Family Vacation Survival Guide

Photo by Philippe Murray-Pietsch on Unsplash

Photo by Philippe Murray-Pietsch on Unsplash

Summer is officially upon us, and with it comes epic vacation plans sure to generate tales of your family’s (mis)adventures for years to come. After copious amounts of research, careful planning, budgeting, and plenty of Facebook polls and Pinterest boards, you have thoughtfully and passionately created The Best Trip Ever like the vacation goddess you are. From gas stations with the best ice and cleanest stalls to fast food restaurants that cater to your kid’s food allergies, you have devoted hours of your life to creating a fantastic experience for your family.  

However, in your efforts to execute The Best Trip Ever, you might have overlooked some of the less obvious but still vitally important things. It’s okay, though. We have you covered. 

1. Don’t Forget A Corkscrew/Wine Key Combo. 

Do you know what makes a long night stuck in a dark motel room watching Netflix on the bathroom floor while your children sleep on cots and beds unbearable? Bottled adult beverages and no tool to open them. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the key to your nighttime vacation reward.  Everyone knows that those exorbitantly priced minibars are one of the most convenient paths to nighttime fun.

2. Pack A Secret Snack Stash. 

The level of sad you will feel if you have to sip your motel bathroom wine with nothing but goldfish crackers and Lara bars to eat will actually qualify as despair. To avoid this predicament, be sure to pack those fancy wafer-thin crackers, $6 cheese from the nice grocery store, and single origin, fair-trade Ecuadorian chocolate. That will put a smile on your face while you binge watch the second season of Handmaid’s Tale.

3. Use All Of The Technology And Feel No Shame. 

After hour one, you can break out the iPads and other technology devices with a clean conscience. You have proven your bold and unwavering commitment to a low-tech vacation experience, and you deserve a reward. That reward will take the form of handheld computers which will make the rest of your trip bearable.

4. Create A Carefully Curated Soundtrack.

Road trips are an excellent time to introduce your children to the best music. Think less Daniel Tiger and more Beatbugs. Trolls soundtrack over Elmo’s World. Throw in some Janis Joplin and Radiohead while you're at it. Don’t forget that you control the sounds coming out of the speakers, even if there are protests from the back seat. 


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5. There Will Be Blood — Be Prepared. 

If you are traveling with children, an injury is inevitable. Make sure to stock your first aid kit with all of the essentials like bandages, gauze, alcohol swabs, anti-itch and antibiotic ointments, and aloe vera for the sunburns that happen in spite of your fastidious sunscreen application. Grab a handful of maxi pads while you’re at it. Even if nobody starts menstruating, they come in handy for staunching the flow of blood on massive head wounds. And for the love of Disney, don’t forget the Xanax.

6. Hire A Babysitter At Your Destination. 

There are entire agencies that vet babysitters for this very purpose. Go out for an adult night on the town while you entrust your children to the care of a thoroughly vetted stranger. Is this what living on the edge looks like?

7. Stock Up On Earplugs And Sleeping Masks. 

When crouching on the bathroom floor with your plastic cup of rose loses its allure, break out the earplugs and sleeping masks. To be clear, these are for your children. Pop those bad boys in their ears and over their eyes and watch Netflix at a normal volume with your adult beverage and fancy snacks in the comfort of your shared bed. And who knows? Maybe your children will fall into a deep, sensory deprived slumber and sleep until 6:30. 

8. Make Sure You Pack Pee Pads. 

There will come a moment, a terrible, awful, life-altering moment when someone will have to pee urgently. It will happen when you are either taking off or landing in an airplane or stuck in traffic so thick it resembles a parking lot instead of a freeway.  You have one of two options: Pee yourself and/or watch in helpless horror as one of your children or spouse creates a puddle of urine so large that there is no escaping it, or shore up that underwear with a pee pad. Pee pads aren’t only for people who are incontinent — they are for regular folks like us who are just trying to have a little fun with the people we love most in the world.

Now, go forth and enjoy your vacation. You’ve earned it, babe.


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