Family Vacation: A Guide to Enjoying the Poeple that You are Forced to Love

This afternoon I got in the car and drove to the beach for the weekend. I was greeted by my slightly more sober sister and checked into the hotel before heading to the bar to meet my other sister and my mother, who were already knee deep in stolen cups. 

Everyone’s family does it differently, but there are a few universal truths to extended family time:

  1. At some point there will be a fight.
  2. Someone is going to drink too much, it will be ugly and 
  3. You will piss your mom off, for reasons other than 1 or 2
  4. You will burn yourself to a crisp while everyone else tans (ok, this may be unique to me) 

Family vacation can still be a blast. You may need a few tricks to get the fun back on track when tempers flare, you can find a few ideas for amusing yourself and your family below.

Enjoy some music

When things get heated or if it rains at the beach take advantage of the basic cable your vacation rental provides to you, put on some music and crank up the volume.

Now your choice of music sets the mood for the rest of the trip. Typically, no one will be able to agree on a genre, do everyone a favor and put on Soundscapes, or if you must, easy listening. Everyone will enjoy this extra loud relaxation.

Set the thermostat

Summers can be beastly hot where I live, and spending time at the beach, in direct sunlight, as my family does, makes the AC an essential part of vacation. 

Since you aren’t directly paying the electric bill, turn that sucker down, way down, like a frozen tundra. This not only serves to cool you off on a hot day, it will force the entire family to collectively bitch about how freaking cold it is. This is a sure fire way to make sure the entire group gets brand new souvenir sweatshirts. 

A family that bitches together looks really damn good in matching sweatshirts. 

Share a meal

Just because you all grew up eating the same food, at the same table but that means nothing now. You know that there will always be one person who’s food allergies or special diet will get int the way of an otherwise pleasant meal.

It’s a good family meal if everyone hates it equally. Shoot for that. Then drink to get through it, but not enough to make you share your thoughts.

Compare injuries 

If your family is half as competitive as mine, this comes as second nature. If not it goes like this:

  • Sunburn beats bruises 
  • Hives beat bruises 
  • Hives beat sunburn*
  • Sun blisters beat shoe blisters 
  • Torn blisters beat ingrown toenails 
  • Hospital visits trump all

People watch 

It’s best to be judgemental about strangers. And the beach is ripe with people to judge.

I mean did you see that bitch in the peach bathing suit? She should not be doing that, not in public, not with witnesses. Where can I buy it?

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