New photos from road trips…Annoying flight changes….Why?… A year ago…Sport cars driving up the hills…

We stopped along a beach to enjoy the views.

So far we’ve booked 12 round trip flights from Minneapolis to Hawaii for our family members while waiting for dates that work for eldest son Richard in Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada. He’s a successful real estate agent experiencing the busiest time in his 20+ year career. Getting away is not so easy for him. We’re confident, he’ll figure it out soon.

Close up of flower in the above beach photo.

After booking the remaining 12 tickets, we sat back comfortably knowing that the booking aspect of our upcoming family vacation in December was almost complete. How foolish we were to make such assumptions when dealing with the airlines!

Most beaches are rocky in Madeira. Wooden planks are provided for sunbathers to avoid sitting on the rocks. On many beaches, these thatched umbrellas are also provided. 

Speaking of airlines, a week ago, we mentioned the possibility of going to Malaysia in between our two stays in Bali in 2016.  After the tragic downing of yet another Malaysian Airline plane, we’ve rethought our decision to visit Malaysia and will find another country in the South Pacific to visit for the 60 days we’ve yet to fill.

This morning, as I sat down at my computer to begin writing today’s post, I noticed an email from informing us that there have been changes from our flight from Boston to Vancouver on September 17th. Not huge changes, but changes nonetheless. In this case, there was nothing required of us.

There were many roads along the steep cliffs that were wet from water running down the mountains.

Over the past few there have been no less than four notifications of flight changes for son TJ and his family of four with changes on departure times, layovers, and arrival times. In their most recent notification, it required selecting new seats when the actual plane was changed. 

When the airline toll-free number was blocked to Skype, we were unable to speak to a rep to make the new seating arrangement. (This was the first time that we experienced the blocking of a toll-free number via Skype). At the airline website, it stated that one couldn’t change the seats online and would be required to call. 

From what we could determine, this small one-lane rock tunnel was very old.

We contacted TJ explaining that they’d have to book their seats for that leg of the flight, especially important when traveling with two grandsons, Jayden and Nik.

Also, in the past few months, we received another two flight changes for daughter-in-law Camille and granddaughter Madighan who are flying on different dates than son Greg, granddaughter Maisie, and grandson Miles. As in the past, we forward these notifications to our kids, reminding them of the importance of noting these changes.

A bridge over a ravine.

Fortunately, the airlines haven’t changed any departure and arrival dates, only the times. In most cases, the time changes aren’t substantial. What’s the deal? We have to book early to ensure we secure the flights and yet, they keep changing the times.

With many flights in our future travel plans, this is annoying. However, once we fly to Paris in 10 days, and then fly from Boston to Vancouver in September our only flights will be from island to island in Hawaii when we’ll be living on four different islands over a period of months.

A fast-running small creek in the ravine.

Travel days?  We don’t like them. It’s the only part of our travels that give us a sense of angst and uncertainty.  Will we be charged for overweight baggage? Will our flights change or be canceled at the last minute? Will our bags get lost or the contents stolen? Will we have problems with immigration? And most importantly, will we arrive safely?

As for long layovers, we’ve learned to accept this as a reality of our world travels. If the airport has WiFi and a recharging center, we’re at ease. More and more airports are providing these services, which we surprisingly found available in some airports in Africa. 

A natural rock formation.

We’re content to read books during layovers on our phones as we do each day. Our older smartphones don’t have the extended battery life as some of the newer phones. If no recharging stations are available we may be out of luck during a long layover. Why not read a hard copy book? Simple answer. We can’t carry any extra weight reading hard copies of books.

Corn grows wild in many areas of Madeira.

With the new rules in the US that all digital equipment be charged enough to turn on when going through security, this presents a whole new problem for travelers. When we depart on a flight, all of our equipment is fully charged. But, in the case of a layover, we may run out of juice. We’ll worry about this later, definitely keeping it in mind. 

A fountain in the center of a round-about.

Oh, enough whining about flying. I’m sure our regular readers have heard all of this many times in past posts.  I apologize for the redundancy. Please comment if you’ve had similar experiences. We love hearing from our readers.

Photo from one year ago today, July 21, 2013:

We stood outside of the 300-year-old stone house in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy while a parade of old sports cars drove past perhaps on their way to a car show. For more car photos, please click here for the link from that day.