Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to Survive Family Vacation as an Adult

Family pic in Aruba

Beachin' with my bro in Martha's Vineyard
Every year at Christmas, my stepdad asked the same question: 

"Ok family, so where are we going for vacation this year?"

My brother and I usually shrug and leave it up to them and they pick an awesome place. That's the easy part. The hard part is figuring out how to do vacation (well) with your family as an adult. Who pays? Who picks? Can I share a room with my boo? We haven't gotten it completely right, but I'll let you in on the evolution of my family's vacation do's and don'ts. 

Our first big family getaway was to St. Lucia in 2009. It was an all-expenses paid trip and it was INCREDIBLE. We stayed at a gorgeous villa, went deep sea fishing and rode horses on the beach. Romantic right? Lol! We also drank lots of delicious St. Lucian rum and ran up quite the tab at every meal. This is probably what made my parents go back to the drawing board about our role in this vacation situation.

How do you get your adult kids to choose family vacation over their trips with friends and significant others AND cough up some cash?

It's pretty tough.

After a similar vacation in Aruba, my parents decided that my brother and I would each pay for a meal for the family. Not too bad for soaking up sun and drinking some sex on the beaches! (I was younger and my stomach could handle those back then). I'll be honest that my brother and I both tried to find the most affordable options, but we didn't complain about the new requirement.

The next year was the straw that broke the camel's back. My parents were over their mooching kids. They chose St. Barth's and my parents told us to pay for our own plane tickets and a meal and our drinks. Dayum! That year, I debated on whether or not I would attend. It wasn't because I didn't love my fam. I was also taking an international trip with friends that year and I hadn't accounted for the new family policy changes. I eventually went and had an amazing time. The house we rented was like something out of a music video and we had a lot of fun together. However, after a long discussion, we realized that our time together was more important than a glamorous vacay. To make things work, here are the steps we now take as a family to keep the peace:

1. Decide on a place that is affordable for everyone to fly to.

2. Set expectations in advance of what we are paying for and what the 'rents will cover.

3. All adults pay for a meal for everyone at least once.

4. Adults pay for their own drinks at restaurants.

5. I promise each year to try my best not to roll my eyes when my mom wants to take the perfect family photo in the hot a$$ sun.

Since we've started our family adventures we've also been to Martha's Vineyard and Naples (Florida, not Italy). What I've learned is that it was never about money to my parents. They just wanted us to take some responsibility and that's completely fair. They actually end up not even enforcing some of these rules. Plus, my mom stocks the house with drinks we like and our favorite food. Although I would love to go on another trip to an exclusive island and gallop on horseback along the ocean, I am looking forward to our low-key, affordable lake cabin trip this year. Jet skis are way cooler on lakes anyway :-)

The horse I spoke of. Poor thing!

Action shot at our pool in St. Barth's

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