There is nothing more frustrating, more aggrivating, than a big family dinner together. Usually at Thanksgiving with my family, the thing I am most thankful for is that this only happens once a year. Now imagine that awkward Thanksgiving dinner – every day – for the duration of your holiday.
Over the past month, we have been featuring posts about travelling families – usually in regards to travelling with children. Today we are going to approach the topic from a slightly different angle – how to survive travelling with your family as an adult.
Family travel can be fantastic. It can be a way to bond with your family, to spend more meaningful time together, and to learn together through new experiences. However, it is not always the case.
It isn’t a surprise that the high levels of stress that are sometimes associated with travel can tax even the best of relationships. Travel has been known to put a new relationship to the ultimate test. and it’s no surprise that sometimes your best friend from home, may not be your best friend after an extended holiday. So why would it be any different with your family. Because as the saying goes, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family – which even lowers the odds of holiday success in some cases.
Plan your visit to suit everyone’s needs
If you are planning to visit a family member who is living abroad, make sure you consider their time table and not just your own. The amount of times I have had family members decide they are going to fly across an ocean to visit me – during exam time/ when I have a bunch of deadlines looming – is amazing. For even those who don’t have a tenuous relationship with their family, an ill timed visit can cause additional stress and tension to any holiday.
Don’t expect to spend every moment together
One of the most quoted tips for friends or couples travelling together is to occasionally not travel together. Everyone needs personal space, even from those they are closest too. If you are travelling with a family member this rule not only applies, but probably doubles in importance.
Perhaps you haven’t seen a family member in quite some time, which can be especially true if that family member now lives abroad. Make sure that when you are planning your holiday, that you take the time to find out what the other persons expectations are, and the types of things that they want to experience on the holiday. People change, and you can’t expect someone to always like the same things that they did several years ago.
Know when to quit
Sometimes travelling with family just doesn’t work out. If one person’s expectations are drastically different than the other persons, then things are unlikely to succeed. I have seen friendships end over disagreements that arose during travel together. Since it is nearly impossible to just walk away from a family relationship, it is a good idea to know when you say, “you know, travelling together just doesn’t seem to work out. Let’s save this for the next Thanksgiving dinner.”