Opinion

How to enjoy, or at least survive, a family vacation

With summertime approaching, we can look forward to classes ending, seeing old friends, and the free time before and after our family vacations. In other words, uncomfortable plane rides, small rental cars, and arguments about whose turn it is to watch TV lie ahead. As a family vacation veteran, these are some observations I’ve made.

The first step of going on a family vacation is deciding where to go. Be helpful in this process by making constructive suggestions, such as Baghdad or Mars. Don’t worry, after careful consideration your parents will decide on a place you’ve never heard of, where no people your age live. Not that you’ll be interacting with anyone less than 40 on the trip, anyway.

Packing begins the night before. While your mother yells at you for leaving it for the last minute, remember to pack a 3-to-1 ratio of unnecessary to necessary things. If you have any electronic device that fits in a suitcase, or at the very least in an airplane, pack it. Look in your closet for board games that you’ve never played; pack those as well. I cannot stress this enough: pack every DVD that you own. If you have only enough room for either pants or DVDs, pick DVDs.

Try to keep an even keel throughout the trip. Things will be new at first, so it won’t be so bad. But after the first time you wake up early to catch a tour of the second paper mill ever created in West Virginia, or another equally historic attraction, you’ll have reached the point of no return. I advise you to break off communication with the outside world. If you don’t, you will undoubtedly hear about “the craziest weekend of my life” from one of your friends. They will add, “I can’t believe you missed it.” Also, make sure not to mention anything that could possibly hurt your position in your parents’ eyes. You will be very tempted to make sarcastic comments about your dad’s shortcuts. Remember that by now this is as much a business trip as it is a vacation, and that new car you thought you had coming might be downgraded to the 1969 Volvo B20 Station Wagon that’s been unused in your garage since 1970.

In a few years, the trip will be over. Calendars may say it was only a week, but you’ll know the truth. If your mother’s “quality time” quota has been met, congratulations! If not, one game of scrabble and a made-for-TV movie should do the trick. Determining what constitutes quality time is difficult. My working definition of it, based on empirical observation, is that quality time is time spent with somebody else doing something neither of you enjoy nor would do otherwise.

As time passes, tensions will mount. You will visit houses and birthplaces of people you’ve never heard of. Tiny hotel soap will slip out of your hands roughly 2.5 million times. But when your return flight finally lands, after an unexpected delay of at least two hours, it’s over! Now is when your vacation from the family vacation begins. This is also known as the “rest of the year.” Unfortunately, this isn’t long enough. So enjoy it, because we only have a few more weeks until- I mean, of- vacation.

Anthony Vega is a freshman majoring in finance and English. He may be contacted at a.vega7@umiami.edu.

April 27, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.