The Ups And Downs Of Family Vacations


The dates are set, the flight is arranged, and the hotel is booked. Most of all, you’re excited. It’s one of the few weeks of the year when you can relax and not have to worry about anything. You only need to make it through a few more meetings, pull a couple of more late nights, and you’re on your way to rejuvenation. That’s how the mind works when you’re in the thick of it. However, as soon as you finish typing your “Out of Office Response” to direct any matters requiring immediate attention to your colleague or supervisor, an uneasy feeling hits you. You realize that you’re going to need a vacation after your family trip. It’ll start late the night before you leave or early that morning.


Your suitcase weighs 58 pounds. You’re not worried about lifting it (you’re strong enough or know someone will help you). You’re worried that the airline will charge extra for being eight pounds over. You can take out a pair of shoes, remove clothes that you may not use, or take a shot that you’ll meet the sweetest person behind the check-in counter and it will be all right. Instead, the peanut gallery has to chime in.

Family Member 1: Try and get it down to 55 pounds. We can argue that the scales are off five pounds and make a convincing argument.

Family Member 2: We’re not paying any more money on this trip, especially if we don’t need to. Let’s just move some things from that bag into one of the lighter ones.

Family Member 3: I don’t want you putting anything in my bag!

Family Member 4: You’re not paying for anything. You don’t have the right to say that. Just put the stuff in your bag.


While you’re busy arguing whether you should pack the suntan lotion or just buy it at your final destination (since it will be cheaper than paying the overage charge), your transportation to the airport arrives.

Family Member 1: Oh, good. I’m glad the driver is on time.

Family Member 2: Hurry up! We have to leave now. Everyone grab your bags and let’s go.

Family Member 3: I need a few more minutes. I’m having trouble closing my suitcase.

Family Member 4: The driver probably has a tight schedule. Not everything is about you. You should’ve worried about closing your suitcase last night.


Miraculously, your family doesn’t have to pay any overages for the suitcases. Maybe the trip won’t be so bad. Then you see the security line.

Family Member 1: At least we know we’ll be safe.

Family Member 2: How does taking my shoes off make you feel safer? They should just let us board the plane. We don’t look suspicious or anything. This is so ridiculous.

Family Member 3: I’m sure that I’ll have to go to the special screening area. They always pick me.

Family Member 4: Maybe they’ll detain you and not let you travel with us.


Once you’re all through security, you locate the gate and take shifts watching the bags.

Family Member 1: I’ll stay here and watch everything. Can you just get me a turkey sandwich and some Saltines?

Family Member 2: Anything you want! I’m going to do some duty free shopping.

Family Member 3: I’ll come with you. I don’t want to be running around the terminal searching for you when it’s time to board like last time.

Family Member 4: You two can go explore together. I’m staying put until the flight.


You or your travel agent arranged that you would all be sitting in the same row. You find your seats and that’s not the case.

Family Member 1: Can you hand me that bag? I have to take Dramamine now.

Family Member 2: Excuse me, flight attendant. My family is supposed to sit together but we’re not sitting together. What do you mean you can’t do anything about it? This flight isn’t taking off until we’re all in the same row! Thank you for seeing what you can do.

Family Member 3: We’re all adults. One of us will be fine sitting alone. It’s really not that big of a deal.

Family Member 4: I’d rather take my chances with a stranger. I’ll take the seat a few rows back. Please don’t check up on me during the flight.


Family Member 1: I’m fine. I’m going to keep sleeping.

Family Member 2: This movie is so funny though. You should really watch it. It’s making the time go by so quickly. Don’t you want to watch the movie? Watch the movie!

Family Member 3: I’m going to walk up and down the aisle. I read that you’re not supposed to sit for a long time without stretching or you can get a blood clot.

Family Member 4: I made a bad decision. This lady next to me has been playing with her dog the entire flight. If I see her kiss her dog on the mouth one more time I’m going to need a barf bag.


Family Member 1: Hand me that bag, please.

Family Member 2: Oh, no. I’ll get you some Saltines and fan you with this magazine. What can I do for you? Just tell me what I can do and I’ll do it.

