Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, International, TRAVEL, Travel Planning

Forty Pounds?

brown leather duffel bag
Photo by nappy on


So, on a Monday morning in May, I woke up with the knowledge that I was going to Club Med Punta Cana at the end of the week – the trip we had won from CTC Travel.  I had no idea whatsoever of what I was taking with me.

The Resort Life

I am the Museum Girl, not the Resort Girl.  I know what to take on cruises.  I’m great at packing for a road trip.  However, I didn’t know what to take to a resort, because that hadn’t been my life up to that point.

So I imagined a really casual five-day cruise without any ports of call and no dressing for dinner.  My wardrobe began to form in my head.  Swimsuits, sundresses and shorts.  I scratched my head a little more and tried to dream up every eventuality.  Maybe I’d need jeans?  What about some slacks?  I stood around in my closet gathering up things I might need.  Something to sleep in, lingerie, sandals, sneakers.  The items began to pile up.  In the end I took a lot more than I needed, because I just didn’t know.

The Baggage Thing

So, if you travel at all, you know what Spirit is famous for – no frills, but a fee for everything.  I looked online for all of Spirit’s baggage fees and thought I was pretty clever.  I was sure we’d be able to get by without the additional cost of carry-ons, because I’d managed to fit us into one suitcase for five days for our cruise.  Of course, since we drove to Galveston, the weight didn’t matter, but I was certain I could fit everything into two suitcases – and I did.

We weighed the suitcases with our handy dandy suitcase scale and put the them next to the door.  The alarm would be going off at 3:30 AM the next morning, because our flight was at the ungodly hour of 6 AM.

The Other Baggage Thing

We parked our car at Park & Fly, like we always do, and were delivered to our terminal.  As we stood near the Spirit Airlines acclimating ourselves to their procedures, a very nice lady came up to us and offered to help.  She was happy to see the confirmations proving we had checked in online.  Then she grabbed a bag and set it on their scale.  I didn’t have a worry in the world.  Both bags were under 50 pounds – the magic airline weight limit.  Or at least that had been the magic airline weight limit the last time I had flown on a real airline.

I should have worried.  The weight of our bags brought a frown to our friendly helper’s face, but it was nothing compared to the one on my husband’s face.  We were going to have to pay an additional $30 per bag each way.  $120!!  The weight limit for Spirit Airlines is 40 pounds!

My stomach dropped to somewhere near my shoes.  We’ve had vacations ruined for less than $120 in unexpected fees.  Bill is no fan of traveling and he hates fees – they’re like paying interest, only much more careless. I waited for my dressing down, but it never came.  We’d both been looking at the Spirit website for days.  I’d emailed him a reminder of the permitted size of his personal item.  We’d both weighed the suitcases.  He wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t in trouble.

We finished getting our boarding passes and got in line to begrudgingly pay our first round of $60 baggage fees.  (BTW, CTC was in no way responsible for our frustration at the gate.  They didn’t book our air and I didn’t ask them about luggage fees!)  There was a wait by the gate and then we climbed on board Spirit Airlines.  Come fly with us next week.

DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Restaurants & Bars, TRAVEL, Travel Planning

Getting There is NOT Half the Fun


Months of planning. Weeks of deciding what to take. Days of packing. Then you wake up one morning and you still have to get there!

Flying Out of Dallas

I’ve already moaned and groaned about the local airport, so I’ll save you that.  We did get a taste of Friday morning rush hour traffic, but soon enough were pulling into the Park N Fly lot.  The shuttle delivered us without mishap to the United check-in desk where we got our boarding passes and checked our bags without a moment’s frustration.

On this trip, Bill and I traveled with my best friend Deb Shera and her husband Joe.  As Bill and I gathered our carry-ons and headed to the gate, we found Deb and she was not a happy camper.  She’d checked-in on-line via her iPhone and the computer at the gate was giving her fits.  However, she hadn’t had coffee yet, so I’m not sure whether the computer or the lack of caffeine was the real problem.

Once past security, our next target was coffee.  We figured there was a Starbucks somewhere, but couldn’t find it on the map, so we struck out to find something caffeinated.  We were just about ready to give up when Deb stumbled on someone who knew where the Starbucks was and I fell into an Auntie Annie’s Pretzel.  Here’s how much Deb loves me.  Even though she was still caffeine-deprived, she waited patiently for me to get a pretzel and soft drink.  Coffee is not my caffeine of choice.

Not long after, we found the Starbucks and the day began to improve for everyone else.  But the fun wasn’t over.  The Departures sign told us the boarding gate for our first leg was just around the corner from the Starbucks, but when we showed up with all our luggage, the flight before ours was delayed.  The gate area was full and the gate lady sent us away.

Later, I went back to check on things and who was there but one of my cousins’ husband.  Colin travels a lot, so I assumed he knew what he was about.  We compared notes on the flight and he, like us, assumed the Detroit people would leave soon.  Eventually, it was getting pretty close to time and the Detroit passengers hadn’t moved.  The board still said it was our gate, but Deb wasn’t taking the board’s word for it.  Good thing, because they were loading our plane at the next gate. Even though the gates were consecutive, they weren’t right next to each other and we could have been in trouble.

Can we board yet?

As we cued for boarding, I looked back towards the old gate and didn’t see Colin anywhere, so I assumed he was already in the plane.  But he wasn’t there either.  I hoped he’d arranged another flight.  Frequent travelers have this penchant for finding flights the rest of us never know about and getting upgraded to first class, but that hadn’t happened.  He was the first guy I saw when I got off the plane.  He’d almost missed the flight!  I was sorry he’d had such a close call, but I was glad it was someone else for a change.

The Houston layover was uneventful, but quick.  We grabbed lunch to go at restaurant called The Real Food Company.  I recommend it highly if you’re in Terminal C at Bush Intercontinental.  Our flight was boarding when we arrived at the gate and our food was still warm when we settled in our seats.  Another uneventful flight ensued.  (And believe me, I’m not complaining.)

All of our luggage showed up on the carousel and it was time to find a taxi.  That’s when things began to get interesting.  Come back next week and I’ll tell you about it!