We’ve all had to do it…..that family trip with our parents that initially sounds like fun but if you’re not careful, can turn into a teen’s worst nightmare. Having just returned from the family’s annual vacation – this time a six-day excursion to Rome – I can attest to the merits of having a strategy for spending time with the ‘rents. Keep these simple tips in mind and I promise you, life will be a little simple!
- Sounds like a no-brainer but bring along a journal or some kind of diary to record your thoughts/reflections while you’re travelling. And be sure to make time every day to jot down a few thoughts about the day’s activities. You’ll be seeing and doing a lot of different things and recalling what-you-saw-when months after the trip will be a snap – just glance through your journal for an instant recall.
- Don’t overpack. Chances are your folks are going to be helping you figure out what to bring but don’t be absent when stuff gets tossed in the bag. Remember, you’re going to be expected to carry/wheel that bag around so you sure don’t want it to be too heavy. But you also don’t want to be running out of clean clothing while you’re travelling – the last thing you want to be doing is trying to wash stuff in a hotel bath-tub….gross! And you want room for all the stuff you’re going to buy!
- Be sure to bring along your own entertainment. An mp3 player loaded with your favorite tunes can block out a lot of stuff – the racket at the airport while you’re waiting to board not to mention that screaming kid on the plane. Also, a paperback or magazine or two that can be shoved into your carry-on bag can be useful distractions.
- Sunglasses are must-haves. Not only are they super useful for those of us who wear contact lenses – the summer sun can be brutal on the eyes – but the right pair gives you that super-cool look….even in winter.
- And talking about eyes be sure to bring along an extra pair of contact lenses or glasses. You don’t want to miss anything just because you can’t see properly.
- Be sure to work out a plan with Mom and Dad to have access to some of the local currency. It sure beats the heck out of having to ask them for money all the time and besides, shopping for stuff to bring home is kind of a personal thing and who needs the ‘rents looking over your shoulder all the time!
- Just smile for photos even it’s the last thing you want to do. It’ll keep the peace with Mom and Dad and because you KNOW they’re going to post some of them on Facebook, just look pleasant at the very least.
- Don’t take too much bling. A watch and one or two favorite pieces of jewelry should be about it. Keeping a constant eye on your valuables is a must-do but don’t make like more difficult for yourself by overloading on the expensive-looking stuff.
- Just chill and keep an open-mind. Know that you’re going to be doing or seeing stuff you really couldn’t give two hoots about but travelling in family ‘packs’ means that sometimes majority rules. So you may end up having to humor Dad by visiting the world’s largest ball of string, or traipse along on another one of Mom’s museum escapades – but you never know, you might end up seeing or experiencing something really cool.
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