Summer is here, my friends! It’s time for fun in the sun, creating new ways to entertain the kids since they are out of school (#CanYouSaySummerCamp), and of course, vacations.
Now, if you are anything like OUR family, vacations are not, um, as relaxing as they used to be. With a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old, going anywhere for an hour is sometimes level: mission impossible.
Now, for your reading enjoyment, we present Humorous Vacation Hacks.
1. I want to take my family on a vacation for summer block leave, but between my husband, kids, and myself, we can never agree on a destination. The debates in our household rival the most recent presidential election shenanigans, so I would rather not deal with the hassle. How can we pick a destination that we can all agree on?
Hack: I think the best thing to do in this situation is just wing it. Planning is overrated, right? And that feeling of just throwing things in the car and hitting the open road, top down, hair blowing in the wind, driving just to see where you end up will no doubt make you feel young again. Of course, you might run into a few snags when you arrive at a potential “destination” with no hotel reservations only to realize that due to a national motor cycle rally there are no hotels available within a two hour radius. But hey– not knowing where you are going it sure to be good training for the “hurry up and wait” experience for your next unknown duty station assignment.
2. One of the biggest things I struggle with surrounding vacation is the issue of packing. We have small kids, so I feel like I have to take #AllTheThings just in case. However, my husband thinks I overpack and gets really annoyed with the massive quantities of stuff I want to bring. How do we find a middle ground?
Hack: Oh, dear reader—you are preaching to the choir here. I remember one of our first over-night family “vacays” we took with our daughter… I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff I took along. I made a comment to my husband that this was about as complicated as invading the beach at Normandy on D-Day. He remarked that they actually had less stuff and a much less complicated op-order.
Here’s what I would do: pick an extreme. There doesn’t have to be a “middle ground” with packing. Either pack all the things (I recommend getting a U-Haul so the experience also doubles as PCS training) or almost nothing at all. Because it adds to the adventure! Either you will be battling the random junk that falls out of the car every time you stop for gas or a wonderful team-building family bonding experience will occur when the baby has a diaper blow-out without a Wal-mart in sight. Just think: You could be on your own personal family-version of “Naked and Afraid!” It will undoubtedly be a memorable experience either way.
3. In my head, I have this beautiful picture of what a “family vacation” should look like: Sleeping late, everyone getting along, smooth travels, memories to cherish for a lifetime. But I have kids. And each trip we take as a family, I feel like Michael Scott on the “The Office” when he says, “Every time I try to do something fun or exciting, YOU make it NOT that way.” How can our fun-family vacations actually be FUN when our kids won’t stop bickering, fighting and complaining?
Hack: I personally think this is the easiest one to answer… You have a few options here, depending on the age of your children. If they are still young-ish, you can turn up the radio and ignore them (they aren’t going anywhere, after all… #ThankYouCarseats.) Or, a tip I saw on the internet—each time they whine, fight or complain, you roll down the window and toss a piece of candy out onto the interstate, never to be seen again. (Of course this might not be the best solution should Mr. State Trooper see you doing this and write you a ticket for littering.) One final tip if you have teenagers is to bring an airhorn. Every time they say something negative, let that puppy blow like an 18-wheeler in a tunnel. This would be especially helpful if they are easily embarrassed and you do it in public at every pit stop.
4. Our family actually vacations rather well, but it’s the returning home that I can’t stand. I always try to leave the house in clean condition, but I can’t ever pull it off. Also going back to work and playing catch-up after vacation is so stressful that sometimes I wonder if it is even worth it. What should I do?
Hack: I totally relate to your conundrum. To answer the first part of your question… Once all the family members are in the car ready for vacation departure, unbuckle your seat belt and run back in the house, saying that you “Forgot something.” Using your handy snow shovel that you only need for some duty stations, quickly scoop up all the stuff laying around the house and toss into a black garbage bag. Take it outside to the curb and tell the family you wanted to take the trash out before you left. They will be oblivious.
For the email/work issue: I recommend you set up an auto filter that pushes all your emails that you receive on vacation directly to the trash. Not only are you setting boundaries, but you won’t have anything to catch up on when you get back to work. Sidenote: Although this could get you fired, look at the bright side… then you won’t have to worry about “vacation days” because now EVERYDAY can be “vacation.”
Readers, do YOU have any humorous vacation hacks? Which one is your favorite? Comment below.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go buy an airhorn and NOT pack for family vacation.