by Olivia Charlson
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer intern
Olivia Charlson. Find her on Instagram at @olivialee2000. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A family vacation is a time for relaxation — sort of. Doing the same activities you did with your parents is slightly different when it’s you and your adult siblings. So imagine how much you can figuratively (and on some vacations, literally) rock the boat when you bring your partner along. It’s funny because your early 20s are a time for freedom, exploration and an escape from feeling stuck in your ways. And yet… most of the time that’s not totally the case. At this point, most Zillennials are still being weighed down by financial burdens and social pressures. I thought when I was out of high school the patterns in my parent’s house would change (and some have) but whenever I’m back home the same dynamics remain. Being able to take my own vacations is great, but incredibly hard to do without a stable job and know-how to do it. When you’re going on vacations where you still have a place saved at the kids table, you’re going wherever other people want to go. That’s why I was so shocked to be able to bring my boyfriend to my grandma’s summer house this time around on my last family vacation. Navigating an expedition with family and friends may not be a cakewalk for some — here are some do’s and don’ts for a vacation with parents and a partner.
Do: try to be communal with everyone
Whether it’s you bringing your partner along with your family or you’ve signed yourself up to be the partner coming along try to participate it can be a learning curve. I find some of the best conversations can stem from asking my siblings about their lives — which are much more interesting to hear about when you’ve been building your own. Sometimes the best way to include your partner in the conversation is to let them find their own way instead of forcing it to be about the two of you.
Don’t: embrace the PDA
I can say I’m guilty of being a bit clingy when the day is dragging on, but nobody appreciates the couple in line at the amusement park who are all over each other. There’s a line between being affectionate and being… annoying to everyone else. Make sure you find it before you’re hanging out with people who can judge you for it.
Do: take a few moments for yourself
Stealing away some time where it’s just you and your partner or even taking some time for yourself is essential when enclosed with a lot of people for a set amount of time. Me and my boyfriend were able to get up an hour before everyone else and walk to a coffee shop nearby and that time we carved out almost every morning gave us time to talk. Even though the advice before this was to try being communal, It’s still ok not to have to be with everyone at all times. Give yourself moments to step away.
Don’t: overdo it with the drinks
There is a balance to be met here. Learning your boundaries for how much you want to drink with your family can be hard for some people. Some vacations may have a good deal of cocktail-filled dinners or booze cruises. It’s a good idea to communicate with your partner before hand about what is appropriate and what’s not for you when you’re with family. Of course, that’s not to say that you drinking with family or on vacation isn’t fun. It’s just about knowing what to expect.
Do: have fun with it
I’ll admit that I felt a bit of guilt having my parents essentially take care of both me and my boyfriend — but life is too short to hang on to that. I carry a lot of emotional baggage with my real physical baggage. I thought I may have kicked my anxious tendencies and an over-packing habit by now, but that’s not the case for me. Lean on your partner when you need it and take joy in showing them something new.
Don’t: push yourself to make everyone happy
Family can be messy. Relationships can get weird. Trying to have picture-perfect experiences isn’t the way to go about it. Forget about having a head-turning Instagram post, trying to be the best child or the most chill partner ever. One of the best moments I had on vacation was sitting with everyone else while they played Texas hold’em and I wrote an article for The Zillennial. Sometimes being in the same space together and being able to be by yourself at the same time is a good feeling. Go with the flow to the best of your abilities.
Have any crazy stories from times you went on vacation with parents and your partner? Let us know in the comments down below!