The pandemic has really hampered our vacation style. We hunkered down and weathered the waves of COVID-19 while we waited for vaccines and effective treatment. Marketing research firm One Poll surveyed American parents and found that more than half (55%) of families had not taken a vacation for at least three years; however, 70% plan to take one within the next 18 months. Many of us are ready to get back on the road and enjoy some well-deserved family time.
The same survey also revealed that 76% of families said they were able to plan their entire itinerary in six hours over a period of a few days. I am impressed with their confidence. But I’m here to remind you that plans and budgets won’t get you far. No matter what you do or where you go, I know these things for sure.
YOU WILL FORGET SOMETHING
I see your detailed lists and careful planning, but just know that I am telling the truth.
My husband drove two hours to Canada for a fishing trip with his buddies before realizing he had forgotten his passport. I loaded up the car and was halfway to Michigan when I startled the kids with an unprompted volley of swear words. I had forgotten my prescription medication.
The brain gets lost in lists and likes to miss the most obvious and essential needs. But once I’m on the road and the car goes quiet, that missing element comes to mind.
Or you’ll swear you left the coffee maker on.
THE MOOD WILL NOT MATCH THE GAME PLAN
In-car entertainment is an important part of trip planning. I enjoy a good audiobook while driving. I even let the kids have a say in which book we buy so that we all agree. But it never fails. Once we’re on the road, no one is in the mood for the audiobook we’ve chosen, or wants to listen to the “road trip” branded playlist I made especially for the reader. “Can I just listen to my music, mom?”
Any activities or group games I was hoping to play dissolve into NPR for mom and headphones for the teen. The toddler will play games on my phone where the audiobook is stored.
PLANTS WILL DIE
The caretaker is not a gardener. She’s there to feed the pets and neglect your hanging baskets and herb tray. Soak the plants before you leave and pray for rain. My plants died in the presence of every caretaker I’ve ever hired, including my own teenagers.
THE BANK WILL CUT YOU
Standing in flip flops eating M&Ms at the tourist store checkout is when the bank thinks I’m being robbed. Frozen bank accounts. They’re like a bad boyfriend who insists I call them every time I make plans without them. If someone ever steals from me, I hope they buy more than sunscreen and candy.
TEXT REMINDERS WILL CHASE YOU
Anything autofill at the pharmacy is always ready on the second day of my vacation. I get daily text reminders that turn into threats to restock blood pressure medication I’m sure I need from their incessant texting.
If you can hold him, the toddler spills out of his diaper, soaking his clothes and the car seat. When you have to stop, the little one stays dry and sleeps.
The toddler also wets the hotel mattress and the birds poop on my head. Meanwhile at home, the dog is bombarding the garden. No sitter gets paid enough to pick up dog poo.
After returning home, when I stand in the garden among the dead plants with a poop shovel in my hand: that’s when it’s going to rain.
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