Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: Kansas City to Chicago

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Kansas City to Chicago

Daraius Couldn’t Wait for His Favorite US Airport Food!

Emily:  Daraius and I spent 1 month before leaving to pack for our trip.  A big advantage of the First Class award ticket was that we were allowed 3 bags of 70 lbs each.  We packed six 70 pound bags, 2 laptop bags, and one carry-on roller bag (for the PJs, amenity kits, etc!)  Daraius weighed our bags at home with a hand-held weighing scale so that there were no surprises at the airport.

We packed lots of gifts for family and friends, and also brought three suitcases full of care packages that I made from the toiletries we take when we go to hotels and stuff we bought in the US.

Trip Report Index

Kansas City to Chicago

The 2012 Haul

This year, we made over 300 care packages of clothes, toys, toiletries, and snacks to distribute to families living on the streets.

Kansas City to Chicago

Care Packages

Daraius picked me up from work, and we went to the American Airlines terminal in Kansas City.  We checked in for our flight and checking in our 6 bags didn’t take as much time as it sounds!  The scale Daraius used at home was very reliable and we didn’t have to take out anything at the airport.  We like to leave a 3 pound buffer to minimize the chance of redistributing our luggage.

I had a quick snack at the airport and then went through security, and boarded our plane.  It was a quick ride over to Chicago, and I slept the whole time.  I guess I was tired from all of the last minute packing and extra long days at work to prepare for the trip!

We had plans to meet my mom and my Aunt Judi in the American Airlines Flagship Lounge in Chicago.  We told them that it was near gate K-19 and to wait for us there.  After we landed, Daraius walked as fast as he could to his favorite restaurant in the airport, Rick Bayless’ Tortas Frontera.  They offer a selection of Mexican food with a twist.  I don’t care much for it, but Daraius loves the food there!

He goes there every time he’s at O’Hare.  Soon after we ordered, we received a call from my mom letting us know that she was in Chicago but could not find the lounge.  We were on our way to meet her at gate K-19, and saw her walking down the walkway!  We were so excited to meet!

We asked her about my Aunt Judi, and there was a schedule change and she missed her first flight, so had to get rebooked on another flight.  At first, they tried to put her on another American flight that left much later, but she protested and was put on an earlier United flight, which ensured she would not miss her Chicago flight to London.  But…

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39 responses to “Mother-In-Law’s First Trip to India: Kansas City to Chicago

  1. I really love your idea of care packages. Thanks for doing that and have a great trip!

  2. No fair! These recaps better be completed today lol. No suspense!

  3. tortas frontera is awesome

  4. +1 for the care packages. What a great example to set for the rest of us lucky travellers–we are so often fixated on conniving and exploiting the offers, that we forget about less fortunate. Well done!

  5. My Parents did the same exact thing when we went to India in December. 6 x 70lbs bags. Insane!

  6. Hi There!!

    Thanks for the AWESOME tips!! I’m inspired by all your travels and little money. So inspired that my wife and I are going on a trip to Europe for 14 days in August and hopefully, if everything works out, we will maximize using miles thanks for the tips found on your blog.

    Here’s our plans for this trip:

    – 2 economy United flights (60k each)- AUS-LHR-AMS-AUS-STL ( we are taking advantage of the stopover for a later flight in October)

    – 4 Nights at the Park Hyatt in Paris (CC signup Bonus)
    – 4 Nights in London (staying at friends house)
    – 2 Night in Amsterdam (No miles)
    -2 Nights in Brussels (No miles)

    For the United flights, we both signed up for the United CC, which gives us 35K miles. We both have 15k miles in our account, so we need to purchase 20k miles, which will end up being around $900

    So my question is, do you have any other tips that we can use to maximize the saving on this trip without applying for a new CC ?

    Thanks and good job on the blog!


  7. Thanks for the inspiration! I have a drawer full of soaps collected over our travels. Will certainly drop them off at our local shelter.

  8. I’m have never been a fan of this blog, for various reasons.

    That said, the care packages you describe have made me completely change my mind. You’ve earned a new reader, and I think you should do more on the topic of privileged people using travel to give something, however small, back.

  9. I have read about your care packages in your previous post. This is the first time I am seeing a picture of them – very beautifully done!

  10. I also am a care package-bringer when I travel to certain countries, despite my usual preference for carryon-only luggage. Thank you so much for highlighting this in a way that is sure to inspire others.

  11. That table of stuff is CRAZY! I almost never take the products unless is the GOOD products. Glad to hear you all put them to good use! It’s like your own version of Global Soap Project!

  12. I donate hotel amenities to my local homeless service center, which offer showers to the homeless.

  13. True giving would be to give out of your own pocket, not somebody else’s. Your heart may be in the right place, but I don’t think you thought this through enough.

    • @Frequent Flyer University – Something about Indian parents!

      @Adriano Gomes – Looks you’ve got a great trip planned. I’ll email you with more info. Thanks for reading!

      @Jimmy @TravelByPoints – Needless to say, I had no role in making them look so nice!

      @A. S.
      – This isn’t the only giving we do, but I posted about it because it is somewhat related to staying in hotels.

  14. this is amazing idea. now I understand why my wife does this. 🙂
    last time, I gave 10 Chinese yuan in the subway to a little girl, now I have much better idea to give care, even though I am not sure they prefer money or the care package. I will fly to China in business and I don’t have much baggage with me, I can fill in two 50lbs bags of care package now. Thank you D. You and Emily rock!!!

  15. @A. S.
    Are you serious? Daraius is indeed giving out from his own pocket: personal time and energy. It is YOU that hasn’t thought this through enough. What a jackass…

  16. @AS
    I totally agree with Jason. I collect personal care products from the hotels where I enjoy stays. I do this at the request of our local domestic violence emergency shelter. My friend and I make individual care packages adding items we purchase. This takes time, energy and money from me and gives resources to those in desperate need. Thank you Emily and Darius!!

  17. I salute both of you for the care package idea. I have been to India in 2011. Seeing the utter poverty broke my heart.

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