Ahh family holidays. Many of us work away the year looking forward to our chance to escape to the sun for some hard earned r & r. Unfortunately, that's not always how things happen. Throw your family into the mix and it's not just the sun you need protection from. Individually you are sociable, and even pleasant, people. Together, anything from passive aggressive comments to full blown yelling matches can leave you more stressed than you were at home.
Luckily, I learnt a few tricks last month on my family vacation so you can learn from my past mistakes:
1: Great Expectations
I, like most people, hope my holiday will be perfect. I've waited a year for it, and I've survived winter, so the least the holiday can do is be perfect right? Well I've already fallen at the first hurdle. When is anything in life perfect? What you imagine in your head is always a little bit glossier than reality. The fact is there might by flight delays meaning you have to wrestle your little brother to get him to sit still. You might not get up at sunrise and be stuck with the sun lounger next to the bins in the shade. That beautiful beach in the travel agent's might look more like Blackpool beach in the rain. And yes you probably will have to listen to your uncles hilarious story about the time he misplaced his glasses. Get over it.
As soon as you realise all these things are likely to happen, you'll relax and enjoy the good things. Expecting something to be perfect all the time is going to make you miserable a the slightest glitch. Most of my favorite vacation memories are when things have gone wrong. My Dad's disastrous driving in Florida which meant we drove 2 hours past our hotel, the time a bird got through a hole in the bathroom cabinet and surprised my mum when she went to brush her teeth. These things will stay with you longer than any tan, so enjoy them.
2: Organised Fun
When I go away with friends I love waking up and doing whatever we're in the mood for. When I go away with my family, I memorise Trip Advisor. The only way to ensure you get the holiday you want, is if you make the holiday what you want it to be. Be it finding the best places to go at night to sight seeing, use google to your advantage. If you happen to be travelling with a big mix of ages, it will also help you plan in advance for any trips out. No decent food at the water park? At least you know to take some with you. A little planning so you prevent any hangry (hungry + angry fyi) arguments is going to keep the atmosphere fun.
3: Me Time
Have you noticed the big arguments on reality TV shows where contestants are trapped in enclosed spaces with each other, only happen after a couple of days? It's fine being with people for a couple of days, but after a while you need to have a bit of breathing space and do something you enjoy. Taking an afternoon out to relax on the beach with a book or walk round some sights or shops will help break any brewing tension and give you a chance to create the holiday you imagined. It's amazing what doing something you want to do for a change can do to how you think of your Dad's snoring and Nephew's cannon balls.