15 lessons learned on our first big family vacation
Posted on August 14, 2014
by Heather Laura Clarke
Other than our few memorable camping trips
, our family had yet to go on a real, actual vacation. The kids had never even left the province!
(Despite my husband being an airline employee, they have yet to go on an airplane, either, but that’s a story for another day …)
But this summer, our first real trip was to none other than Anne-of-Green-Gables-Land (Prince Edward Island or PEI, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Anne Shirley
Of course, it was yet another camping trip. *facepalm*
We went for three days/four nights, so it was … lengthy? But also good? But also … three nights is a long time to camp, you know? You feel me?
We’re heading out on another camping trip tomorrow, so I thought I’d better record all of this for posterity before I forget it.
Without further ado, here are the 15 lessons I learned on our longest family (camping) vacation:
- Research the bathrooms before going to any campground. I would have taken a photo of the bathroom stalls that didn’t come up as high as my armpit, but it was too depressing. And I was probably crying too hard to take the photo.
- Four people in a tent-trailer (circa 1990) without a bathroom means you will walk to the bathroom — or clean out a potty — far, far, far more times than you would ever imagine.
- New playgrounds are the best playgrounds. Because they’re new.
- The beach is amazing. Any beach. All of the beaches. Even for indoorsy people like me, beaches are awesome and make everyone in better moods.
- It is impossible to keep a tent-trailer’s floor clean with two small children. (Hello, pine needles)
- Waterparks/theme parks require a lot of packing and preparation, cost a lot of $$$ to get through the gates, and sometimes cause moments of frustration, but they are worth every penny. (At least this one was!)
- Never go anywhere without snacks and water. Ever.
- When you’re camping, your clothes will be perpetually damp and possibly sandy/dirty — even if you hang them up. (Especially if you hang them up?) It’s a law of camping.
- Vacationing with good friends — even if it’s just meeting up here and there — is awesome, particularly when there is a “match” for each member of the family.
- I discovered that waking up and immediately brushing my teeth and washing my face is VERY, VERY, VERY important for my sanity. When that’s not an immediate possibility, well … yeah. Not good.
- Treats go a long way to improve everyone’s moods.
- When your children are being whiny little bastards in the car, remind yourself that their cuteness frolicking on the beach and squealing their way down a waterslide will make up for it … well, mostly.
- Bring a travel mug so your tea stays hot enough to drink, because there are no microwaves in the great outdoors. (Or else see #9 RE: cranky-pants)
- Take advantage of fun extras. We rented a four-person bicycle ($15 for 90 minutes) and had a blast huffing and puffing our way around the campground.
- Vacations are awesome. Even when they’re not.
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