So, one thing that Rob and I have done a lot is travel. It’s usually to nearby cities and states and just for a weekend, but we’ve still done a lot. Most of it has been done by car as well. I feel like I am a pro at preparing, and packing, and making your travel successful. This year we haven’t done much except for maybe a trip or two to Indy for a wedding or the Indy 500, but coming up in the fall we, well I, have two trips. I’m sitting here thinking, today is almost exactly four months until my first trip. Some might think, oh 4 months? That’s plenty of time! I think, “what ONLY 4 months?! I better get moving!”
Let me first start by telling you a bit about my trips. One is a weekend trip for a conference for Moms in the Making, which is a faith-based infertility support group. This is in Dallas, TX, which means I will have to fly….by myself. Our next trip is to Washington, D.C. for Rob to run the Marine Corps Marathon. This is the very next weekend after Dallas and will be longer than just a weekend. So with two trips back-to-back, I better get my stuff in gear! So here I am, making lists and thinking of things I may need to do or get prior to the trips. Let me share some of my tips with you. And I labeled this as ‘Vol.1’ anticipating having other tips in the coming months!
Tip#1: BE ORGANIZED! This is very straight forward and may seem kind of obvious, but it’s so so important. Make a list of everything, I mean literally everything you want to take on the trip or what you might need. Just make the list. I start with my day, when I wake up I go to the restroom then I take my medications, so that’s a place to start. Write down “medication” and then list out all that you need to take, prescription, supplements, vitamins, etc. Then go down the list through bathroom stuff, clothing, cell phone charger, book, Bible, etc. After you’ve made the list then you can go through and mark off things you already have and maybe circle or highlight things you may want new of. For example, headphones are probably a good one. An 8+ hour car ride and a long plane ride, headphones for me will be imperative, so I’ll write that down and highlight it as something that I need to buy. And now I have several months to buy them. Even if it’s a cheapo pair, I know that I need them, so I’m not rushing out at the last minute. Making this list will also help you eliminate what you don’t need to take. You could scratch off some things. Or, can you borrow something from a friend. Maybe you need a new suitcase but it’s just not in the budget to buy a new one. Can you borrow one from a friend? That will help as well!
Tip#2: PACK EARLY. When I say early, I don’t mean like a month before, but I mean a few days before. My husband is a last minute packer. No matter how many times I bug him about it and say things like, “what do you need to have packed?”, he will always say “I’ll get it!” and that’s it. Then he’s up late finishing laundry and packing or throwing stuff in his suitcase as we’re walking out the door causing stress and you to forget something. So, if you’re planning to leave on a Friday, then start packing on Tuesday. This could mean, start doing laundry and make sure all vacation clothes are clean and make sure you don’t wear them that week. This will help you know what still needs to be washed. You can even just lay this stuff out or have a pile of stuff somewhere if you’re not ready to fully pack your bag. The goal of this is to have every last thing ready and packed so that you can walk out the door on time. Especially if you’re catching a flight, you’re at the mercy of the airport and airline, so you better be on time.
Tip#3: STAY CALM! Stuff IS going to come up last minute. No matter how many lists you make. This is why I suggested organization in tip one. Control what you can, because you never know when things will go awry. If you’re driving to your destination you may hit traffic or you all of a sudden need an oil change, or the person who was going to get your mail and feed your cat all of a sudden can’t. These are things that can be stressful to deal with right before you leave, so having everything else done ahead of time will make things so much easier. If your cat sitter bailed on you two days before, but everything else is pretty much done and you’ve delegated things on to others in your house, then finding a new sitter will be much easier.
Tip#4: SPEND WISELY! One thing that a vacation is is expensive. It does not matter how far in advance you plan, if you’ve been saving for years or it’s on a whim, it is costly. Unless you’re going home for the holidays and staying with family and eating your mom’s home cooking, chances are, you’ll have a lot to pay for. Hotel, gas, food, excursions, etc. It’s all so expensive and adds up quickly. If you’re like us…our money is our money, meaning, what we have is also meant to pay bills and live our lives before and after vacation. We don’t have a separate vacation fund, although we should! So, think of things like pre paying for a hotel room, of if that’s not feasible, just make sure the funds are available upon checkout. Look ahead at gas prices in the cities you’ll be driving through. Take drinks and snacks with you. If you get a drink/snack at every single place you stop along the way, you’ll go broke before you even get to your destination. Gas station and rest stop prices tend to be higher than regular stores. This will also help you avoid so many stops. Another thing to account for is toll roads. Look ahead at your route and account for tolls. If there is an activity you want to do while on vacation, can you buy the admission prior to going? Are there online coupons for the activity? Basically, have a plan of how much you want or can spend on vacation without hurting yourselves and stick to that. If you use a credit card, make sure you can pay it off in full when you get back!
Tip#5: PRAY! If you’re a believer, then pray! Pray for peace and calm and that all of the above tips come together smoothly. Pray for safe travels and desirable weather. Pray for financial support and not strain. Pray for a happy family and no stress or arguing. Pray through your trip that it continues to go as planned and that you enjoy it to your utmost abilities!
I hope this has helped a bit. Stay tuned as I am making this an all travel week, unless the Holy Spirit leads me to write about something else. I plan to talk more about packing and a timeline of travelling, etc. If you think of another tip, list it and I can add it to a future list!