13 December 2018, by Nicholas Quek

How to stay sane during a family trip

My Uni semester is finally over. I’ve spent the past 2 weeks slogging away for my finals in my dorm room, and this Thursday that same room will be empty.

Some of my suitemates have already left, having anticipated this moment from the beginning of the semester. I didn’t think I would be looking forward to this moment, but the more I think about moving back home, the more excited I am.

In my last post I mentioned I wanted to spend more time with my family during the semester. Well, things didn’t quite go according to plan. I did spend more time with them than the previous semesters, but our timetables just couldn’t match.

One thing I’ve come to realise is that there are just certain seasons in life where spending all your time together with your family just isn’t feasible.

It might be a particular semester at school or stretch of assignments at your workplace – there are some periods of time where spending extended time with your family just isn’t feasible.

And I think it’s important to realise when those periods come around, and not put unnecessary pressure to spend all your waking moments with them! As long as we’re eagerly waiting for, anticipating, preparing for those seasons where we can spend more time with them again, I think we are good.

Our last family trip to Europe in 2016

Our last family trip to Europe in 2016

And that season is now here! My family is at long last taking an extended holiday together to the States. We’re gonna be spending a few days in Los Angeles and Washington D.C., before heading north to Windsor in Canada to wrap up the last leg of the trip.

I’m really excited because me and my siblings are gonna be taking charge of planning quite a bit of the trip, including destinations to visit, navigating through the city, and even managing the finances.

Things tend to get tense during family vacations, so I thought I’d compile a list of tips to ensure peace and tranquility during any family trip (mostly to remind myself):

  • Remember that everyone is there to have fun and relax. It’s a matter of slowly working through our different interests and coming to a consensus. Nobody goes on a family trip thinking, ‘How can I best ruin my family member’s day today?’ At least nobody I know. I really hope you don’t have family members like that.
  • There’s almost never a need to shout. Save for a large crowd or a particularly dense concrete wall, there’s no need to shout at each other. It’s almost always the still calm voice of either my sister or my brother that deescalates (calms) a tense family situation. It has also been scientifically proven that nobody likes shouting. Nobody.
  • Don’t plan too many things. I feel as if this is a distinctly kiasu-Singaporean problem. I mean I get it, we wanna make the most of our time in another country, and air tickets are expensive. But I’d much rather have 2 chill weeks of not doing much, than 2 frantic weeks packed full of experiences that result in me not speaking to the rest of my family for the next month. 2 chill weeks > 2 frantic weeks + 1 month cold war. The math checks out.
  • Leave margins in your schedule and finances. I think most people struggle more with the former, given what I mentioned in point 3. Margins give space for careful consideration of everyone’s interests, as well as time for everyone to just take a step back and relax.

I sincerely hope the tips serve you well this coming holiday season. They’re obvious ones for sure, but I think they’re worth bearing mention.

Have a great break ahead 🙂

When ya siblings look so cute, it's hard to argue with them. Then again we'll find a way :)

When ya siblings look so cute, it’s hard to argue with them. Then again we’ll find a way :)

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