Taking a 34 day road trip successfully requires preparation that started long before we left. Fortunately, I love to plan travel and spent a great deal of time researching, scheduling and arranging so we could go.
Most of my research was spent deciding which 55 plus (otherwise known as active adult) communities we would visit during the Florida portion of our trip.
I’ve been reading about and looking at this type of housing for a while and was a subscriber of a few websites on this topic to help me in my education. I highly recommend these three:
By the time it came down to planning where we’d go, I had a list of features I wanted and communities that seemed to meet them with homes in our price range.
The most difficult task was scheduling it all. We had to schedule visits to five different cities and four states to visit family as well as figure out when we’d be where to tour the communities.
I know I wanted to schedule stay and plays at a few communities if possible and had to figure that into the schedule. I can’t tell you how many times I edited a spreadsheet detailing where we’d start and end each day. This continued even after we were on the road as plans changed.
The spreadsheet also included the miles between the starting point and ending point, hotel, confirmation number, and any stops or plans. I had to consider what hotels were available in a town before settling on it as a starting point in addition to the total miles for the day. After roughing out the trip, I confirmed dates with family and started working on the Florida portion.
I found realtors for each community we wanted to tour via 55places.com. I sent them the list of communities I wanted to visit and they sent me back the list of agents with their contact details. They also sent the realtors my info so I was quickly deluged with calls.
This gave me the information that only three communities we were interested in did stay and plays primarily due to covid. As far as I know Del Webb still isn’t back to them yet. After nailing down the stay and play dates I could schedule the rest of the communities.
Having the schedule set meant we could make the arrangements allowing us to leave home for over a month. These included: mail hold, pet care, hotel reservations and car maintenance.
The most annoying task was the mail hold. The Postal Service will only hold mail for 30 days. We asked a neighbor to pick up our mail for the first few days before the mail hold kicked in.
We arranged for someone to come into our home and take care of our cat’s needs every other day. Charger, our dog, spent a month with his favorite pet sitter who did give us a discount. We spent more in pet sitting than gas!
I had figured out most of the hotels when planning the stops but still needed to reserve them. Each stop required research into what hotels were available, prices, etc. before reserving.
The easiest task was getting the car ready to go with fresh tires and an oil change. In retrospect we should have had the air conditioning system checked but you’ll hear more about that later.
Of course we had to pack and secure the home, but we do that for every trip. Finally the day to set off on our adventure came and off we go!