Tripping over trips

By Caroline Klapper | Jan 21, 2013

Getting ready for a trip is never a smooth experience for me.

I can be gone overnight or for a whole week, but getting ready to travel always takes more effort than the actual trip itself.

First, there is packing.

It’s not just about picking a number of outfits equal to the number of days you’ll be gone. It’s making sure you have the right clothing for the weather, any events you might go to, or anything else you might encounter on your trip.

For instance, this week I will be headed to my hometown to help my mother, who recently had knee surgery. This means I need to pack regular clothes for each day I’ll be gone, of course, but there are a few other things on my agenda. I want to keep up with my exercise routine, so that means some workout clothes and extra socks need to come along. I’m also planning to stay in New Orleans on my drive back up and maybe hit up a blues club or two, which means packing some sort of “going out” apparel. And don’t forget about the shoes, but I won’t even go there.

Do I usually end up over packing? You bet I do.

Packing also means doing laundry.

I always have a pile of laundry waiting to be done, but it becomes a matter of urgency right before a trip. Although I will admit to bringing dirty clothes with me to wash once I get where I’m going. I only do this to close relatives and friends I’ve known for more than 10 years though, so it’s cool, right?

Then there are the pets. I have several pets that require daily care ranging from fish to my dog, Oz.

As anyone who has ever met my dog can attest to, he can be a handful and finding someone to take care of him while I’m gone is a challenge. This time, I’ve opted to put him up a kennel, but this, too, offers another set of obstacles.

Kennels usually have rules that pets must be up-to-date on their annual vaccinations in order to stay there. Usually, this isn’t a problem since I keep up with my dog’s vaccinations, but Oz just happens to be due for his annual shots this week.

For me, this means scrambling to make a vet appointment, getting him to the vet, getting those shots and then delivering him to the place where he’ll be boarded. While this isn’t a huge deal, it doesn’t make for a less hectic day before a trip.

My last major obstacle to hitting the road is making sure my house is clean enough not to horrify the person coming to care for my other pets. Today, this means doing the dishes so there are none sitting in the sink for a week, vacuuming, and generally picking up all of the junk scattered around the house, of which there is plenty.

Not only is this to spare me the embarrassment of having someone think I live in a pig sty (although it doesn’t look nearly as clean most of the time), but I also like to clean before I leave on a trip because there is nothing worse than coming home to a dirty, messy house. Knowing my house will be clean when I get back is just one less thing on my mind as I start the process of unpacking all of my now dirty clothes, reclaiming pets and preparing to head back to work.

It’s no wonder I usually feel like I need a vacation after my vacation.