You've seen the Vacation movies, you know some of these struggles.

Vacations are supposed to be awesome and relaxing. But if you try to go on vacation with your family, it kind of turns into NOT THAT...

(*Note: These are my own personal observations of family vacations. Maybe yours are peaceful and amazing. But this is what I have experienced.)

The 7 Stages of a Family Vacation:

1. The Idea

The idea is amazing. Someone throws it out in conversation during Thanksgiving or Christmas that "We should all take a family vacation next summer!" And everyone is on board. YES. VACATION. FUN. SUN. RELAXING. LET'S DO IT.

2. The Planning

Someone in the family takes charge and plans this thing.

They will either A. Immediately start planning and expect the money for your shared hotel/condo/air bnb by Easter.

Or B. Wait until the last minute to get everything together and demand your portion of the money YESTERDAY.

3. You're Going to Drive There

You realize how expensive lodgings are for that many people and come to the conclusion that you can't fly to your destination because you don't have that much money budgeted.

You have to drive.

Usually in a car crammed with people and children.

And if you're going to Florida, this clown car of hell will be truckin for over 10 hours with stops every 45 minutes, because people have to pee constantly. Turning your 12 hour drive into a 16 hour drive that no one wanted.

4. The Arrival

You want sleep. The ride was exhausting. The driver of your clown car was blasting music that you hated for the entire trip and you were sitting next to a cousin who kept throwing a fit every 20 minutes because they needed a nap but couldn't, because of said music.

You are emotionally drained. You just want to pass out until tomorrow comes.

NOPE. The family has decided that you are going out to eat and then exploring and shopping afterwards and you are guilt tripped into it.

5. The Youth Conflict

For adults, vacation means you do NOTHING. No work. No worrying. Just laying back and relaxing and enjoying your time away from home and work.

For kids, vacation means THEY MUST BE ENTERTAINED AT ALL TIMES. And also, they don't know what a BUDGET is.

To us, going to Florida means tanning on the beach and lounging by the pool for a week.

For kids, going to Florida means you're going to Disney World and Universal Studios, going on ALL the rides, and having them ask you to buy EVERYTHING, and listening to them complain on day 3 that they're BOOOOOORRRED. And THERE'S NOTHING TO DOOOOOOOOO.

And then you have to deal with that for the remainder of your trip.

6. The Family Members You Didn't Know Where Invited (or Just Invited Themselves)

We've all got an Uncle Eddie.

He and his family will be there.

Potentially in the same car as you.

And you have to deal with them.

For a whole week.

7. Getting Back

You arrive back home more exhausted than when you left for vacation. And it actually feels like you didn't get a vacation at all. But it doesn't matter, because right now you need to go in the bathroom and practice your "Oh my gosh! I had such a great time on vacation!" face, so that people will believe it tomorrow at work.


So the next time you plan a family vacation, make sure you are emotionally and mentally prepared for it.

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