Family Vacations: The Secret So They Don’t Suck

Family Vacations Secrets So They Don't Suck MomCaveTV

We plan them way in advance, spend too much money on them and look forward to them as if they were some cosmic event.  Vacations are our time to put work aside and bask in the sheer joy of being a family. Can’t you just hear the waves crashing and feel the sunshine on your skin as you are reading this?


Let’s get real, the thought of family vacations are amazing But in practice, they often suck. Big time.Click To Tweet In fact, I am pretty sure the thought of vacation is what gets us through work for half of the year. As if we are anxiously awaiting some moment of peace.

Well, peace there is not – not on my family vacations anyway.

My family and I recently vacationed in Savannah, GA, and Hilton Head, SC. I was really excited because we had never been to either place before. Woohoo – new experiences! So off we went.

We hadn’t even got off the ground yet and the bickering began. It started with who was going to sit in what seat on the plane. For God’s sake, do I have to negotiate everything? Yup.

We made it and Savannah was great. What a quaint and historic place with southern hospitality galore and down-home cooking worth writing home about.  A really lovely town. And then there was the family from the north who was NOT ready for the heat.  While I do love fried food, I didn’t know we would be part of the menu.


“I’m sweating.”

“I need water.”

“How far are we?”

“I have a headache.”

“I need water.”

‘Am I burning?”

“Can we walk in the shade?”

“I need more water.”

People probably spotted the “Moaning Northerners” from a mile away. But we are on vacation – we will brave the heat with a smile – if it KILLS us!!

The one benefit is that with all the walking and the heat, I sweated out every ounce of BBQ and grits. There’s always a bright side.

So, with a lot of water and ice cream, we ultimately had a nice stay and then off to Hilton Head. On our hour drive, the rental car showed that a tire was low.  This is always a treat because these things make me super nervous and my husband acts like everything is fine.  Fine? If it was fine there wouldn’t be red lights and beeping! So more fun ensued. I’m pretty sure the kids would have rather walked in the blaring sun than hear us go on and on about the tire.

But we are on vacation – It will all be fine.  Right?!

In the end, we had to continually put air in the tire but we made it. Phew.

In Hilton Head, the hotel we ended up booking was amazing with its 3 pools, ocean views, and a very nice room – Ah paradise! ( Now THIS is what vacation is all about! It also had a great balcony. THAT was going to be my place!

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The view from our balcony

We all walked out onto the balcony in awe. We took a few pictures and then the screams began!  There were 3 or 4 wasps that were clearly not as happy as we were.  In we went!

After a few minutes, I didn’t see any more wasps, so I walked back out and they were back.  So I explored and found a nest.  I called down to the front desk and they were going to send someone up to take care of it while we went to the beach. Amazing –  I can sit on my balcony of bliss later.

Very long story short, they never came. I asked at least 2-3 times and nothing.  My youngest daughter who has never been stung was freaking out. This resulted in the soon to be infamous “Crazy lady from Room 502” coming out.  I called and was not happy. Really? The ONE place that I could get away was being inhabited by wasps who clearly had squatter’s rights. Whatever!

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Relaxed, Before the “Crazy Lady of 502” Emerged!

Hilton Head was beautiful though. The ocean was calm, the pools were fun. It was still super hot but at least we had water to mask it.

After a long day, we went back to the room and it was really warm.  The AC wasn’t working properly. It was so hot the sweat was dripping in places that sweat just should not be.  We couldn’t even open the darn balcony doors because of the wasps.  So the Crazy Lady from Room 502 had to call down AGAIN. After the wasp incident, I am pretty sure we were somehow flagged as trouble because the reception on the phone was pretty cool. (Wish I had brought my The Bug Bite Thing!)

They sent someone up and we were sure that he opened the AC unit and just put it back together to appease me because it wasn’t much better.

I was not going to let this affect our vacation! Nope – we are here to have fun.

The next day we decided to play miniature golf.  We should have known something was up when there were very few people. It was so hot that we played as quickly as we possibly could. We gave the expression, “hot and bothered” a whole new meaning. The joy!

At that moment if I could have clicked my heels three times and gone home, I would have.

While you may think that I am painting a grim picture of our vacation, I am for a reason. You see this is actually all normal. Vacations bring out the best and worst in people. Let’s face it, it’s not natural to take 4 people who are used to doing their own thing and cage them up in one room and expect to force fun on them. It just won’t work.  And the fact that we put so much emphasis on packing a year’s worth of family fun into one week, is a teeny weenie bit absurd.

Did we have a nice vacation? Yes.  We actually had a great time. I think the key is to lower our expectations of vacation and try not to make it perfect. That way when the bickering starts or the AC breaks or you are attacked by wasps, instead of saying, “But we are on vacation!” we can just say “Now THIS is my family – just like home!”

Happy vacationing! And thumbs up if you’re looking forward to the first day of school.

Tell us about your family vacation tips and disasters!

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