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Getting Back our Lost Camera: an Expensive Lesson

In my last week’s post, I’ve mentioned that my husband forgot his expensive Nikon camera in Frankfurt airport. So, I wanted to follow up with an update on how things are progressing. But first, let me back up. Imagine a scene: My husband and I are settled in our exit row seats (always ask when you check in at the counter). Suddenly, he realizes that the camera is gone. We had about fifteen minutes before they closed the doors of the aircraft, so he decided to run to his seat at the gate and look for it.

Ten minutes later, he is still not back and I’m sweating bullets. In my mind I was picturing him being stuck at the airport, hoping that Lufthansa would put him on the Frankfurt-Orlando flight the following day (for free). The problem is, my husband is not the begging type. I figured he would just buy another ticket with CASH without even considering the “free” alternative. And I would be on the airplane the whole time, unable to do anything. The horror!

Then, of course, there was the issue of getting a place to sleep. I am the planner in the family. He literally has no clue how to make travel arrangements. How will he, an able-bodied man in his late thirties survive without me for one day?! Yes, I am a control freak, thanks for asking. I was seriously thinking about running to the gate when he finally showed up, camera-less.

He was so distraught about it, the last thing he needed was a nagging wife getting on to him. So, I told him not to worry about it. And really, out of all the things that could have gone wrong on this trip, this incident was a  minor disappointment. Yes, the camera used to cost $1,000 on Amazon, but you can pick it up used on eBay for around $300. Of course, the worst part was losing all those photos of our trip. But my sister-in-law took many pictures and I did too. Let’s move on. I figured we would never see the camera again.

When we landed in Orlando, my husband texted his mom and briefly mentioned losing the camera. Her response: “Well, I found it!” Huh? I thought grandma finally lost her mind, since she was in the US the entire time. But nope, what she meant was that she contacted Frankfurt airport and they located the camera. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, my SIL texted her right before we took off from Frankfurt.

They gave her all the info and we started the process of arranging shipping to US. I figured it would cost $50-$60 max, seeing that it’s not a heavy item by any means. But  after few days, we got this email.

Yes, the total is 125 euros, or about $140. Ouch! But it’s not like we had much of a choice, so we agreed to this arrangement. Reminds me of the time I grew up in Soviet Union. There were ads: “Fly Aeroflot planes!” The thing is, Aeroflot was the only airline available. So you had to fly it by default.

Anyway, we had to fill out this form and email it back to Frankfurt:

At this point we just wait for the camera, I guess. I did purchase a trip insurance, so I called and asked if by any miracle, this charge would be covered. The answer was No. I didn’t have much hope, but it never hurts to ask.

Consider leaving your junk at home

When you travel with kids, it’s extremely hard to keep track of everything. I recommend you make a policy of having one carry-on item per person, period. I actually opted to leave my purse at home and just used the backpack everywhere I went. It was a bit heavy at times, but I figured I would make up for lost time at Gold’s Gym, plus all the wonderful  food I consumed during the trip.

I also encourage you not to let your kids carry anything expensive. My husband put a $200 electronic item in my daughter’s backpack and she forgot it in the taxi. We were able to contact the guy and he brought it back to the airport. Otherwise, we would have to ship yet another thing.

Don’t let mishaps ruin your memories of the trip

I know this is easier said than done, so use logic. Like I told my husband, $140 is a drop in a bucket compared to what we’ve spent on this trip. Oh, did I ever mention that travel isn’t free?  BTW, when I say that, it’s NOT meant to be a  dig at an excellent site Travelisfree Call me crazy, but something tells me the bird flying out of the cage means there is a double meaning going on.

Anyway, if everyone in the family comes back alive, unharmed and lice-free, I consider a trip to be a success. Travel can be stressful, expensive and a lot can go wrong. But it’s also exciting, thrilling, it’s life on steroids. I’m thankful that this is the worst financial loss we’ve experienced on this particular trip. Moving on to planning yet another adventure! Oh, and I told my husband we are leaving his camera at home next time.

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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8 thoughts on “Getting Back our Lost Camera: an Expensive Lesson

  1. I expected a bit more angst from you…congratulations. Sometimes it is best to just let go, but the person responsible cannot sleep at night. We were returning from St John USVI and while racing through O’Hare my wife lost a brand new emerald bracelet we had purchased as an anniversary gift; it still aches decades later.

    • @Russ Ouch, sorry about your wife’s bracelet! I think it hurts more if the item has a sentimental value. The camera is not in that category, I suppose, apart from the photos.
      Honestly, when the whole thing transpired, I was just happy my husband made it back on the plane in time. Goodness, this incident would turn into a true nightmare if he got stuck in Frankfurt. Plus, he had to be back at work the following day.
      It is what it is. I figured the camera was lost at that point, no sense in obsessing over it. Though I probably would have been more upset if I was the one who lost the darn thing.

  2. Ha, reading this reminded me of several trips where we have lost things, from the camera that we let our 2 year old play with on a train (yes, we never mind it after that) to the backpack that I failed to remove from the trunk of our rental car (thank GOD that my passport wasn’t inside)… there are so many times that I have to worry about losing valuables. Now I just travel with my cell phone (which has a good enough camera), my ID and a credit card and a small amount of cash. Over the years, our kids, now 14 and 16, have seen us do some pretty stupid stuff and have learned through our errors, so they are pretty good travelers and tend to not leave stuff behind.

    • @Mark Oh yes, this is not the only stupid thing we’ve done during our years of traveling! Speaking of passports, I almost left mine on the plane (in the storage in front of the seat) when we flew from Barcelona. Fortunately, I’m paranoid about documents and check constantly to see if they are still in my possession. So, I was able to turn back and retrieve the passport before leaving the plane.

      That’s why I wasn’t really upset with my husband. I did something far worse, I was just lucky to check in time. Being organized and attentive is crucial, but kids sure make it difficult. That’s why the less stuff you take with you on a trip, the better. And I agree, photos taken with a phone are pretty good these days, so why bother with a bulky camera?

  3. I would have been bummed about losing my camera, but devastated at the loss of the photos. That’s why I back up my photos to the cloud every night when I’m on vacation using hotel wifi. Just get an SD card reader for your iPad, laptop, or phone and download he appropriate app. I use Amazon Prime which gives you unlimited free photo storage, but Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are also good choices.

    • @Erik That’s actually what my husband said as well. He absolutely hated losing the pictures, so paying $140 to get them back is totally worth it. He usually does back up photos, but forgot to do it this time. This trip has been extremely hectic, too hectic. I’m still recovering from it, in fact. I don’t know if jet lag gets worse with age, but it sure feels like it!

  4. Hi Leanna,

    The exact same thing just happened to me at Frankfurt Airport a couple of days ago. I left my laptop in the tray after going through security. However, it was found and I followed the exact same steps as you.
    I also received the same email requesting almost £130 to post my laptop back to me in London. I feel this is taking advantage of stranded innocent passengers worldwide. I am tempted to leave the 2year old laptop which coost me £300, and purchase a new one. They say the laptop will be auctioned if its not claimed in the next 3months.
    I did respond to their email telling them I cannot afford the shipping as I am a student; I await their reply.

    • I sure am sorry to hear about your misfortune! I can’t tell you whether it’s worth it to ship it to London, but I agree with you. This is highway robbery, considering it’s just another European country. I thought it was high for us, but at least we live in US. Plus, the camera came in the mail in just two days. Regardless, I hope you don’t let this incident ruin the memories of your trip.

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