The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

toby anton Portland waterfall

After 13 years of family travel, I finally figured out the key to having fun (or at least how to put it into words): Expect some rough times.

The point of travel is that the highs can be higher. But, especially with family travel, the lows can also be hilariously lower right? A few things will always go wrong: your flight will be delayed. Or you’ll get a bad headache. Or the weather will be rainy. Or your kids will wake up at 2 a.m. Or you’ll find a hair in your salad. And, honestly, that’s to be expected, right? Travel is still regular life, and tricky stuff isn’t a disaster, it’s just normal.

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

Case in point: This past weekend, the boys and I drove up to Connecticut to visit old friends. We ate chicken sandwiches and played ping pong. We floated on our backs in the pool. We watched Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. We drank cold wine wine from those small Italian glasses. A dozen different times, I thought to myself, “This is what life is all about.”

But, at the same time, not everything was idyllic: the boys argued during the three-hour drive. I got misophonic and told them to be quiet or I would turn-the-car-around-so-help-me-god. The Airbnb had spiders in the bathroom. We lost our basketball in some thorny bushes. The drive home had lots of traffic.

Parts of the trip were annoying, parts were epic. All those things can be true! Travel is still life! People are still people!

Here are a few travel snapshots through the years…

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

Kids yawning through the glorious Laguna Gloria in Austin.

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

Getting a “Plus Four” card during an Uno game in San Diego.

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

Not feeling the beach in San Francisco.

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

Tired of walking in Italy.

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

Hangry in England.

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

Too hot in Florida.

The #1 Trick to Enjoying Family Travel

Heading onto a 10-hour flight.

The other day, my friend Andy recapped a family trip with a sentence that could describe all family travel: “It was bad and then it was great.”

Plus, two legendary posts that always make me laugh:
* Vacation or Trip? A Helpful Guide for Parents
* Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties In Closer Proximity To Ocean

What about you? What hilariously bummery things have happened on trips? Have you ever had a trip that just all-out sucked? That can happen, too! We’re aiming for wholeness, after all.

P.S. An ode to bad family vacations, and the weirdest best part of trips.

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