Saving for a trip for our whole family takes some time and a bit of budgeting gymnastics, so when “Vacation” is finally penned into our calendar, we waited eagerly for our departure.
Let’s keep it real though. The trek to arrive at our destination wasn’t necessarily spent singing cheesy travel tunes nor did we have endless hours of fun playing “I Spy”. We couldn’t quite synchronize our bladders to reduce the number of stops. And while one kid couldn’t seem to keep his food down from the motion sickness, another one seemed perpetually hungry no matter how much he ate.
But the tough lessons hit the hardest when we reached the modest accommodations we would call home for the next few days. 7 people, 7 days, one room. Who needs souvenirs when you can take home these valuable lessons in tiny space living?
Travel-sized toiletries won’t do.
I discovered only a few days into the trip that the miniature toiletries were not going to last us. I guess it’s about time I adjusted my packing habits to include the whole tribe.
Kids love the sofa bed.
“Hey kids, look at this couch transform into a bed! Shall we call him Optimus Prime? Who wants to sleep on Optimus Prime?” And that’s how you get the nice, soft queen bed to yourself!
Baby still ends up on our bed.
Ok, so not everyone fell for that Optimus Prime line.
Mr. Bubbles is not the famous Canadian singer named Michael.
Even though I packed a few extra outfits and some emergency underwear, we all still ran out of clothes before week’s end. The hotel didn’t have its own self-service laundry room, so we were directed to Mr. Bubbles, a nearby laundromat. One of my kids really thought we were talking about Michael Bublé. Sorry for the disappointment.
Everything becomes a clothesline.
Well, it turned out Mr. Bubbles’ dryers didn’t work so well, but thanks to my well-prepared husband, we had a rope for a clothesline. But for a family our size, that wasn’t enough. Everything became a spot to dry clothes: the shower rod, the luggage rack, the luggage, the bed, and the baby’s pack-n-play.
No vacation from cleaning.
We opted not to have daily maid service, so it was up to me to keep our space livable. Even though it would’ve been nice to return to a clean room everyday without me lifting a finger, I’ve always felt uncomfortable that a stranger was moving our stuff around. Besides, we didn’t want any of the hotel employees tripping over all our clothes hanging everywhere.
Get ready to ask for forgiveness … a lot
As much as I want to paint a picture of a loving family vacation, where each member always said the right things at the right time, you know that’s not realistic. When sleep and routine are lacking, wrong attitudes emerge from both the children and the adults. But it really forced us, as a family, to work through our disagreements and reminded my husband and I to patiently shepherd our children. We had to ask for forgiveness from one another a lot. But there were always plenty of hugs and kisses to go around afterwards.
What are some lessons you’ve taken home from your family travels?