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Hot Mess Mom » Dear Diary, Family, Travel, Ways I know I'm failing as a parent » Is there any such thing as a bad vacation?

Is there any such thing as a bad vacation?


I had a roommate in college who used to say “Sex is like pizza.  Even when it sucks, it’s pretty fucking good”.

I feel that way about travel.

We spent the last week at a cabin in the Georgia mountains with my family, my parents, and my sister’s family.  One of my oldest and closest friends came up one night with his family.  While the kids played, the adults sat around the table, had cocktails and told stories.  We got on the subject of our family vacations..{we were always big travelers}.  My friend asked if we had ever had a bad one.  We all agreed NO!  Then we started telling stories.

“Remember that time the boat broke down and we had to call the Marine Patrol?”

Remember the time Mom got food poisoning in San Francisco?

Remember when we got yelled at at the Ritz-Carlton in Hawaii because Dad was driving on the golf cart path and thought it was a road?

Remember when we got yelled at in Greece because Dad was driving up a sidewalk and thought it was a road?

Remember when the boat ran out of gas in the Keys and I got sun-poisoning so bad that my eyes swelled shut?

Remember when we got lost on that hike in the Smoky Mountains with all of the kids and no water and we told Nicole she’d have to nurse us all until we could be rescued?

Remember the time mom tried to push Seven off that cliff in New Hampshire?

Remember that time in NYC that Nicole threw a snowball at mom and hit her in the face like a brick?  And then later, mom was standing under an awning and it dumped snow all over her on the way to the theater?

Remember when I thought Nicole was in the bathroom at that restaurant so I kept banging on the door and yelling “Hurry up!  Get your fat ass out of there now! ”  And when the door opened, it wasn’t my sister.. it was a very very very large and angry woman….?

Ugh.. What about 9/11?  Remember that?  We were in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Flew home the first day the airports reopened and I refused to go through any major airports.  Number One was 9 months old.  We made it home from Maine to Orlando by way of Albany, NY, and Louisville, KY.  That was also when he had his first kids’ meal and we bought him that coonskin cap…

Around this time, my friend remarked “Wow.. well it sounds like you’ve had a LOT of bad vacations….”

My mom, dad, sister and I unanimously agreed.. NO!!  They’ve all been great….   The more ridiculous they are, the better the memory..

Me:  Ugh.. remember when I was coming back from Toronto  and Number One was 2yrs and I was 8 months pregnant?  It was so cold and Number One hated the snow and my flight was delayed and I sat on the airport floor and cried?

Nicole:  Remember when I was flying home from Greece in a middle seat between two men and was nursing.  I fell asleep and when I woke up hours later, the baby’s head was down by my legs and my whole boob was out?

My mom: Remember when you girls gave us a trip to Montreal in JANUARY and it was a million degrees below zero and my nose hair stayed frozen the whole time??

My dad:  Yeah.. remember when you girls “gave” us a trip to Montreal that I had to pay for??

Remember the time dad got so mad at us that he went into the restaurant and sat at a table for 1??

What about when I took the boys to DC by myself and Number Two fell in the Potomac River? And that lady offered me her seat on the metro because she thought I was pregnant.  I was NOT.   AND I had to stop at a rest area in bum-fuck Maryland at 1:00 am because all three of the boys got diarrhea at the same time and I couldn’t stop crying and was certain we were going to be murdered?

Remember when Seven tried to push me up that trail when I was in a wheelchair and then gave up and y’all just left me there.  to be murdered??  AGAIN?

and so on and so forth……  We all had tears streaming down our faces……

Y’all know I want to DO, not HAVE.  And I do DO.. {yes.. I said do do… … giggle….}  I DO as much as I can afford and more.  I take my boys on at least 10 trips a year, even if just for a weekend.   Our trips are rarely perfect.   Let’s not forget the whole “whoops, I broke my back” incident of 2012.   Sometimes we get sick.  There is generally at least one vomiting incident.  There is always an injury.  We constantly pray for the car to not break down.  We yell at each other too much.  We have been lucky enough to stay at 5-Star resorts and  have balanced that out with some seriously unsavory places.   We have done it all together.

