When you’re young, you find yourself in the catch-22 of wanting to get away but not having any money to do it. When you’re in your twenties, you unfortunately find yourself in that exact same catch-22.
Solution? The family vacation.
The family vacation has its positives and negatives:
PRO: mom and dad are footing (at least half of) the bill on a vacation that you couldn’t otherwise afford!
CON: spending a week of constant alone time with your family makes you want to stab yourself in the eyeball with the free pen they leave you on the hotel room nightstand (is that why they give you those pens?!).
PRO: reconnecting with siblings and parents and whoever else is coming along!
CON: reconnecting with siblings and parents and whoever else is coming along.
Navigating the family vacation can be difficult. Everyone suddenly gets even more on edge than they usually are. Screaming matches break out frequently. Dad disappears for long periods of time. But somewhere around dinnertime, everyone starts to chill out. We carb load. We eat ice cream. We are zen.
Take a look at the 5 things that happen on family vacations below. Learn from my mistakes—know before you go.
1. “Vacation Mom” is a thing. Take advantage of it.
On vacation, you learn very quickly that the family you have on vacation is very different from the family you see in everyday life. “Everyday Life Mom” carefully reminds you that you probably shouldn’t be eating that muffin. “Vacation Mom” tells you not to worry about calories—you’re on vacation!
Take advantage of “Vacation Mom.” When she offers to buy you new vacation clothes, indulge her (but do not exploit her kindness, dick). When she wants to hang out by the pool and sip on sugary mocktails, join her. After all, “Vacation Mom” is the cool mom, but eventually that will end. “Vacation Mom” is fleeting. She will go back to “Everyday Life Mom,” and she will make gentle jabs at your weight again.
2. Dad will get wasted whenever possible.
You might be saying to yourself, “Not my dad. My dad doesn’t drink.”
Trust me. He does. If he doesn’t drink in front of you, he sure as hell drinks behind your back. On vacation, this will all come out. He will slip away during the day and you will wonder where he went.
He went to the bar. He is dayloading
Don’t bother him about it. This is his vacation too. He might come home a bit too drunk, but who cares? Dad needs to let off some steam—he’s been spending entirely too much time with Mom.
3. Where’s the buffet?
If you’re on a family vacation, chances are you will stuff your face until your stomach protrudes and you curse yourself for being such a gluttonous fool. This is will happen nightly.
This is especially true on cruises.
4. You will fight. A lot.
And the fights will be epic. They usually occur during the actual time of travel. Flying? Prepare yourself to argue about what time you all should be in the airport. Driving? GOOD FUCKING LUCK.
5. But at some point, you will actually start to get along with each other.
Maybe not for the trip’s entirety, but there will be at least one moment of familial bliss—I promise. Mom will stop nagging, dad will sober up and actually want to hang out with you, and your brother will lay off Tinder. You’ll actually enjoy one another’s company. And for a split second, you’ll actually believe that this feeling will carry over into the real world.
It won’t. But it’s nice to dream.