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I Plan My Trips Carefully

Fall is my heavy travel season. I have several personal trips planned, and I’m also traveling for work in a couple months.  I enjoy traveling, but the planning, booking, reserving, and packing aren’t so much fun.

I have decided that making travel arrangements is not for the faint of heart. I like to have my reservations made well in advance of my departure or it becomes a black cloud of stress hanging over my head until I take care of the details. I have nightmares about arriving at a hotel only to find it booked solid. That’s why I usually make my reservations well in advance.

Traveling for work is no big deal. We have a wonderful lady who makes our travel reservations for us. I simply email her and tell her when I’m leaving, where I’m going, and when I will return. She takes care of all of the arrangements. She makes my hotel reservations, books my flight, and arranges for the shuttle between the airport and hotel. She even registers me for the conference and makes certain I’m staying as close to the venue as humanly possible, which is usually in the same building. Therefore, I only need to worry about what to pack, how to pack, get packed, and arrive on time at the airport or designated place of departure if I’m not driving myself.

My personal travel is a different matter entirely. I’m not flying for any of my own trips this fall, but I still have to take care of everything else. I scour the internet for the best deals on hotels and nearby restaurants. I have to decide which meals I will eat out and which ones I will make from food I take with me. I usually carry a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter when I travel to reduce my expenses.

The dates I will be in Eureka Springs, Arkansas for an upcoming conference are so popular that three hotels sold out while I was online trying to book them. I finally found a room for a decent price a couple of miles from my conference location. The price is still more than I wanted to spend due to the 14.4% tax rate. It’s still much more reasonable than most accommodations in the area, though. I would prefer not to sleep in my car for two nights, so I am paying the room rate plus tax without complaint.

I’m just happy I was able to book my room when I did. One of  my friends tried to reserve a room in my hotel a few days later only to find they were sold out. I’m not sure if she has found a room yet or not. In order to put the crowd that will swarm the area that weekend into perspective for you, there’s still three months until that particular conference and several hotels are full.

Making my own travel plans means it’s up to me to research where all of the construction zones are located. I’ve never taken a trip in which there was zero road work. I do my utmost to plot my course to avoid as many of those traffic delays as possible. One unanticipated work zone can add an hour or more to my travel time.

I also like to have a general idea of the fast food restaurants and gas stations along the way. The first time I drove to my sister-in-law’s house in Iowa, I was in a world of hurt. I didn’t fill my gas tank before I left the Missouri/Iowa state line. I still had half a tank, and I assumed gas stations would be fairly easy to find. There are many, many miles where all I saw was corn fields, cows, and wind farms. I coasted up to the gas pump on fumes when I finally found one.

Not everyone plans their travel down to the detail like I tend to do. My parents never did. They often decided in the middle of the afternoon to take impromptu trips to visit family who lived a few hours from us. They usually didn’t call first, either. More than once, we arrived at our destination to find nobody home. Of course, that wasn’t a problem. We just waited in the driveway for someone to return. Those were in the days before cell phones.

I may write by the seat of my pants, but I do not travel that way. Spontaneity has its place, and I practice it often. However, I like to know exactly where I’m going, what I’m going to do, and how long I’m staying before I ever pack my suitcase. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

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