Travelling Prepared

Since the business has become our full-time gig, I had assumed we would be home-bound for years, or at least until we had an employee we could trust with the keys. In other words, years. However, several months ago my wife suggested we get a trailer, load it up with inventory, and go wherever. We mulled it over for a while, and finally for Memorial Day we went on the first Advice and Beans Road Trip. We didn’t buy a trailer for this adventure, but we did take the SurvivalVan, my wife’s Quest, which held enough inventory for a week and food and water for longer than that.

This time we didn’t go very far, to a lake house that a friend of ours owns about 3 hours away. (Well, we never saw the lake, so we could call it ‘the woods house’). We went over Memorial Day weekend and had a great time.

What I found is that my entire thought process around travel has changed. It used to be in my twenties and thirties I would throw a gym bag in the back of the car with a couple changes of clothes, a toothbrush and some Rush CD’s and I was off to wherever. While I don’t really stress about it today, I do put a lot more thought into traveling than I used to.

I am sure these concepts won’t be new to many people, but I prep for travel just like I prep at home. Even before considering what to take with us in order to conduct business on the road, I made sure to check off the 5 basics on the list:

1- Water
2- Food
3- Shelter
4- Fire
5- Light

While the 72-hour kits that we keep in our cars have all of those, when traveling out of our regular sphere of influence I feel the need to be a little extra prepared.

We actually overstocked our food; we had enough to feed 6 people and the 2 dogs for a week. We only brought about half that, but picked up a bunch more at the local Wal-mart and took a great deal home with us. For water, we brought a case of bottled water as well as our Nalgene’s.  For shelter, we had our REI Quarterdome Tent and several blankets and sleeping bags.  Plus, in a pinch the van is plenty good shelter.  In TN during late May, its likely we wouldn’t need anything but a pair of shorts, so that was likely overkill. I always carry a lighter and a fire-steel with me, but I added a couple more Bic’s just in case.   For light we brought our big Maglite and my wife’s headlamp, but I am mad at myself that I forgot our propane lantern, which would have been great on the porch.  It also goes to show that what you forget is what you’ll need:  the lights from the driveway to the house were all burnt out, so having the lantern would have been perfect.  I didn’t realize but dogs don’t like peeing when they can’t see, so I had to wander around in the dark with our 3-lb and 8-lb girly-dogs.

For extras, we had jumper cables, jack and spare, and a small medical kit, as well as a month’s worth of any medications we regularly take. I sometimes hesitate to mention this, but I think its important: we also carried a pretty good amount of cash. We use our debit card and online payments for pretty much everything nowadays, but in the past I’ve been in some situations where it was the only way to pay for something, such as during a power outage or if the businesses phone lines were down.  I think everyone should always have a couple hundred dollars hidden on when they are traveling, and even when they are not.  We regularly buy items off of Craigslist or at yard sales at big discounts, but 99.9% of the time you must have cash.

So overall the trip was pretty minor as these things go, but it felt good knowing that if we got lost, broke down, or something happened while we were actually there, we had enough to survive a week pretty easily, and more if we rationed.

Prior to leaving, I also checked that we had our licenses, insurance cards (both car and health), and let our family know where we were going and when we were due back.

I think we’ve decided that we will get a pull-behind trailer for the business inventory, so if anyone has any recommendations please let me know. It’s nice to think that we’ll get to leave the house before the next Winter Olympics rolls around.  Our next adventure will be a full-blown road trip to New England to see our families. Probably 10 days gone; I haven’t done the math on how many cubic feet of stuff we’d need to take, but its significant.

I still think there are probably a lot of things I missed, as I tend to be a homebody; drop me an email at admin@adviceandbeans.com with any tips you have for when you travel, or anything that I forgot.

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