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How to Travel During the Holiday Season… and Not Kill Your Family

Holiday season crazy

I love Christmas time. I’m an Aussie so it means I’m at the beach everyday, summer fruits are a staple in the fridge, and it mean University is done and dusted until March. But there is one thing that can send me into a bit of a panic – the knowledge that I will be spending two-weeks straight with my family, often with no means of escape.

I love my family to death, but sometimes you just need the space to relax and the holidays are often the worst time to embark on the quest of space. So what can you do to stop yourself going bonkers during this season? I have five tips which help me get through the holiday period and still love my family at the end.

Set Reasonable Expectation

Christmas may be the time that families spend quality time together, but set reasonable expectation for the holidays. If you know that your family dislikes your partner, or vice versa, don’t expect the family to suddenly greet them/you with open arms – instead, just try your hardest to be relaxed and remember that after the holidays there are twelve-months until you have to see them again.

Anything that comes at you think of it as water off of a ducks back – smile, be honest, and practice meditation when someone frustrates you.

Cater your Activities to Multiple Tastes

When travelling with my family I have two problems;

  1. My Dad is always right (even when he’s wrong)
  2. My Dad is the boss, that means if he doesn’t like it/want to do it, we probably won’t do it.
This explains my 5 Christmases in Hong Kong and 3 in New York, it also explains why I’d never eaten Asian food in Hong Kong until I travelled alone, but these quirks annoy me because it means that even when the family vote ‘Hawaii’ we still end up in ‘Hong Kong’.
Whilst I can’t do anything about what country I end up in for the holidays, short of travelling solo, I have learnt that whilst there are a few tips and tricks to convince Dad to do what I want to do.
My Dad loves movies – We go on a guided tour of the city which includes pointing out where movies are filmed, actors favourite hang outs and even where they’ve resides.
My Dad loves airplanes – I took him to an aircraft carrier on the Hudson River which not only had fantastic views of New Jersey and a Concord, but led to him agreeing to do a river cruise the next day.
My Dad likes to say that he’s seen it – Take a bus tour of the city. It means you’ll get to see, though not necessarily stop, at some of the sights you want to see whilst appeasing his better nature.
My Dad loves to drive – so why not hire a car or wherever you choose to travel, and see where the road takes you? Plus, it means that you can have some much-needed chill time in the back of your car – just remember to bring your own headphones!

Bring a Decoy

Last year an unexpected circumstance occurred and my best friend joined me in New York for two-weeks. What I didn’t realise was that he is the perfect decoy to distract my family, whether it be a decoy to escape my family for a few hours to explore something he and I wanted to see, the chance to slip off and enjoy a non-steak & three veg dinner, or decoy from those horrible talks family always want to bring up when you’re alone – it could be about work, study, when are you finally going to get married. Best of all, you can apply this almost anyone though I recommend your partner or best friend!

There is a trickier side with the decoy though – you have to be able to equally balance time spent between family and decoy carefully as to not offend one or the other, otherwise you might not be able to try this tactic a second year in the row.

Get a Private Room

Within the family home your family will want to think of you as their little child still, so don’t expect all family members to be open about relations in the house. Even if you aren’t with a partner then by either arranging to stay at a hotel or in your own room means when things get tought you will have somewhere to relax and get away from the stress and crazy.

Don’t hole yourself up though, because that can cause more problems than it solves!

Think Positive

“You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” – at the end of it all you are only spending a few days of the year with your family. Any time you feel negative vibes try to think of a positive thought – my favourite is thinking about one positive trait that the person has – or learn to meditate before you head on holiday.

Remember that it’s only one-day or week of a year – you can do it.

Do you have any tips for dealing with family over the holidays?

Post Image: Picaza

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Erica
    December 1, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Great tips, Nicole! These are tips that not many of us think about during the holidays. The decoy is a very interesting concept. And staying positive may not solve all of the problems encountered during the holidays, but it can definitely help!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      December 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Erica. 🙂
      I think getting through the holidays involves a great deal of positivity, that and a ‘suck it up it’s only for a week’ attitude. Hopefully neither of us will have to use that technique this year.

      Have a great holidays!

  • Reply
    Alex Gibson
    January 24, 2013 at 2:32 am

    I love the decoy tip, I will surely try it this year, it should give me ample chance to excape and have fun…thanks

  • Reply
    Ally
    January 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Oh that would annoy me so much ha ha (having to always do what your father wanted). My family isn’t actually that bad during the holidays, theres a little arguing but its normally quite good. My boyfriend is the perfect decoy because he’s so chatty, it gives me time to get away if I need to too!

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