How To Enjoy Your Vacation with Lost Luggage

Hey y’all, I am a first-hand experienced traveler when it comes to lost luggage. It happens! That is the first thing you have to remember when it happens to you for the first time (because if you travel a lot or even occasionally, then it WILL eventually happen to you). The worst experience I had with this was when I was headed to my honeymoon with my wonderful husband.

IMG_5451

We flew out of Nashville on Monday morning, had a layover in Houston, and landed at the Liberia, Costa Rica Airport where we came to the dawning realization that our luggage had been left behind at the Houston airport. With everyone expressing the “Pura Vida” mentality of not sweating the small stuff, we had a difficult time dealing with the broken English of the airport workers. After many tears and mixed Spanish and English discussions (Spanglish, if you will), we realized that our luggage would not arrive to this tiny airport until 3 days later. Cue mental breakdown on my part. There was nothing we could do at that point. So we got on the bus to our resort, got lost in thought for the 1.5 hour bumpy drive over rocks and mud, and arrived to our resort in the middle of nowhere, Costa Rica.

IMG_5583

We tried to explain the situation to the resort staff, but if you have never experienced that no-stress mentality, then it is hard to comprehend how chill to the extreme these people were. They said they would call the airport and ushered us off to our room. When we got into the room, everything hit us. We have no luggage. We are on our honeymoon at a beautiful resort on the beach and have limited clothes. What would we wear to dinner? There was literally forest around us; there were no stores. We had no toothbrushes (sorry honey, don’t think we can kiss). The thoughts kept pouring in. This was the turning point though – time to take action and make this work since we were sitting in a beautiful room with a bed strewn with flower petals.

IMG_5469

We went through our carry on luggage and gathered together the small amount of clothing we had. Oh boy. Since there was a dress code at all the restaurants at our all-inclusive resort, we had to get creative. The first few nights, we had to make do with what we had. I was wearing jeans, a black tank top I had worn under my clothes on the plane, and a necklace I had luckily thrown in my carry on at the last minute.

IMG_5477

Alec was wearing jeans and a t-shirt that he wore on the plane. We found out around this time that they would be attempting to fly our bag to another airport in CR and send it by taxi to the resort 8 hours away. We knew these clothes would be getting unsanitary soon though so we washed our clothes in the 3 inch shallow sink. At this point we had lost all hope of our luggage actually ever arriving.

Tuesday started out lovely when the staff wouldn’t let Alec come into the breakfast area wearing a tank top (mind you, this was one of his 2 tank options). Luckily, they had an overly used polo shirt that paired wonderfully with his blue basketball shorts! Who knows how many people had already worn this spare shirt that they had hanging at the hostess stand. He was really happy about it as you can tell below.

IMG_5526

After that, we broke down and bought cheap, overpriced clothing items at the convenience store of the resort. We also bought sunscreen after already having sunburns from walking down to the beach after literally 1 hour. We had to at least purchase these essentials other than the few goodies like toothbrushes, toothpaste, bath soap, etc. that the hotel had given us. They even sent us flowers and gift certificate for me to get services at their spa to let us know they felt bad for our situation!

IMG_5544

Such a nice goodie basket and beautiful flowers below from the most helpful and favorite hotel staff member, Fabian (yes, that was his name)!

IMG_5545

We decided to make the most of the beach bum life and live with what we had. Then, the resort staff, who we were pretty sure had forgotten about us other than the goodies and flowers (thank you FABIAN), brought sets of men and women’s waiter and waitress clothes for us to wear to dinner. Alec now had nice khakis and a flamingo waiter shirt (all he needed was a towel over his arm!) and they offered me a very large pencil skirt and wide-sized, white polo. I think he got the better end of the deal. Instead of wearing a huge polo, I used one of my nightgowns and tucked it into the pencil skirt. We were working our make-shift dinner attire and were actually having fun trying to figure out where our next outfit would come from! I can’t even count how many times we said, “this will be really funny later for sure,” and we were right!

IMG_5554
Notice I’m still sporting the original tank from the night before under the nightgown #resourceful

We learned a lot from losing our luggage and actually enjoyed solving the problems that arose as we went through the honeymoon. Since we started out our marriage working through a trial, then it must be a great sign for the future!

After being put on a plane to the San Jose, Costa Rica Airport and then placed in a taxi for 8 hours, our luggage arrived in one piece at our hotel room on Wednesday morning. We were surprised and shocked so see it. We could not have been more thrilled to see this soiled, large, blue duffel bag. From that point forward, it was all smooth sailing into honeymoon bliss.

