Organizing your life, so that you can have a life….

One of the questions we get, is how do you find the time to travel.  We are fortunate that we work together in our small construction business.  It does allow us to work our schedule around when we want to travel.  Most people do not realize that everyone gets 104 vacation days a year.  Yes, that is correct, 104. Most people work 5 days a week, that leaves 2 days every week for adventure.   With 52 weeks in the year, that’s 104 vacation days.  Now, some people will say, I attend church, okay so you “ONLY” get 52 vacation days.  And those days do not even include if you get a paid 2 week vacation.  If you REALLY want to travel, you have to make travel one of your priority.  What you do with your 52 or 104 vacation days is up to you.  Travel/adventure is not something you can throw together, but it is also not something that should over-whelm you with a lot of details.  Travel is meant to be enjoying, relaxing, educational, and fun…at least that is how we look at it.

A few organizational tips:

1)    A folder with all your up-coming travel/adventures, even if it’s a local event.

2)   Have a big calendar hanging on the wall, we have our calendar in the kitchen.  Write all the families activities, so you know which days are free.

3)   Have a list of places you would like to visit, both near and far, so that on the spur of the moment you can go.

4)    Have one place for all your travel items. We have ours in our storage room.  We bought inexpensive plastic drawers, and we have travel games, small backpacks, travel size toiletries, etc.

5)    Have all of your camping items in a central locations.

6)    We have a toiletry bag that is always ready to go.  When we return from a trip, we do an inventory and immediately organize it for the next trip.

7)    Have a separate travel account at your bank.  One way we save for upcoming adventures, is we got rid of cable TV.  It was costing us almost $100.00 per month. We now put that savings into travel.

8)     Borrow a travel item before you buy it, especially if you aren’t sure you will ever use it again.  We ran into a family this summer in Yellowstone National Park. They were on a cross-country camping trip.  The mom told us they had been planning the trip for 2 years and to save money they borrowed all the equipment.  However, they had never used any of the equipment before, nor had they taken a few “practice” trips.  They didn’t know how to start a fire.  They didn’t know how to set-up the tent properly, so when a storm rolled through, it blew the tent over, and their sleeping bags got wet.  They didn’t check the average temperatures for Yellowstone in July, so didn’t bring warm clothing and ended up having to buy sweatshirts in Yellowstone.  An awesome souvenir but a great way to break a trip’s budget.

9)      Plan and expect that things will not go as planned.  Flat tires, dead batteries, even being left by a cruise ship due to a problem with flights.  These are all things that you have to take in stride and realize that they are all part of the adventure.

Some things that make travel a bit more difficult to organize:

1)         Kids activities and school schedules.  When we had kids at home, we always made sure that we got the up-coming vacation schedule and planned all our adventures around their fall break, Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, etc…very rarely were we ever home for a spring break.    All of the kids were involved in sports, theater, and student government. We would talk to their teachers if we were going to be gone.  We went to the 2002 SLC Olympics for 9 days.  All their teachers had them do reports on the experience as it related to the class work.  Our daughter, for her HS Economics class wrote about the $5 hotdogs, and how it related to supply and demand.

2)      Pets…we had black labs and then we had a Puggle.  Travel was hard on them, as we had to kennel them, or find someone to take care of them, or take them with us, which presents a whole different set of issues.  As much as we enjoyed our dogs, we realized that our life-style was not conducive to having a pet.  So we have not obtained any new pets.

3)      Time…again let me say that we are lucky that we are able to adjust our schedule.  We might work 16 hour days for 6 weeks, then take 2 weeks off.  If a construction project is delayed, then we might leave for 4 days.  You need to realistically look at your own time schedule and decide if and when you can take off.  Some of the best travel deals are found at the last minute

4)      Space for travel items…trying sharing with someone else.  You buy the luggage and store it.  They buy the sleeping bags and tent and store it.

5)      My kids are too young to travel… We took our oldest daughter on her first travel vacation when she was 3 months old.  We borrowed a pick-up, loaded up an old tent, threw in her bassinet, and headed to California for a wedding, camping our way down and back.  The younger you start traveling with kids, the more comfortable you all will be. We traveled with kids before technology such as DVDs in cars.  So we sang silly songs, read books about the places we going to visit, and played car games, such as license plate bingo.

Okay we can go on and on…and we will talk about more organizing in future blogs, but for now enjoy a few pictures of our recent adventures in August. We had a busy month, but summer goes by so fast, that we didn’t want to miss a minute of it!!




Rain can’t ruin a good time, it only adds to the memories


Our grandson, Wyatt, loved the water adventures at Aquatica in Orlando, Florida


Meeting Bert and Ernie was exciting for everyone!!!!



There really is nothing that compares to the Iowa State Fair.  Whenever we are in Iowa in August, we always try to go.




We found the California/Mormon/Pony Express trail marker heading toward East Canyon in the mountains above Salt Lake City



St.Louis Arch, the ride up is half the excitement, you are in a large egg-shaped pod



Golden Spike National Monument:  In the afternoons, they put the steam engines up away.   You get to see the steam and hear the whistles and the clackity, clack of the train wheels.



Closer to home, kayaking up Bear Creek outlet on Palisades Reservoir in Idaho

So do it now, plan that trip.  It doesn’t have to be big, maybe a day drive to see the fall colors.  Take advantage of today, because you can’t control tomorrow.





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