We are on the road again. There are three women road warriors –my daughter-in-law, Jody, my best friend, Bea and myself. We left yesterday morning for the Southwest–stops in Palm Springs, Tumacacori, a little town in AZ, Tombstone and Tucson AZ, Albuquerque, NM, maybe a few other places in between. On the 7 hours drive yesterday we were discussing what made us crazy about traveling and we agreed that it was the coming home that could be the worst.
There are lots of tips for getting ready for a road trip and lots for what to do while on a road trip but what about when you return home? Being an old road trip warrior (I took my first cross country road trip when I was less than 2 years old) I am sharing my 6 top favorite tips for keeping your sanity when you get back home.
Don’t leave a dirty house There is lots to do to get ready for a long road trip but this definitely one of my top things. There is lots to do to get ready for a long road trip but this is definitely one of my top things. Nothing is more depressing that coming home to a dirty house (well, maybe remembering that the house is dirty comes in a close second.) My daughter-in-law gets so agitated by this she can barely enjoy herself knowing that my son and grandchildren are home making a mess.
Take out the trash, flush all the toilets, and turn off the lights. When my children were young I always make them go to the bathroom before we went out the door. Then I would go around behind them and flush all the toilets, empty all the trash baskets, and check the lights. I would take the bathroom and kitchen trash down to the curb on the way to the car. If you have ever come home after a week away to an un-flushed toilet or fermenting kitchen garbage you will understand the wisdom of this practice.
Make sure you have something simple to prepare to eat when you arrive home. Once you arrive home you don’t want to have to cook everyone a big meal. Have everything you need for a simple meal in the pantry or freezer so you don’t need make a market or fast food run.
Make sure you have laundry detergent. Along the lines of having food, make sure you have laundry detergent for all the dirty clothes that you are bringing home with you.
Put clean sheets on your beds before leaving. Being back in your own bed is heavenly after days or weeks on the road. But it is so much nicer when your bed is freshly made.
Ship purchases home – It is a little like Christmas to come home to packages and even though I know what is in them I still love opening the packages and reliving the experiences. Of course this means you are not limited by space and can overspend but it also means you will be able to buy what you really want and not be limited by space in your luggage. The other thing is that you will not have to forfeit something at the airport because of TSA or agricultural inspections. On a trip to Ireland my sister bought a jar of homemade Irish jam. Pat packed it in her take-on luggage and it was confiscated by airport security. She still laments the loss of the jam and brings it up whenever the conversation of the trip comes up.
While we are on the subject of souvenirs I would like to add a tip on how to maximize your travel experience. Having traveled all over the world, I’ve gained some insights into getting the most out of traveling. Travel is more than just going to a place, it’s an inner journey as well. Growing as a person while on a road trip – or any kind of vacation – is the best kind of souvenir to bring home.
I hope all your journeys are wonderful and you have a safe and sane homecoming.