I look forward to sitting around a table years from now with my boys telling stories about the trips and mishaps they remember… I’m sure their list will be LONG…

What about you?  Have you had a bad trip? {you know what I mean, druggies!  let’s keep it family focused ;}  Are the hiccups in your vacations bad memories or good ones?   Would love to hear your thoughts…

**Disclaimer:  It is important to note that we have never been stranded in an airport for days on end, attacked by a grizzly bear or trapped in a car during a blizzard…… those may constitute bad vacations.. even by our terms.     click that banner ;) 

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Filed under: Dear Diary, Family, Travel, Ways I know I'm failing as a parent



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17 Responses to "Is there any such thing as a bad vacation?"

  1. Cassandra says:

    Tears STREAMING down my face!! We traveled around the country a lot when I was a kid, too. But it was always in a camper, or the back of a station wagon. UGH! The memories my brother & I used to share! Thanks for that laugh today! It was awesome!

  2. Julie says:

    Oh I have some of those types of stories! Like the time Stanky was a babe and puked banana & yogurt all over the backseat, himself and the carseat on the drive to Yosemite Valley, where there is no place to pull over until the overlook at Tunnel View. Even better, my bro was in the car with me, and even the sound of retching makes him vomit, so he was leaning his head out the car window, heaving and trying not to puke! And even BETTER? My parents were in the car behind us with some friends visiting from Germany, and they were laughing their asses off at my bro hanging out the car window heaving!

    And there are all the times where kids hate hotel beds and end up making DH and I sleep with them, or shower with them because it smells funny in there. Or when the gas gauge in my car stops working so we ran out of fuel several times in one trip.

  3. krissylou says:

    My mom made sure we went on a vacation every summer, even though she was a single mom and there wasn’t a ton of money. We drove EVERYWHERE around the country, usually to visit family. My Grandma always came with. The best memories are when we were in the middle of nowhere and Grandma had to crap so bad she was willing to fight with the bears in the woods, or use the most disgusting port-a-potty on earth, or when we were on really steep, narrow roads in the mountains in our shitty 4-cylinder station wagon that would not GO up the hill. People driving behind us got so pissed! Or being next to a semi on those narrow mountain roads and trying not to fall off the edge of the mountain. It was scary at the time, but funny as hell now. I am a travel whore and buy Groupon Getaways all the time so I can create more memories for my kids!

  4. Cari says:

    Ok, this is weird. We were born on the same day, and we were both in Bar Harbor Maine on 9/11.

    I’ve had my daughter end up in the hospital twice on vacations, once when she was a baby and her lips turned blue, and once when she was 5 and she broke her arm. I wish those things hadn’t happened, but I don’t regret the vacations. I don’t travel enough. I would like to do more of it.

    1. Hot Mess Mom says:

      That IS weird!! We had just gotten to the visitor center in Acadia Natl Park….

      1. Cari says:

        We were having breakfast in some gas station/cafe. That would have been really weird if we were in the visitor center too.

  5. Sarah says:

    So I am thinking this post wasn’t supposed to make me cry…but it did. It also made me have quite a revalation, just the other day in the midst of an argument about all the monitony of life my husband said “why can’t we just have more adventures”?
    And he’s right and now you have driven the point home, every trip won’t be perfect, it won’t be a 5 star resort but we will have an adventure as a family.

  6. Ann says:

    I think National Lampoon might have modeled Vacation after my family. While thankfully we didn’t strap grandma to the roof, we did have to let her off at the top of a hill one summer vacation because the engine in the Ford Econolkne van was about to blow and wouldn’t make it back up the hill. The worst part being Dear old Dad couldn’t let the RPM’s drop low enough to stop completely. She had to jump out while the van was still moving.
    The same trip saw 3 flat tires, broken water pump and fuel pump all in different states on a 13 state trip. Good times, Clark Griswald, Good times!

    1. Hot Mess Mom says:

      I remember that one!!

  7. Denisep says:

    So true!! Our best vacation as a family was when our oldest was five, our second was four and our baby was five months. We DROVE across country in our van to visit friends in PA, Mass and NY. When we arrived in PA we went swimming with our friends and while in the pool, we heard someone ask if anyone had a red van with IOWA plates. We were rear ended by someone in the parking lot and our car was destroyed. 1200 miles a destroyed van, what do you do? We rented another one, left some stuff at our friends, drove to NYC and MA returned got our stuff and our fixed van and had the best vacation ever. We have also been stranded on the side of a mountain in CO for 9 hours, unable to get off, surrounded by drunks, were met at the station by police to deal with the drunks. In Worlds of Fun we were caught in a downpour 6 inches overnight, and ran through the park barefoot laughing all the way. It took days to dry out our clothes and shoes. All part of our beautiful family memories. Now we look for the things to go wrong and laugh at them. No vacation is complete unless something happens.

