Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ways to survive (and enjoy) a family vacation.

by Brittany Geragotelis

There was a point growing up when I went from loving my summer vacations with my family to resenting them. I hated the fact that I was being pulled away from my friends for a week and being forced to hang out with my parents and sisters. I was convinced that my BFF's were all having so much more fun than I was and I was going to be missing out on something big back home while I was away. Because of this, I insisted on complaining and scowling the whole beginning of the trip, trying to make everyone around me just as miserable as I was.
What ended up happening was that I eventually got over myself and actually had fun--although I never would've admitted it to my parents (Check out the pic here for proof...can you find me?). So, if you're headed away for your family vaca, why not cut out the teen angst and get right to having fun? Here are a few ways to have a good time right from the start and maximize your enjoyment while you're away...because the truth is, whether you complain or not, you're stuck going. Might as well enjoy it.

1. Be pleasant and get what you want. Like I said, you're stuck on this vacation, so arguing about it is pretty much pointless. If you have a good attitude from the beginning, your parents are more likely to say "yes" when you ask whether you can have desert for breakfast, go play mini-golf with your siblings or stay up an extra hour to finish the movie you've been dying to watch.
2. Go on an adventure. Whether you're at the beach, in the woods camping, at an amusement park or visiting family in another state, there are always opportunities for adventure. Look for buried treasure, search for the perfect pair of sunglasses, find your summer crush, or simply seek out your secret hideaway. Whatever you choose to do, will get your adrenaline pumping and leave you feeling excited and happy.
3. Try something new. Make it a point every day to try something you haven't before. Whether it's a new food (chocolate banana cake, anyone?) or waking up at sunrise to watch the view, venturing into the unknown will keep you on your toes and open your eyes to fun and exciting experiences.
photo credit: MTV/Laguna Beach
4. Make new friends. No matter where you end up, chances are there are other kids your age bored and looking for something to do. This is the perfect time to get to know your neighbors and possibly make a new friend. Not only does this mean more fun for you while you're away, but it allows you to go home with a new Facebook friend.
5. Enjoy the food. Vacation has a way of making people indulge. And this can be great for you, because you'll end up reaping the rewards. Desert every night? Yes, please. Steak instead of burgers? Mmmm! Cool watermelon, smooth ice cream and heaps of french fries...Vacation's not a time to diet and since you're away from home, your regular meals don't apply. Enjoy the food free-for-all before heading back to more healthy fare.
6. Sit back and relax. You can do this on the beach while you're getting a tan, or on the porch in a hammock while reading a book. Whatever you choose, make sure to schedule in some down-time in between all the fun activities you've set to do. It's never fun heading back home feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation.
7. Leave your cell in your room. I know this one's hard to do, and you're probably thinking, "Is this girl crazy?!?!" But trust me...the world's not going to end if you give yourself a few hours sans phone and computer. Truly allow yourself to unwind and enjoy the carefree atmosphere--free from drama, responsibility and stress--by turning all your electronics to "Off" for a few hours each day. Chances are, when you power back on later, you'll realize that no one but you knew that you were even gone.