Whenever Sharon and I travel I make an Excel file for our itinerary. In fact, I enjoy thinking about traveling so much I make up such files for imaginary trips. Okay, I’m crazy—so sue me.
Anyway, I have a column listing points along the way, another column for distances between points, another for cumulative distance for the day and so forth. At the end of each day I use a line to enter motel information, including address, phone and confirmation number. This way, I have a written record of everything I need to know for the trip.
In case you don’t read my Facebook posts, I recently had some work done on my computer which obliterated all my files. Since I used (no longer) a program called Oops! that automatically backs up all files, I didn’t worry about restoring them. What I didn’t know was that Oops! quit backing up on September 4th, and I had no way to restore any files created or changed after that date.
Among other things, I lost some 120 pages of manuscript I’d been working on. I wanted to cry over that loss, but I didn’t think anything else lost was of great consequence.
Then the other day I happened to see my “Vacation” email file, where I keep email confirmations of reservations and such, and I realized I was missing the email for one night of an impending trip. I remembered then that the motel had not sent me a confirmation, but I hadn’t worried about it since I had all that information in my Excel file.
Just to be safe, I decided to pull up the Excel file, and that’s when I discovered it was one of those lost without a backup. What do you do when you have a confirmed motel reservation but you don’t know the name of the motel, or even the town. I knew what part of what state it was in, but it could have been in a number of different towns.
Of course, when you make a reservation, they ask for a credit card number to guarantee it, which suits me fine, since I sometimes don’t arrive at motels until after 6:00 and I don’t want to lose the room. Now I was in the position of having guaranteed to pay for a room I couldn’t find.
No one wants to throw away $80 to $100 on a room not used—especially no one married to my wife. So I spent a semi-frantic hour or so calling all the motels I could find in the general vicinity in question. The more I called, the less semi the frantic became.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. I eventually found the right motel in an obscure suburb outside the city where I thought it was. Whew!
What sort of panic have you run into in planning trips?
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