Friday, August 8, 2014

Useless Air Baggage (UAB)

Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is two full weeks after it arrived in India (five weeks total), our Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB) cleared customs and was delivered this week! The bad news is that we did a terrible job choosing what pack in it. In our defense, our pack-out was backwards. Rather than packing our UAB on the first day and our House Hold Effects (HHE) on the second day... we had to guess what would fit in our UAB because our HHE was packed and taken away first. This brings us to:

Mistake #1: Not using our full allowance.
  • We were allotted 600 lbs of UAB. We used <250 lbs. Mainly because we're terrible at estimating weights and were terrified of being overweight.

Of course we also did what (we've heard) is common for first tour officers and that is:

Mistake #2: Terrible pre-packing planning.
  • Call us cocky, call us naive, but in our minds we saw this as any other overseas expedition we've taken. More specifically, we didn't think we'd need anything outside of what was in our suitcases. We were even less concerned because we knew we'd have the "welcome kit" at post, which has all the necessities, right? And... they do sell stuff in India.
Mistake #3: The welcome kit is awesome, but it doesn't have everything.

I guess you live and you learn. We've started a spreadsheet of things to make sure we pack in our UAB for our next move. It's a long ways off, but this way we don't have to try to remember in two years what we miss now. What's on the list, you ask? Well, it's still in progress, but here's a teaser.
  • Choice kitchen supplies (I miss you, fancy cookware)
  • Extra toiletries (for those that you care about the brand - or softness, in the case of toiletpaper)
  • (More) Cat food and litter
  • (More) Diapers and wipes
  • Pillows, sheets, and blankets (Sorry welcome kit, but we don't want 1ft thick pillows)
  • Board games (you know, if you're into that)
What did we actually pack? 
  • The 'rest' of my clothes
  • Cat litter (but not enough to hold us over until our HHE arrives)
  • Diapers (see above)
  • A stroller (I guess this qualifies as a toy, since my son never sits in it, just pushes it)
  • Extra shoes (...)
  • The cover for the bread knife and one chopstick (kitchen items somehow left behind by the HHE packer)
  • Toilet Paper (small victory)
  • Aerosol Sunblock and Bug Spray (Deemed too dangerous to ship via boat, go figure)
  • Candy
I will give a quick shout out to my social sponsor... we arrived at our house on our first night to two big boxes of loaner toys. That was pretty much the best thing that could happen, because without those I'm pretty sure my son (or wife) would have gone insane by now. (And something to note if you do become a sponsor, since every parent we talked to here would have LOVED if their sponsors had done the same!)

1 comment:

  1. I have read all about HHE and UAB from links you gave in other post. My curiosity is that the UAB will be with you to Washington, DC and continue to be with you to India. What about HHE? Some of them will be shipped to India and some will be stored in DOS storage. So, how did you pack for HHE? You packed for HHE prior to your flag day and what if you need something from HHE, how can you have it shipped at DOS expense? For instance, you planned to have a car shipped to your post without knowing what it would be until the flag day, and after you found out India doesn't allow your type of vehicle, then could you have DOS shipped something else instead? OR once you have the flag day, can you give DOS a list of what you want to ship? I understand depending on different posts, a limit of weight is allowed, either 7,200 lbs or 18,000 lbs. It's very important to know at least something when packing for HHE and UAB. Thanks for sharing.