Family Vacations: How to Make Realistic Goals

Usually when we travel together everything runs like a well oiled machine.

If you oiled a 1950’s tractor with urine. We are a very slow moving machine that smells like pee, is what I’m trying to say.

It is a longstanding tradition in my family to create stressful family vacations. My grandpa used to pile us all in a motorhome so that he and my dad could argue over traffic laws for five days straight. I have fond memories of driving down the L.A. freeway in a giant monstrosity of a bus, while people sped by flipping us the bird.

I remember thinking, why aren’t the adults having more fun? 

NOW I KNOW WHY. Having fun comes at a cost. It comes at the cost of stress-related ulcers for the adults.

I was eleven, and I thought it was mostly hilarious to watch the adults simultaneously combust into flames, and also I thought Disney was awesome. So hashtag worthit??

I think my grandpa and dad would genuinely say so.

Vacation can take out the weak my friends, we must be prepared for this. First thing to do? Make realistic goals.

1. Create one special memory a day:

People still eat, stub their toes, poop, and get grumpy on vacation…and that doesn’t even include the kids.

There are the idyllic moments when everyone is playing together harmoniously. Other moments are pulling a slippery three-year-old out of the pool while she’s screaming.

There is going to be whole lot of normal surrounding a sliver of magical.

2. Family photos with everyone present.

I am D.O.N.E. trying to achieve photos where everyone is smiling like we are a Costco ad for vacations. We are embracing backwards shirts and crappitudes, because that is what we have to work with. I am happy if all people are present for the photo, even if that means one kid is laying on the ground crying because they want french fries.

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3. Arguing with your spouse more than normal.

We love each other, we really do, but we do not love how the other packs the suitcase OR how they define “watching the kids at the beach”.

image1.jpegMe: Am I watching the kids or are you? Him: I am.

I chalk this up to being wired differently, even though I KNOW FOR SURE MY WAY IS BETTER.

4. Your family will annoy you.

We get away so that we can spend 24 hours a day with the people we love the most, except that turns out to be a lot of time.

I did not realize how much our kids bickered or ate before this. I am pretty sure getting snacks and saying “stop arguing,” is 85% of what we have done on this trip.

5. If your trip is long enough, someone might ask to go live with grandma.

This is hypothetical of course, but if hypothetically this did happen, this is definitely hypothetically when I knew the trip was a big success.

6. Things will not go like you planned.

Period. End of story. Write down your travel dreams on some pretty stationary and then light them all on fire.

The good news is, sometimes the best times come out of the unexpected. My goal this trip is to let go of control as much as possible. I can plan and prepare as much as I want, but at some point it’s best to let go and ride the wave.

8. You will get stressed. 

If you want to know what panic looks like, walk through an airport. I recently saw a dad yelling, running, and nearly crying. He was toting a Disney backpack and two pigtailed girls through LAX.

I feel like we don’t REALLY know what we are made of until we go through a TSA checkpoint with children. I wanted to high five this man, and say hey, we know you aren’t like this at home. Keep up the good fight my friend.

7. Remember why you’re doing it.

Why am I doing it? I’m doing it for the same reason that my grandpa and my dad did it. I’m doing it for the shared adventure and experience. I’m doing it to expand my kids’ minds and to spark their imaginations. I’m doing it to give them a gift that lasts forever. I’m doing it to have stories that make us laugh so hard we cry.

Honestly? Some of the best times are the ones when things went “wrong”, and some of the best memories are when the unexpected happened.

Good luck on your summer vacays my friends…




We are currently traveling the world with our four kids and our best friends. Special thanks to Sunwing Resort in Kamala Beach, Thailand for sponsoring a week of our trip. There is nothing like a kid-friendly place to stay to make family trips more doable and fun.

Photo by @pofffamilytravels

For more like this you can follow me here, on Facebook, and on Instagram. So far we have traveled to the Cook Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam…and we just arrived in Italy!

10 responses to “Family Vacations: How to Make Realistic Goals”

  1. Our family vacation is coming up and I am already dreading the annual ‘the family will annoy you’ part. Perfectly summed up!

  2. This is a wonderful, and perfectly accurate article. Thank you.

  3. haha, yes, thinking of you!!

  4. I’m leaving to New York City with my two kids next week and they’ve been arguing a lot lately. So I’ll be saying “Stop arguing” a hundred times before this is all over, haha. I needed to read this immediately to start preparing to accept the inevitable crappy moments and to find the memories behind the madness. It’s going to be great I know it, but this definitely was an awesome reminder.

  5. Awe so good to hear! And good luck!!

  6. May I make a post suggestion? Maybe you could talk about the ways the methods that you use to get sponsors? I’m new to your blog, so I don’t know if you’ve written about it already. If so, I’d love to know the title. I have tons of ideas and I’d love to have a sponsor for them.

  7. Jessica Blinkey Avatar
    Jessica Blinkey

    Amen and pass the wine! We just experienced all of this in our family trip. The ugly moments are what makes us, stay strong my friend. You are providing your kids with beautiful memories and amazing experiences!

  8. You’ve got me laughing just thinking about what my August will look like. 🙂

  9. Currently on vacation now with our 4 and 6 year old daughters who have been arguing with each other non-stop, complaining and whining too and crying over the tiniest things… … … but yes… Awesome article. It’s great to realize that everyone goes through this.

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