No matter how well you think you have packed and prepared for your trip, something unexpected will happen. When we left for our 3 month trip around the world, I decided to bring our beloved BOB jogging stroller with us. The picture above was taken after a 15 hour flight from Seattle to Chengdu, China connecting through S.F.O. This was the only way that I thought I could make it through all of our flight connections and layovers with a 3 year old. My daughter loved being in this stroller and most importantly of all, she loved napping in it. How hard could it be for my husband and I to lug around all of our luggage and a 3 year old through airports, customs, subways, and local streets?
Our family had traveled many times to California, Boston, and Hawaii with this BOB stroller and I did not think anything would happen to this stroller…until the airline lost it in Singapore when we were going to New Zealand. With this stroller, we were able to pull around 3 carry-on luggages, 3 backpacks, and get our 3 year old through customs and to the gate. We decided to pack light for our 3 month trip and not pay extra money for check-in luggage. We were determined to save money where we could. We had also purchased travel insurance before we left for our trip so we thought we were well prepared. However, we were not prepared to lose our stroller or to wait 3.5 months for compensation from the airline. In fact, we did not have any resolution from the airline until we were back home in Bellevue from our journey.
What was the lesson I learned from this? I learned to expect the unexpected when traveling. I learned not to bring anything of high value, like our BOB stroller, on our trip. I learned that I could just use an inexpensive $25 folding umbrella stroller for my toddler at the airport and be okay. And another important fact is that many international airlines outside of the U.S. now charge a significant amount of money to bring a stroller on the airplane. It is a good idea to call your airline or check their website before you go on your trip so you know their carry-on luggage restrictions. In the U.S., a carry-on luggage cannot exceed 22 pounds. Many international airlines now have a weight restriction of 15 pounds for carry-on luggage. And if you arrive at the airport without purchasing check-in luggage, you may be charged 3 times more money for check-in luggage! We made this mistake in Singapore. They charged us $75 for one piece of luggage. Knowing how much you can pack in your carry-on luggage is important, especially when you are traveling on a long international flight with a child. It is always a good idea to check the TSA website http://www.tsa.gov for carry-on luggage rules.