  8. I love it!! I travel, it goes in spurts, one year I clocked 13 trips in 8 months, all over the place. Now I average about 1 a month, but some our short ones, others over a week long, it feels balanced. What can go wrong will go wrong, lost luggage, getting wrong luggage like, traveling with the guys from work and one brings you a bag that got sent to his room by mistake, he assumed it was mine, it was full of hair spray and brushes and such… It was not mine, it had to be one of the other GUYS… yep long trip for him, funny as hell for the rest of us, and all the people we told like the hot waitress at Hooters!! Hey if your going to run with the big boys leave the Agua Net at home! LOL But anyway, loved it. And we have travel stories too, a lot of family travel. Got a trip to Vegas coming up for work, With a Guy from work and his wife, plus me Hubby and my Mother! Two of us got to work, who knows what Hubby will get the girls into… Oh what could possibly go wrong?

  9. Lunardonut says:

    Last February we decided to take the kids to Gatlinburg. As a surprise the night before, I upgraded our four airline tickets to First Class. Long story short, I read the departure time wrong. We missed the flight, lost the upgrade fees paid, couldn’t get another flight on ANY airline , and had to road trip for 11+ hours. To put a cherry on top of the day, I got pulled over in GA by a state trooper at around midnight. Worst start of a vacation for us ever!

  10. Kirstyn says:

    Can’t stop laughing at this…Nicole: Remember when I was flying home from Greece in a middle seat between two men and was nursing. I fell asleep and when I woke up hours later, the baby’s head was down by my legs and my whole boob was out?

    That would SO happen to me.

  11. Vanessa says:

    So true! I too am a bit of a travel whore. My friend’s are always saying “you’re going on vacation AGAIN?!” And I happily reply, “YEP!” I would have to say that my love for travel must have been ingrained to me as a child, since we always vacation pretty often. I would have to say my most memorable vacation as a child was when I was in 6th grade. My mom had been saving for prob 2 years so we could all fly to California to spend Christmas with her best friend that she hasn’t seen in years. It was the early 80s so flying from Florida to California was an arm and a leg, multiplied by 4 people. My mom had been talking about it nonstop since Thanksgiving. Well 2 days before we are due to take off, Eastern Airlines (now I’m aging myself) goes bankrupt!! I remember my mom being on the phone for hours trying to get the money back or trying to have another airline honor our tickets, to no avail. She was crying for what seemed like days. Then my father came home from work and couldn’t take it anymore, “God Damn it!! We’ll drive! Just stop crying!” So in 1 day my mother had us packed and ready to drive from Orlando, FL to San Diego, CA in our Buick LeSabre. We drove 18-20 hrs for 3 days. There was no ipods, dvds, or ds’. Only books and ispy road games. Our asses were numb but we made it there on Christmas Eve!

    1. Hot Mess Mom says:

      i love it! and i feel your mom’s pain.. I would have been devastated! ;)

  12. Jackie says:

    My husband and I are travel whores too. We love it. We have a small house, old cars, and no AC in the middle of the desert. But we love to travel and drag our children all over the world. At the time, we’ve felt certain vacations have sucked, but looking back we can do the same as you.
    Remember the time our tour guides car broke down and we sat on the side of the road for 4 hours in Belize.
    And that one time we ate lunch at the hole in the wall in Honduras and our taxi driver had to translate and order for us.
    And when we were in Hawaii and there was a cockroach in our rental car.
    The adventure continues as we are going to Turkey this summer.

  13. Bill says:

    Family is usually what messes with my friends vacation – but if you go to the right town, all you have to do is get out away from them and find something else to do for a while – that’s why the beach is great, there’s a lot of distractions. I was looking at a Myrtle Beach webcam earlier this week, and it already looked great down there – its gonna be in the seventies this month, and they have a nice Irish fest. What could make that vacation bad? Especially if I don’t even bring the family!

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