On the Ground in Panama

Panama City, PanamaOn Tuesday I flew from Orlando to Panama. The plan is that I will locate a short-term furnished rental, then my husband and the dogs will join me.

It’s a little complicated because in April we fly back to Florida for our son’s wedding. If I find a rental quickly, we’re fine. If it takes a while, my husband will probably opt to stay in the US until after the nuptials.

I have to admit, I’ve gotten off to a bit of a rocky start here.

First was a problem which I anticipated but didn’t feel able to do much about: I brought too damn much luggage with me.

There’s a big difference between packing for a visit and packing for a move. We won’t be shipping anything down, so it’s whatever we can haul.

I lugged down a 25″ case weighing about 60 pounds (Copa is very generous with baggage allowances. Right now they permit two checked bags at 70 pounds apiece. . .). I have a 23″ suitcase that weighed in at about 40 pounds, a rolling duffel at about 25 pounds, and my laptop messenger bag at about a ton and a half.

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating just a titch about the laptop bag, but not much. The weight of a large laptop, camera, iPod, Kindle, headset, chargers for all the above plus a small purse and some documents. . . you get the idea.

The problem is, I’m a small woman, measuring 5 feet tall when I stand up straight.

My husband helped with with the bags at the Orlando airport end. I had no idea what I would do when I arrived at Tocumen.

Fortunately, the airport had rolling carts to rent for $2 (once I found the guy with the key). I had arranged for the hotel to send a taxi for me, and the driver helped with the bags at the hotel.

But how on earth was I going to schlep all that luggage to the interior?

I checked on the cost of hiring a driver to take me to my next destination, and it was way more than I wanted to pay.

I talked with the hotel, and they agreed to store my biggest bag for me until I come back through.

One problem solved, at least temporarily.

I still have way too much luggage. . . but I don’t think there’s much I can do about it now.

I may need to rent a car — something I’d been hoping to avoid — just to deal with the baggage.

Stay tuned. . .

Photo by Brian Gatwicke on flickr


  1. Good luck!

  2. Hi! Long time no talk!

    I was “foolish”? and did my move overland, driving through Mexico. It was quite the adventure, but I made it. Like you, I decided to stick to only those items which I could haul in my truck, since I would not be shipping anything. Boy, oh, boy, that was not such a great decision.

    If I had to do it over again, I would GREATLY cut down on many “just in case” items. Many things could’ve just been re-purchased over here to save me the extra weight and aggravation. Can’t be nimble when one is dragging all that extra stuff around one THINKS one may need later.

    Oh well, that’s why we do things, so we can serve as warning to others 😉


  3. Melodee Lucido says:


    I have been reading your blog and feel like you are a new friend. You have helped me so much with my plans to move to Panama in the near future from Arizona.

    I’m 62 and will be traveling with my Yorkie and my very large Calico Ninja cat. I read about what you would do differently; I’m well advised but I just can’t part with them. I’ll just have to deal with the hassles.

    I can’t wait to meet you and give you a big hug and maybe I can buy you a meal for a nice visit.

    All the best to you,

    • FutureExpat says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Melodee! Definitely let me know when you’ll be in the area. 🙂

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