Thursday, December 27, 2012

Surviving Family Vacations

This is my first international blog post! Well if you count the U.S. Virgin Islands as an international is confusing. A U.S. citizen can travel in and out of the U.S. Virgin Islands without his or her passport, but the minimum drinking age is 18. Most cellular companies, for example AT&T and Sprint, don't charge roaming fees or anything that would normally be associated with international cell phone usage. However, the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands drive on the left side of the road. This is a complex island territory. And as complex as it may be logistically, it is a beautiful and wonderful place. I am staying in the island of St. John which is the smallest. The "main" island is St. Thomas, which you Real World fans will become jealous of me, is only a 40 minute ferry ride.

Ok so this post is not an advertisement for the Virgin Islands. The toughest thing about family vacations is that it basically is like being grounded at home, except you're in some exotic location. You may not even get the privacy of being locked up in your own room on family vacations.

The first couple of days, or even hours, of your vacation may be so much fun to you. But realize that it is all an illusion. You are just hypnotized by the idea of going on vacation. If your family has tension going through security checkpoint at the airport, don't expect to have the time of your life once you reach your actual destination.

I have gone on enough family vacations to finally be able to somewhat survive them. From the 7 hour road trip to the two week tour of Canada, I have survived my family and I am here to share my survival tips:

  • Get noise-canceling headphones
    • These are a God-send on airplane flights or car rides.
  • Make your own seat assignment
    • Sitting next to all of your family on a five hour flight is not always a good thing. You will be with your family for the rest of the vacation.
  • Research the hotel or resort you are staying at
    • Large resorts are perfect for "getting lost" from your parents. Smaller motels are just something to avoid. And check the hotel's internet policy.
  • Convince your parents to invite other families
    • Cousins or family friends that are your age can prevent potential homicides.
  • Allocate some of the liquor for yourself from the group
For international vacations:
  • Check whether your cell phone will work in that country or on that island
    • Trust me. It will be a lifesaver.
  • Figure out the local drinking age and their customs. 
    • Self-explanatory.
  • Learn key phrases in the local language
    • Knowing how to ask for vodka dry martini instead of a gin dry martini can save you from having a miserable ferry ride.

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