What exactly do you mean by a traveling post mortem? This is something that is done by almost everyone with ever realizing it. For most people this is done by simply unpacking from a vacation, putting away any souvenirs, and looking over their photos. It’s a great way to remember all of those memories you created and experiences that you have to share for years to come all the while wishing you could be back on vacation. I take my vacation post mortems a little further.
I like to see how many miles we flew, drove, and walked during our adventure. Trip cost get broken down into categories such as hotels, meals, car rental and gas, airfare and luggage, park entrance fees, souvenirs, and any other miscellaneous expenses related to each trip. If I remember to reset the trip information on my GPS I will also record average speed, max speed, hours moving, and hours stopped. I put all of this information into a document for each adventure we take. What is the purpose of keeping track of all this information?
There are a couple of reasons that this information if kept track of. First of all, it’s interesting to see how many miles we travel and how those miles are traveled. Also, it’s always a good idea to make sure costs add up with receipts and whatever method is used to pay for those items. Portions of vacations are paid for at different times which makes keeping track of all those costs a little more challenging. After a few of these adventures I can average out the costs per trip giving me an idea of how much I need to save in order to cover the costs of any upcoming vacations.
This was an idea giving to me from a family member a number of years ago. I didn’t fully appreciate the benefits of doing this at the time and decided it was more work than I wanted to take on after a trip. Once we started traveling our Monopoly National Parks edition, the decision was made to track costs along with some other travel information. So what where some of the stats from this last adventure:
By air: 2,222 miles
By sea: 1,197 miles
By car: 732 miles
By foot: 11 miles
Total Miles: 4,162
Wow! Now that I look at the numbers to think we did all those miles in only 10 days. Let’s take out the air miles and that leaves us with 1960 miles in 10 days. That is 196 miles per day and I know there were days that we did less than 50 miles such as 2 of those days while we flew to Florida and back from Florida. That leaves us with 232 miles per day taking out 100 miles for the two air travel days and dividing 1860 by 8 days. Either way you look at it, it’s about 200 miles per day either by sea, car, or walking. That leaves a lot of things to see each day.
(Please excuse me for a few moments while I go shovel the driveway as we are getting another blizzard.)
O.K. got the first wave of snow cleared from the driveway. Now, where was I? Ohh ya, our Florida trip post mortem. I was recently going through our pictures. We ended up taking over 700 pictures. It certainly would be nice to be back in those locations on this snowy day. That’s an advantage to the digital age in cameras – if you are unsure about taking a certain photo take it. You can always erase it later but you are not likely to have the opportunity to take the exact picture again. I rarely erase a photo. It really doesn’t cost me anything extra to save the picture on a cd or dvd with all of my other pictures. Who knows, I may want that picture again someday or just enjoy viewing it and remembering the experience associated with it.
A post mortem of an adventure helps to solidify the memories created on that adventure and will become more valuable to you as each year passes and you want to recall a detail or two about the many adventures you’ve been on. This will also help in budgeting for future vacations and give you an idea of where you spend the most or least during a trip. If you really need to reduce costs you can see which categories are the highest and work on ways of reducing that category or categories. A thorough trip analysis can also help determine what you could do differently that would make the next adventure more meaningful, enjoyable, and memorable!