The 7 Certainties of Summer Vacation

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
3 min readJul 19, 2019

Plans and budgets only take you so far. No matter what you do or where you go, these seven things I know for sure:

1. You Will Forget Something

Stop making lists. Accept that I speak the truth. My husband had driven two hours in the direction of Canada to meet his fishing buddies before he realized he had forgotten his passport. I was halfway to Michigan when I startled the children in a spontaneous burst of expletives. I had forgotten my medication. After a flurry of preparations, loading up the car, and getting on the road, the car quiets down and then that one missing item will pop into your head. Or you’ll swear you left the coffee pot on.

2. Your Mood Won’t Match Your Game Plan

Road trip entertainment is important. I especially enjoy a good audiobook when I’m driving. But once everyone is in the car, no one will be in the mood for whatever audiobook you chose nor will they want to listen to the mixed CD marked “road trip” that you burned specifically for the drive. “Can I just listen to my music, mom?”


Any group activities or games you hoped to play, dissolve into NPR for Mom and earbuds for the teen. The toddler will play games on your phone where the audiobook is stored.

3. Pit Stops

If you can hold it, the toddler will overflow his diaper, soaking his clothes and the car seat. When you must stop to pee, the toddler will be dry and sleeping.

4. Your Plants Will Die

The house sitter is no gardener. She is there to feed the dogs and cats, not water your fence-post hanging baskets. Soak the plants before you leave and pray for rain. I’m not picking on anyone in particular (promise). My potted herbs and hanging baskets have died in the presence of every house sitter I’ve ever had — my own teenagers included.

5. The Bank Will Cut You Off

You’ll be standing in flip flops eating M&M’s at the checkout counter when the bank thinks you’re being robbed and freeze your accounts. They’re like a bad boyfriend who insists you call them every time you make plans without them. If someone ever does rob…



Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Bonnie is an award-winning syndicated columnist and opinion editor for The Louisville Courier Journal @WriterBonnie