A lighthearted look at what happens when you
don’t prepare for the unexpected before you go

By Vicki Barnes

When you’re planning for a trip like ours…two months on the road…budgeting is so important. Having enough money to do the trip is, of course, important. However, budgeting your time before you leave is nearly as important.

dali-clock-300x300Of course, you have to make lists of what you need to bring and what still needs to be bought, borrowed or otherwise acquired. Then, you have to pack, measure and weigh your bags, repack, remeasure…

You have to go to the bank and make sure you have things in order there. You have to put the bills (all of them) on autopay. You have to call the credit card companies and let them know there will be charges coming from outside your normal purchasing area.

And you have to make lists, lists and more lists to make sure you don’t forget anything.

And when everything is in the bags, you just want to plop on the couch and veg.

It’s then that you realize that while you were shopping, gathering items, counting your underpinnings and making sure everything is ready to go, your laundry was piling to the ceiling and unidentifiable things were gathering in your fridge.

So, forget about vegging. Throw in a pile of laundry, start sorting through the airtight containers in the fridge…is that a mushroom growing in the back corner? Oh, gawd. Take everything out of the fridge and start wiping the whole thing down. The washer buzzes that it’s done with that load, so you head back to the laundry room, throw that load in the dryer and fill up the washer again and head back to the kitchen.

The house sitter, you remember, eats nothing but frozen pizzas, white bread toast and eggs. There’s plenty of room for eggs in the newly cleaned fridge, but with the ten loaves of whole grain bread you froze last month, there will be no room for the pizzas. At least he can put a loaf of white bread in the pantry…you better check. You open the door and a box of cereal topples from the shelf over your head. It’s time to reorganize this corner of the kitchen too.

The buzzer is going off on the dryer…

As you prepare for the trip you need to budget your time to include time for those unexpected tasks. Things that you do on a regular basis are now overlooked and they can not be ignored forever. All of it has to be done before you go…even if it means not sleeping for three days before your departure.

And you don’t want to do that.

A little preparation goes a long way. Make a list of everything that needs to get done each day for the two weeks prior to your departure. Include things like laundry, cleaning the fridge, changing all the linens on your bed, cleaning the garage, calling the financial institutions, firming things up with the house sitter, double checking arrangements with the pet sitter (if that’s not included in the house sitting duties)…

Once you’ve made the list, stick to it. Check each thing off as you do it. At the end of the day, you’ll go to bed with a feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that the tasks are not going to pile up right before you’re ready to go.

A little planning, a little extra work and you won’t be too exhausted to go on that well-deserved vacation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go clean my back porch…