Our family just got back from a very memorable and fun trip to Northern Ireland.
We spent time catching up with family, playing with cousins and exploring some beautiful parts of the country that I have never seen.
Every time I go back to my home country, I find myself enjoying a new appreciation for where I grew up.
As most of you know air travel can often be unpredictable.
Sadly, nowadays it seems like flying is not quite as easy and relaxing as it used to be.
I have traveled back and forth to Ireland many times over the last 15 years, but this was our first time as a family of five to tackle the task of flying to Ireland together.
The flights over went really well, with very little problems. It just was exhausting, so we were thankful once we got to Dublin and knew we would not have to do that trip again for another two weeks.
The travel back was another story.
A delayed first flight out of Dublin made us late for our connecting international flight.
When we realized we had missed our plane we found ourselves in a situation that reminded us of a scene out of a National Lampoon's family vacation movie.
We found ourselves wandering around Heathrow airport for a couple of hours, trying to get help.
It was quite the crazy ride to get back to Portland – 50 hours later, 2 missed flights, lost luggage and a car seat – we finally found ourselves back in Oregon, totally exhausted, but thankful to be home.
I feel like with every situation we experience there is something to be learned and also to be shared with others.
Even though this was not our first time to miss flights we did learn some new things from our crazy trip home.
1. When booking flights make sure especially if you're traveling with children to have at least a two-hour layover between connecting flights. If you are travelling internationally this is a must due to immigration and customs.
2. Luggage labels are often stuck to the back of a boarding pass, take them off and put them somewhere safe. These were the key to us getting our lost luggage back.
3. Pack a change of underwear and a toothbrush in your carry on. If you have room even pack a change of light clothing for each traveler, we were so thankful we had done that, since we had an overnight stay in a hotel and no luggage.
4. Packing some extra snacks were a lifesaver for us. Especially traveling with a child on a special diet it was hard to find gluten and dairy-free food. We also ended up travelling on a different airline which meant our pre-ordered food was not available.
5. Emotions run high and it is very easy to get upset and angry with airlines and other passengers. We found that when we were calm and clearly communicated our story they were more willing to work with us and help.
Also if you look around you are not the only family or person experiencing travel problems.
It wasn’t the best ending to our trip, but now we are home and have time to rest and reflect we can look back and remember the great times we had with family.
It really was a great vacation.
We won’t be doing that same trip any time soon, but we learned a lot for the next time.
we found ourselves in a situation that reminded us of a scene out of a National Lampoon\'s family vacation movie.