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Traveling to Rio with a Baby

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Traveling to Rio with a baby started a little shaky as we missed our flight out of Denver and almost missed our flight again out of Miami, but in hindsight it was actually a lot easier than we thought. Our trip to Brazil this year was a mix of family/attending my middle brother’s wedding and having some much needed vacation time.

I have explained before that traveling with a baby is actually worse than traveling with an adult. There is so much more to carry and plan for. You can read some tips here. Often I feel it would be easier to wait until Roark is older to travel again, but the hubby and I made a pact before we had children that this part of our lives would change, but it wouldn’t disappear, so we carry on.

Another fact about having a baby is that we are never on time anymore. Which is exactly what happened this time. I made the foolish mistake of booking a flight leaving Denver at 8:50am. The thought was that it would give us plenty of time to get ready and drive to the airport. Haha! Wrong! After several feedings, changes and everything else, we got out of the house and made it to the airport about an hour and twenty minutes before our flight. Usually that wouldn’t be so bad, because we were flying domestically at first and the Denver airport was empty, but misery loves company, so it was all downhill from there.

First, I stayed in line to do curbside check in just to be told I couldn’t check in with a baby curbside, which I had done before on Delta, but apparently American doesn’t allow. Now 10 minutes are gone. Ok, so I go inside with Roark and the stroller, car seat, diaper bag, pillow, purse and a carry-on, while my husband brings our bags. In the 2 minutes he took to help me, our car is almost fined and the hubby has to go park the car leaving me with 4 bags, a baby and all the baby’s stuff. I stand in line behind 2 people and have to shuffle everything when the line moves. At this point we have 60 mins to board, my spirits are still high.

The airport attendant pulls me off the line to use the kiosk with the assurance that I will be able to check in a baby. I follow him with all our things. I pull up the reservation and the attendant goes to help someone else. Because we have an infant, he has to do something on the kiosk, but he is helping someone else so I flag him and wait. He comes, slides his badge and then… warning. Ok, now I start to panic a little, we now have 50 mins to go through security and board. The computer tells us that we can’t check any bags because we are passed the 45 mins till boarding. What? I have never heard of that. The attendant tries to get us an exception because he feels guilty and the counter attendant does not want to give us an exception. We will miss our flight. Ok, so now I am getting mad. I ask him what I need to do, he tells me I need to get back in line – the same line I was in to begin with except that now, there are 10 people in line. There is no way we are getting on that flight. So I rush to the line, still being positive – or delusional- that things will work out. There is still no sign of the hubby and no help to take all the luggage from the kiosk to the line. I am sweating now and I haven’t even left Denver. But, I breathe in deep.

Twenty minutes later I am resigned that we will have to pay a fee and change our flights. I finally get to the counter, the lady was in a bad mood, says I may not even leave Denver that day. Sadly, I am used to this kind of attitude so I just let it brush off. I am not leaving that counter until I am booked to Rio. I ignore her attitude and respond with kindness. She says I need to pay $650 to change flights. I say no way! I am responsible for the delay, but the airline also shares responsibility. If I had stayed in line, I would have made the 45 min cutoff to boarding, so there is no way I am paying that much. She calls some people, they don’t budge. She types and types on the computer, nothing. The husband finally arrives sweating- he has had to jog to the terminal from the parking because the shuttle didn’t come by. He is furious with me, but doesn’t say it and I know he has the right to be. The lady tells him about the change fee with an attitude- bad mistake, he snaps back. You can imagine the scene. But now, I look like the more reasonable person to deal with, so I ask the lady to check other flights to Dallas since that is the only leg of our journey we have missed. She hadn’t considered that.

Twenty mins later we find a flight, the supervisor approves it, we pay $150 to change our flights and voila- we are back in business. I am tired just telling you this story! We fly to Dallas and then to Miami just to have another setback- our flight was late and the gate check took forever. Our next flight was leaving in 40 mins from a gate on the other side of the terminal. I go ahead with baby, diaper bag and carry on while the hubby waits for gate check.

I get to the gate and everyone is already boarding. The baby needs to have his diaper change so I run to do that. I get back to the gate and no sign of my husband. I call him and he’s on the way. I go to board and there is a problem. The lady at the counter says they have given our seats away. What?

I tell her we need to be on the flight, she needs to find us the seats. Because the hubby is still not there, she is not letting me board. 10 minutes later, the hubby arrives jogging with the stroller and car seat. We finally board, just to sit on the tarmac for another hour with maintenance problems. Yep! That was the beginning of our trip.

But we finally made to Rio. Moral of the story- I need to add a couple more hours to get to the airport when traveling with a baby.

We were so tired though that upon arriving at the hotel and having a 3 hr lunch, we checked in and I laid in bed and passed out. We just woke up to order room service and go back to sleep.

But the excitement was not over. While we were eating overlooking the beautiful beach of Copacabana, I heard a gun shot. I look at my husband and ask “That was a gun shot, wasn’t it?”. He confirms it. A second later, we hear several shots from a assault rifle or whatever you call a gun that fires rapidly in succession. I get Roark, run away from the window to the other side of the room. After several minutes we don’t hear any more shots and we go to sleep.

Next day I asked the waiter in the hotel restaurant about the shots- he says it happens all the time. Welcome to Rio! Then I remember why I haven’t visited it since I was a child.

That same day, my dad and my brother visited us and we had lunch. This was the first time Roark was meeting them and a very special day for us. Too bad they couldn’t stay longer. We ate at one of the oldest restaurants in Rio- Confeitaria Colombo. The place is amazing! The decor and the food are exceptional! A great place to visit if you like architecture and good food. The mirror were imported I believe from Belgium. They are huge! I can’t imagine how they survived the trip!

On our third day in Rio, we enjoyed the pool in the morning and left the city towards Paraty in the afternoon. Paraty is a town of about 35,000 people on the coast between Rio and Sao Paulo. The location of my brother’s wedding. It took us five and a half hours to make the drive and we arrived pretty late, just in time to have dinner and go to bed.

I can’t write everything here or this will be a book. Watch the vlog– it’s a lot shorter!

Part 2 will be posted soon.

You can read more posts about Brazil here.





  1. Ro
    June 13, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    Wow…what a magical times we had there!

    I am very happy that Roark met his grandpa and his youngest uncle. After all the family is huge!

    And living and learning ever….babies are like surprise boxes!

    Lov u

    • Jana
      June 13, 2017 / 5:59 pm

      It really was! Love you!

  2. June 14, 2017 / 5:03 pm

    OMG, you poor things! That sounds like quite an ordeal and quite a rough way to learn the “I need extra hours with baby when traveling” lesson. Sounds like many other things went wrong – that Murphy’s Law is alive and well. But, I am glad you enjoyed your QT with family. You and Roark both look great! Mua!

    • Jana
      June 22, 2017 / 5:19 am

      I know – rough lessons, but we made it and did enjoy some QT with the fam. Thanks!!! Mua!

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