Family Member 3: That’s gross. No, I’m not going to hold the barf bag.

Family Member 4: That’s gross. This lady is sexually harassing this dog. I made a bad decision. I should’ve stayed with my family.


Family Member 1: I have to go to the bathroom and vomit some more.

Family Member 2: Oh, poor baby. I’ll get the bags at the carrousel. We’ll meet you back here.

Family Member 3: I need to go to the bathroom and wash my hands after holding the vomit.

Family Member 4: I’ll help with the luggage. Just keep me away from that lady and her dog.


After a short cab ride, you arrive at your hotel. The view is exactly as you pictured. The vacation officially starts now.

Family Member 1: I’m just going to sleep in the room. I’m still not feeling well.

Family Member 2: I’ll stay with you! Oh, you’d rather me go? Okay, well, I have my phone on me if you need me. I’ll bring you back some food or something.

Family Member 3: I want the bed closest to the balcony.

Family Member 4: Good. I want the bed closest to the door in case someone breaks in. This way I’ll be able to escape. No, you can’t have the bed closest to the door now. You already decided.


After exploring the hotel and having a snack, you’re ready to experience the food that’s offered in this region.

Family Member 1: I just want plain grilled chicken or something light.

Family Member 2: The concierge, Steve, told us about this great steakhouse we should try tonight. You can probably just get something bland.

Family Member 3: I don’t eat meat. I don’t want to go there.

Family Member 4: I think it sounds like the place to go if “Steve The Concierge” said so. He’s the expert.


At dinner, you plan for the next day.

Family Member 1: I’m going to see how I feel. I may need a day of just rest.

Family Member 2: We have to eat breakfast before 10 AM. Then there’s a class I want to attend by the pool. Then we can get lunch. After that is bingo. I’ll walk the beach finally and then it’s time for dinner before you know it.

Family Member 3: I’m going to lounge at the beach all day.

Family Member 4: Why do we have to get up so early if we want to eat breakfast? This place is the worst. I want to sleep in.


At some point, a couple of days in, there will be a fight. It happens. There’s always a fight, even if you don’t want to acknowledge it as an official one.

Family Member 1: That’s not the intention of what was said. Don’t take it personally. It was just a bad joke.

Family Member 2: I don’t find it funny that I’m getting made fun of for going to Church on vacation.

Family Member 3: It’s a great thing that you maintain your faith, even on vacation.

Family Member 4: I didn’t really mean anything by it. I just thought it was funny that you got lost for three hours and couldn’t communicate with the taxi drivers to get back here. I guess the Lord can’t help you.


Then you have to get back on good terms and not ruin the vacation for everyone and yourself.

Family Member 1: It’s as old as the War of 1812 at this point. Let it go.

Family Member 2: Okay, but I don’t make fun of any of you for doing the things that you like to do.

Family Member 3: It’s not a big deal. Seriously.

Family Member 4: I’m sorry. Let’s just forget I said anything and I won’t bring it up again. Amen to that. Am I right?


Once all of the tension is gone, each person can do his/her own thing and then meet up later.

Family Member 1: I’m going to play some golf tomorrow if any of you care to join me.

Family Member 2: I’m going to sit by the beach and do nothing.

Family Member 3: I’ll hang out at the beach, too.

Family Member 4: I’d love to play golf. That sounds awesome.


Once you’ve figured out the feel of your vacation spot and know all of the ins and outs, it’s then time for you to face reality and head back home.

Family Member 1: I really don’t want to go on another plane. Can’t we just stay here a few more days?

Family Member 2: I love flying! It’s so fascinating to me. It’s too bad you get sick. I had such a wonderful time here, though.

Family Member 3: I want to stay at the beach forever.

Family Member 4: This has been fun and all, but I’m ready to go home.

As soon as you land on Sunday, you anticipate the hundreds of e-mails awaiting your reply when you return to work. Then Monday comes. The day after vacation is always the worst day at work, short of receiving a demotion or getting fired. But at some point while you’re sitting at your desk, you reminisce about your trip and become excited about your next scheduled vacation, with or without your family.