A Family Trip Is Not A Vacation

Woman lying on beach covering her face: why a family trip is not a vacationPlease don’t ask me how my vacation was – trust me, you won’t like my answer. But you will ask me anyway, and I will respond.

“It was NOT a vacation.”

And then you’ll give me that look – that stunned look where you look at me like I’m an asshole. But let me explain.


Photo of hotel word with text "46% of travelers admit that stress actually prevents them from enjoying the vacation itself."

If there is one thing I’ve come to realize over the past couple of years, it’s that there is a difference  between a vacation and a family trip. A big difference, a huge difference, a chasm of a difference.

I know, I sound like a brat, in fact, I likely sound rude, but it’s true.

Yes, there are similarities – the time off of work, the traveling, the sleeping in a bed other than your own, the eating out, the splurges both alcoholic and non…but that’s where it ends.

In my book, a vacation includes relaxing; a trip with 16 people, all of whom are family, is anything but relaxing.

First, the kids; anytime they are along, it’s simply parenting…with different scenery and less structure (or sleep). Oh, and don’t forget, now it’s being done with an audience.

Then there is my hubby, this time reunited with his siblings; torn between being the kid he was with them and the adult he is with me.

Next, the family; those dynamics that you all grew up with didn’t go away.

And again, the family, the current dynamics only exaggerated when you’re all together.

Add to that the lack of sleep, sharing a room with your kids, no exercise, a food coma and a hangover – nothing relaxing there!

Not that I’m not thankful for family trips, I am. Family trips help the cousins grow closer, the siblings to get to know your spouse, stories by get told and retold, memories get made, memories get changed, history is revealed, plans are made…

And it’s exhausting.

And stressful.

And not my definition of a vacation.

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