Traveling With Family: A Survival Guide

January 29, 2019

There’s nothing like exposing yourself to a new culture. Meeting people who experience the wonderment of life through a different lens can teach you so much about how to live your own life. In all, traveling in unfamiliar territory is a terrific experience, unless you have to do it while sharing a hotel room with your family.

I’d like to say first and foremost that I love my family more than anything. I’d also like to say that after spending the last 10 days with them traveling through the UK and Ireland, I don’t necessarily need to ever go on another vacation with them again.

Here are some tips on how to survive traveling abroad with family.

You Can Charge That to the Room 
Hotels around the world have amenities like spas, restaurants, exercise rooms and – most importantly – bars. If you need to get away from your family for a little bit, go ahead and find the bar, and who knows what you might find. Just last week I became friends with incredible Sourya, a lounge singer at The Reubens Hotel in London – all while avoiding my family!

Over-Escalate the Situation  
It sounds counter-intuitive but hear me out. If you find that someone else’s travel-anxiety is killing your ability to enjoy yourself, simply flip the script and become the escalator in the situation, thus forcing them to de-escalate. For example, if a family member is on edge about the waiter in a foreign restaurant not being as attentive as they are here in the U.S., just start freaking out. They will feel compelled to calm you down, neutralizing the stressful situation that they would otherwise be fostering.

Plan Alone Time
It’s OK if you and your family don’t do everything together. Talk to them about carving out time to take a walk, visit a museum or try local cuisine. You all get a break from each other and everyone gets to do something they really want to do. It’s a win-win.

You Don’t NEED to Shower 
If you’re like me, and your family consists of just you and two alpha females, just assume you won’t get more than five minutes in the bathroom each morning. It’s not worth it, trust me.

Get “Lost” 
I have to credit Alice, a lovely lass from Ireland, for this gem. If you need to get away quickly, walk with your family into a crowded pedestrian area and casually disappear. Go get some alone time and claim to have gotten lost when you rejoin them later. If you frame it as an honest mistake, they can’t get upset with you. And if they do get upset with you, you can always just pretend to get lost again.