosovo last week, and we’ve spent our time dealing with a sick baby and getting over jet lag. It seems like we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now because we all slept great last night.
Our return trip was mostly uneventful. Even though we mentioned to our families – more than once – that we had limited space in our luggage and apartment for toys, we were still left with an alarming pile of stuff. We managed to cram this pile of toys
into one of our suitcases, and we only had to mail back one good sized box full of books and puzzles. I finally realized that one of my biggest stressors when traveling (spell check tells me this is not a word, but I’m leaving it) is having so much stuff to lug around the airport, and on and off each airplane. It’s overwhelming. Funny that it took me this long to figure it out, but I think it was partly because previously I flew solo with just one small carry-on earlier in the month. After we checked in, I put Abby in my Beco (baby carrier/baby wearing, whatever) and we put my purse, JR’s shoulder bag, the diaper bag, and my carry-on bag on top of the stroller/car seat combo, and I started pushing that while JR managed the two bigger carry-ons. That’s 6 bags, plus a stroller and car seat, plus a baby to carry through several security checks, planes, and airports. It’s a lot.
Um, no, no they did not. If they had, probably we would have found another route. The bus had just pulled away, and we are standing there with all of our things piled on our stroller, as she continued to stare at us. JR said, well what would you suggest we do? Her response involved waiting for some other shuttle option to pick us back up, take us back to where we started, and we could find an alternate route ourselves. Helpful, that one. I loaded as many bags as I could on my shoulders, JR did the same, and then while I had the baby he picked up the stroller and car seat and we hoofed it up the two flights. Not ideal, but we managed.
Regardless of the troubles we had, Abby made herself comfy on the plane. Here she is hanging out, and playing peek-a-boo with some kids behind us.
When we finally landed in Kosovo, only 1 of our 4 checked suitcases came out at baggage claim. I was kind of over it at that point and just wanted to go home, but we had to wait over an hour to make a claim for the bags. I figured there wasn’t anything in those bags that we couldn’t live without, and hopefully they’d show up soon. At that point I didn’t realize that my winter coat, hair dryer, the baby’s thermometer, and various other necessities were in fact in those bags. Thankfully, they were delivered to our house the next day without any other issues.
Of course, with so much stuff and such a long trip, we expect a few problems but this trip was pretty decent. I wrote out a long post several months ago that had tips for flying with a newborn and I never published it. You can find it here. Now that Abby is older, the focus is on less stuff overall but more toys and food. Also, a tip if you use a stroller bag for gate checking. In our experience the stroller in a bag is just confusing, and the employees are more likely to lose it or place it with regular checked luggage since they can’t tell that it’s a stroller within the bag. From now on we’re going to skip the bag and just collapse the stroller right before we board the plane. We gate-checked our stroller but it was nowhere to be found on the tarmac when we departed the plane in Vienna. After realizing that the stroller must be with the other baggage, JR quickly ran to the tail of the plane to wait for the baggage coming on the conveyor belt. Thankfully, he recognized it and was able to grab it from the baggage guys.
Surely one day we’ll get the hang of it. Right?