How To Survive Vacationing With Your Family
Much like how traveling with your family can be troublesome, vacationing with them can be just as bad. Not to say family time is terrible, but bringing so many people together in cramped areas means you're bound to be at your wit's end. It's obvious to say 'keep your cool,' 'be agreeable,' and 'don't yell,' but let's face it, when you're around family, you're not afraid to lose your cool because they'll still love you (for the most part, anyway).
My family gathers every summer in the thumb of Michigan, squeezing fourteen of us cousins, Aunts, and Uncles into one cabin. Oh, and one bathroom. So we know a thing or two about having to get along, and even then, sometimes it's not easy. So to survive vacationing with your annoying, crazy but awesome and loveable family, follow these tips.
Get in, get out. Of the bathroom that is. Waiting to use the restroom can seem like torture when nature strikes. Set a time limit so that no one is able to finish reading an entire novel while on the toilet, and spread out showers (and keep them short) so you're not running out of hot water after two people with 12 more to go. Also, please be kind and spray behind, because no one wants to smell you or be the one to use the bathroom after you stink it up.
Respect the sleepers. Whether they're the early to bed or the late to rise. No one likes being woken up because the kids want to giggle all night or the adults want to start vacuuming in the morning. Create quiet hours that would fit your family best. My family's would be 11PM to 9AM before yelling is allowed. (Remember, a happy sleeper won't be cranky, and no one likes a cranky person.)
Don't toss your shoes off. Place them in a neat line or off to the side, so as long as they're out of the way of being tripped over in front of the door. It makes it easier to find your shoes for when you want to put them on, because otherwise they could be tossed in a pile and possibly buried till you get home to unpack.
Keep your area clean. When you squeeze five girls into one bedroom, you can't expect to have much space for walking with everyone's luggage, clothes, blankets, etc. Keep your items together and out of the way so no one trips over them in the middle of the night - and so that you don't end up leaving something behind. Nothing would suck more than forgetting all your CD's for your ride home. (How would you be able to tune anyone out?!)
Take turns cooking dinner. Obviously with one kitchen not everyone can cook, so create a schedule for when a certain family has the cooking (and cleaning) duties for the entire family. That way, no one gets stuck in the kitchen night after night, and is able to enjoy vacation (the way it's supposed to be!).
Help out. I know it's your dad who wants the Jet Ski jackets, blanket for spreading out, towels, books, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc. down at the beach, but give the man a hand and just help carry it. And I know it's not your family's day for dinner, but when you aunt asks you to set the table, comply. It will save you from having to hear people complain, or complain yourself.
If something in the refrigerator says 'do not eat - for meal,' don't eat it! Don't be that person who ruins a meal because you ate something essential to it because you couldn't find anything else to eat - especially when there's fruit snacks, chips, fruit, and pretzels galore.
Forgive. Fights happen, or people do things that unintentionally upset you, or little things that normally wouldn't bug you do. You can hold a grudge all you want, but it will be YOU missing out. So let bygones be bygones and get to the loving part by forgiving and moving on. You'll thank yourself for letting things go (and not making vacation miserable.)
Cherish. Family time, especially for extended times, can be difficult to arrange as people get older and have to start college or get jobs. Cherish spending it with them because you only have one family!
Brianna Krueger is the Editor for the Wandering Educators Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
All photos courtesy and copyright Brianna Krueger