As we gear up for our trip next week, we intend to be much more prepared with options packed in our carry-on luggage. It is always a good idea to make sure you have the following in your carry-on with you – especially if you are going international:

  • A change of clothes
  • An extra pair of walking shoes
  • Everything you would keep in your purse
  • Phone and charger
  • Camera and charger
  • Magazine/Book
  • Universal adapter plug
  • Essential toiletries
  • Snacks and water (At least an empty water bottle to fill up after security)
  • An extra jacket (depending on location)
  • Anything you would absolutely die if you lost!

For our Icelandic adventure, I think we will be making sure we have enough in our carry ons to get us by if need be. 🙂

 

 

Advertisements

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

Update!

Alec and I have decided to take on international travel planning. We are doing our very first, all-planned-out, on-our-own, international trip together! We don’t really count traveling to an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica for our Honeymoon “planning a trip.” I mean sure, it took SOME planning, but let’s be honest, we just had to show up for our plane, meet our bus for the hotel, and it was smooth sailing from there (other than when we lost our luggage, but that’s another story for another blog).

20151016_172630

Anywho, this year, we have decided to do more research and plan out a full international vacation to a drastically different climate. And we went all out.

We are going to ICELAND!

Many people, and even myself, have a perception about Iceland being a barren wasteland filled with ice. But remember Greenland is ice and Iceland is nice. There is a running story in which the original Norse settlers left Norway to colonize Iceland and actually planned to confuse everyone back home on purpose. They hoped those coming from Norway would inhabit Greenland instead of Iceland – they wanted to have this scenic island all to themselves. This kept the Icelandic natives safe in their haven while everyone else assumed they were living in a wasteland. Maybe this story is true and maybe it’s just a tale, but one thing to note is that many people still assume Iceland is an overgrown wilderness of sorts.

IMG_0007

I never imagined this would be a destination we would choose, but after my friend and alteration queen, Rachel Swayne (altermyheart.com), told us all about her awe-inspiring trip, our interest was piqued. She told us all about the natives, caves, black sand beaches, waterfalls, geothermal lagoons, mountains, glaciers, and other experiences we could witness while in Iceland. The land of fire and ice is filled with interesting formations and lush nature that cannot be found anywhere else. It has very open, rugged, and unique landscapes; It is a mystical land from our fantasies.

Once we started looking into it, we realized this getaway could be a reality for us. We researched a lot during our pre-trip planning phase, and after crunching the numbers, we realized we could easily make a budget trip out of this destination. We chose to fly with WOW Airlines for our airfare, which is a budget airline that flies to European destinations including Iceland, obviously. This airline is based out of Iceland so airfare from the eastern seaboard of the United States is VERY affordable. I would definitely check them out if you’re thinking of venturing out on an Icelandic vacation.

WOW Conf

We chose to go with a car rental company called SADcars for our transportation – they are an establishment that maintains 10-year-old vehicles to make rental prices cheaper for budget travelers. For our accommodations, we also chose to go a more affordable route than hotels or resorts. We searched all over and ended up choosing 3 different Airbnbs and a cabin recommended to us by Rachel. Choosing an entire home to rent (versus renting out a private room) on Airbnb is not sketchy by any means and is a great tool for budget travelers – we have stayed at them many times with no issues! We will also be staying in a wooden cabin for a couple of nights outside of the town of Vik in hopes to see the enchanting Northern Lights illuminate the night sky with their green and blue hues. September is the beginning of the Northern Lights season. The nights grow longer and the days grow shorter as Iceland moves into the fall and winter months causing the lights to be more visible in the dark. We hope we’ll spot them while we’re there!

After we secured these 3 main components of travel (airfare,  transportation, and accommodations), the hardest part was over. From there, we worked on our activities, itinerary, and restaurants to make the trip our own. As easy as the second part sounds, it was very time-consuming trying to decide what we wanted to see and what would need to be cut. Sadly, we will not be able to see everything in 8 days. I’m so excited to be able to share our trip with you. We have less than 3 weeks until we arrive there! The past 5 months have been dragging on in anticipation of going.

IMG_0310

Most people have said “you’re so brave” when we tell them we planned our own international vacation without a travel agent, but I think anyone can plan a trip if they set their mind to it. It just takes the courage to make the initial step.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

The adventures, memories, and life you experience when you are outside your comfort zone can be amazing and fulfilling in ways you never would have comprehended. Take it from me, it is SO worth it.

IMG_0452
Giving out gifts to the children of Peru

Just always remember: The fun part about a journey is not knowing how your journey will end up.

Be brave and try something new.

More blogs and photos to come on Iceland and its grandeur in the near future. 🙂