Just at the end of October, I had to travel back to Indiana for family stuff. As mentioned in an early post here, I had just been there in August for a family reunion. This trip was different.
This trip came about last minute, more so than I had ever dealt with before. I received a phone call at 1:30 in the morning and by 6:07 that same morning I was on a plane headed home again. With no time to plan ahead or make any kind of checklist for my five-day stay, I made sure to pack what I needed to get through two days and buy the rest. This is not a very smart or economical way to go about “emergency” travel but it was the best I could do with the situation presented.
I moved out of Indiana two years ago and this trip (although not leisure) was the longest trip home since the move. There are times I flew up and back the same day for family business, so I decided to do the best I could to see some of my favorite places and even a friend or two.
I enjoyed eating at some of my old favorite restaurants. Nine Irish Brothers had always been one of my go-to spots when looking for a relaxing evening and I sure needed to feel at home this week. The food at this pub is amazing, Irish with a twist I like to say. If you ever find yourself in West Lafayette, IN, make sure you stop in for a piece of Irish Creme cheesecake.
I left Alabama on a Wednesday and traveled solo, my husband and two younger children drove up on Thursday night, stopped for a night in Bowling Green, KY and finished the journey Friday morning. They stopped for the night at the Greenwood Hotel and (from what I hear) found an awesome pizza place called Godfather’s Pizza. As described by my husband the room was very clean and comfortable for their needs. The price was on the low end even with showing up last minute. This place offers a pool and hot tub and free breakfast. He pointed out the friendliness of the staff as well.
With everything going on it became very easy for me to forget most of what I have learned over many years of travel. I have a note saved on my phone with all the things I need to pack for a trip even as short as an overnight stay. Here are my steps to get ready for any trip, even one that comes up in four hours.
First thing I did, as mentioned, is to make a list that I keep on my phone with a list of absolute essentials. You never know when you might have to pack and leave without a moment’s notices My list includes:
- Eyewear – Everyone in my house (except my husband) needs some kind of vision correction. My oldest son wears glasses and my younger two and I use contact lenses as well. Making sure we have our glasses, contact lens cases, spare lenses and a travel size of the cleaning solution is top of my list. Contacts and glasses are not really something you can pick up at the corner store.
- Chargers – This one is very high on everyone’s list I’m sure. Between cell phones, eReaders, laptops and cameras we have so many things that need chords. I decided about two years ago to buy an extra for each device and I keep them in my carry-on bag at all times. That way they are there and ready so it is one less thing to think about.
- Snacks – Next on my list is snacks. I have three children who, like most, want to eat when they get bored. To save time and money, I pack my own snacks. This not only keeps you from buying individual lunch cakes that are packed with sugar (causing them to be hyper in the car or on a plane) and if you are driving it cuts down on stops.
- My pillow – I know this probably sounds a bit excessive but hear me out. I have stayed in some amazing hotels and B&Bs alike (some awful ones too), but I still need my pillow. If you have the extra room in your trunk during a road trip (obviously not when flying), I highly recommend giving this a try. It can make any hotel stay feel more like home and adds a certain level of calm to my trips.
- A jacket and a swimsuit – I know taking a jacket seems obvious but do you take one everywhere? Even if I am traveling to Miami in July, I bring a jacket because you just never know. As far as a swimsuit, often times we just drive and pick a place along the way. You never know if the hotel will have a pool or if there will be one close enough to use during your stay.
Ideally, you would have more time to prepare for a five day stay away from home but with this little checklist, you should be able to make it until you can hit a store. Again not the most economical way to travel but it will do in a pinch. This trip did teach me a few new things though. First, my list is a life saver. I would have been running around like crazy if I didn’t have something to hall back on. Second, making the most of a bad situation is not just possible but helps the situation seem less overwhelming. Hopefully, this will help make your travels a bit less stressful.