1. How I wish I'd had my camera!!! Somehow it got packed in a box that was checked in. I missed precious shots of the girls riding on the back of their carry ons as Scott pulled them through 2 airports (they had to walk as their carry ons got stacked on carts this morning!). So I have no fun travel pics to share this time. But to learn from it...
2. Put heavy items in our carry ons again to take weight away from the weighed bags/boxes checked in, but do not forget to include all the allowable travel size toiletries you can fit in a quart bag per person. I never thought I'd miss our flight (when I packed) after the first leg of our trip was delayed. Thankfully the airlines put us up in a hotel AND paid for our meals. However, we had no toiletries at the hotel except the few items they offered. Overseas flying can make you look and feel grimy enough. Add a day without all your routine toiletries--whew!
3. I had read from a well traveled friend of mine to always include a change of clothes for everyone on your flight. Thankfully we heeded her advice on a past overseas flight when one of our girls had a stomach bug and went through her clothes and her sisters! So, we had the second change of clothes covered for our unexpected additional 24 hours in the USA.
4. Check into special programs and credit offers with the airlines in advance to save money on baggage fees and allowances. We found out at the counter that we could have saved a lot of money had we joined Continental's elite(?) program but it was too late. We don't have the annual miles to keep it up but we would have been given the adequate miles if we'd signed up for their credit card. The annual fee would have been cheaper than what we paid!
5. Note number 4 also says we bought/got probably too much during our U.S. furlough! Of course grandparents and family want to give to us when we're home and especially at Christmas time--and we are so blessed by that! And then the Dollar is way cheaper than the Euro so it makes stocking up on kids clothes, coats, English books, etc. look really appealing. But I'm not sure if the savings remains once you have to pay to ship it! And the work involved--so glad it's all here now, but packing it all on the other end is not something I want to do regularly. I'm not really sure how to change this scenario for the next time, but we've got some time to ponder/pray about it now.