Family holiday hell

Going on holiday? Odds are you have the vision of what your ideal situation would be. Maybe some mimosas on the beach or even skiing on the alps. Either way, who do you see with you? If you answered your family, you’re in the minority. Unfortunately, family holidays are kind of part of the deal if you’re a member of a family. We’re here to talk you through them.

Why you want to scream ‘get me out of my holiday hell’ 

If you’ve ever come back from a family holiday and instantly feel like you need another holiday, here’s why: 

High hopes

It’s easy to think that you can leave your problems behind when the summer holidays arrive. With the prospect of some time in the sun, sea and sand, what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, quite a bit. If there’s tension beforehand then time out together will only intensify any problems. It’s also bound to leave you feeling frustrated at having a shadow cast over your holiday, which in turn makes arguments all the more likely.

No escape

At home, no matter what kind of difficulties you encounter, you can still fall back on your chosen family. You have friends to visit, people to see and familiar places to hang about in until it’s safe to return. On holiday, these kinds of escape routes are closed. You’re cooped up together in a strange place, with more time on your hands than normal. Sounds like a potential recipe for disaster to us.

Confronting your REAL family

Consider how much you see of each family member when you’re at home. Chances are you see them briefly at breakfast, and then once more in the evening when everyone’s knackered and slumped in front of the telly. On holiday, you get to see what they’re really like throughout the day – and you may not like what you find.

Agenda absolutist

Every family has one – the person who insists on planning every minute of every day of your holiday (using military time only of course). They might have good intentions, but it’s also a sure-fire way to wind you up. After all, life’s too short to finish coffee at 08:36.

Family holiday rescue package 

Fear not, The Mix is always here to help. Figure out ways to avoid the crash after ‘my holiday hell’ (you said it, we didn’t) such as: 

Plan ahead

If you want to get the most out of a family holiday, make every effort to help organise it. That way, you’ll know what’s in store, rather than being surprised when your dad hands you a day pass for the light railway exhibition he’s been secretly googling all year.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies – we mean family – closer

Just for a moment, think about what specifically annoys you about your family, and ask if it could become a holiday no-go. Whether it’s the ancestral need to hike all the way to an empty, grey beach or your dad’s views on American foreign policy, it’s better to raise the issue before you set off. That way you can work out how to stop it from ruining your holiday. Same rule applies to family dinners. 

Know yourself

Be honest, do you make the ideal holiday companion? Are you easy-going, open to suggestions, and up for adventure? Probably not all the time. So, if you know you’re always grumpy in the morning, be upfront about it before you leave so everyone can give you the space you need. At least until Captain Happy regains the controls around lunchtime.

Give yourself a break from the family holiday

Make time to get away from the family every day, even if it’s just for a quick stroll. It’s your chance to clear your head, and bring you some calm in what can sometimes feel like a storm. No matter how bad things seem, the aim is to return home refreshed (and with all your relationships intact). So you might as well make the effort.

Happy holidays! And if you need more help, just click here for our ultimate Christmas survival guide!

Next Steps

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 24-Nov-2022