10 Travel Survival Tips: The Family Trip Edition

Posted on
Jul 22, 2009
Posted in: Advice, Top Ten

I was saving this post for the holiday season, when the joy of hanging out with crazed relatives combined with egg nog and the birth of the savior make a festive trifecta. But after a day spent teaching my relatives “how to use internets”, I feel like some survival tips are in order. Whether it’s your well-meaning but totally bigoted second-cousin (“I love the gays!”), or the in-law who thinks that Titanic is a good movie, these should hopefully get you all they way through a family trip . Or at least  hold you over until you can get shit-faced. Either way.

  1. Take advantage of your inner monologue. Like, for example, when one of your relatives won’t stop singing something that vaguely resembles “American Pie”, you can reply with, “Who sings that?” And while they’re giving you a woefully incorrect answer, your brain can scream, “NOT YOU. THAT’S WHO SINGS THAT SONG.”
  2. Find a creative outlet. Like passive-aggressive blogging! It will totally help you forget about the member of your family who decided to have a temper tantrum during your college graduation. The whore.
  3.   Take some “me time.” Don’t feel guilty for taking a breather away from the family. Do whatever relaxes you: head for a run, see a movie, or snort some dehydrated Bolivian bull semen.
  4.  Remind them of people who are worse to their families than you are. Sure, you might be a bit of an asshole. But you’ve got nothing on Lizzie Borden, Joan Crawford, or Woody Allen. Mention them often.

    Lizzie Borden was probably a worse child than you were. Probably. (Photo courtesy of dbking, via flickr.com)

    Lizzie Borden was probably a worse child than you were. Probably. (Photo courtesy of dbking, via flickr.com)

  5. Change the subject. Sure, you might be unemployed – but cousin Jennifer has herpes!
  6. Get some perspective. The problem with crazy is that it breeds more crazy. For example, let’s say you are traveling with, oh, I don’t know, your mother to a birthday party (purely hypothetical, of course). And perhaps (again, totally off the top of my head here) your mom offers you some cake and then says you probably shouldn’t have any. And perhaps this comes after she’s spent the last three days complaining that she needs to put on weight because FOR SOME REASON SHE WEIGHS 11o POUNDS EVEN THOUGH SHE’S ALWAYS EATING AND HER GODDAMN GENES ARE ALL RECESSIVE AND YOU WORK OUT ALL THE FUCKING TIME AND DON’T SHED A POUND … Ahem. After a while, you might begin to lose it. Hypothetically. It’s times like these you should call a friend, who, say, goes through the exact same thing, and have her remind you of your awesomeness (thanks, btw).
  7. Outdo them. Try beating them at their own game. Your cheap uncle thinks you spend too much? Start stealing sugar packets and reusing floss. Tired of dealing with your uber-right-wing-militia-loving cousin? Tell him you voted for Pat Buchanan. Twice. IN THE SAME ELECTION.
  8. Find an ally. Odds are, someone in your huge genetic Rolodex of cousins, in-laws, and people-you-were-obligated-to-invite-to-your-wedding is going to be on the exact same page as you are. They will be enlighted, they will be smart, and they will buy you beer. Or at the very least, they’ll have most of their teeth and can legally come within 100 feet of an elementary school.    
    Give your auntie a kiss (photo courtesy of NathanF, via flickr.com)

    Photo courtesy of NathanF, via flickr.com



  9. Remember that your time together is short. One day, they’ll all be gone. And by then you’ll have mostly forgotten about all the fights and feuds and will only remember the time they took you to the store, and your favorite line of dolls was on clearance, and when you asked if you could have one, expecting a “no” in return, they bought you four of them. And it was one of the best days of your life.

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