Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What To Do When Your Vacation Doesn't Quite Go as Planned

They say there are two situations we can't control: death and taxes.

This week I've been reminded that there is one more: the weather.

As I write, I'm bundled up in a sweatshirt--the same sweatshirt I slept in last night. My feet are freezing because I've gone through every pair of socks I brought (guess we'll have to resort to wearing dirty socks for the rest of the week!). And I'm listening to thunder roll in the distance.

Ah, yes, the Spring Break beach vacation.

Here is our little troupe on the beach yesterday. Note the jackets, hats, and long pants. At least is wasn't raining, which is more than I can say for the other days on our trip.

To say that this vacation has gone South (figuratively speaking) would be an understatement. The weather just hasn't cooperated. Winter has decided to give it one last go here in the Southeast.

Bless its little old frosty heart.

Now, the weather and me, we're on a love/hate basis for sure. When the weather cooperates, it feels like all's right with the world to me, but when the weather is gloomy, so am I. It's just the way I'm wired. I've worked out some strategies over the years to cope with our nasty Chicago winters, but I've also realized that this is a part of my DNA. I'm wired to need sunshine. And I know many people who are just like me.

But what do you do when things (like the weather) go terribly awry on your vacation? It does happen. People get into car accidents. Kids get sick. All while on vacation.

So this week I've been listening to a running commentary in my head saying things like this:

Get over it, it's only one week out of your life.

Deal with it, it's spring.

Shape up! Your kids are watching!

For the most part the little pep talks have been working, but I've needed to remember a few more things this week that I thought I'd share . . . just in case you ever find yourself bundled up on the beach, dodging raindrops and scrambling to find just one more jacket to wear.

Keep a proper perspective. If it helps, remind yourself that it really IS only one week of your life. It's not the end of the world. Things could be much worse--like being in 28 degree weather at home.

Remind yourself that the point of your vacation isn't (necessarily) to get a tan. The point is to be together as a family. And when you're stuck in a townhome in the rain, you are definitely together. Rejoice in your togetherness.

Try a new--indoor--activity. Sure, it may not be what you have planned, but check out the local bowling alley or movie theater. Find a local museum to learn more about the area. Go shopping. Just get out and DO something rather than sitting around moaning about the weather.

Remember that this will add to your family memory bank. Just like all those road trips we've taken over the years, this week of dodging raindrops and adding layers of clothing will be something to look back on and laugh.

Which brings me to my last point . . . LAUGH! There's nothing you can do about the weather so you might as well laugh about it. You might as well make happy family memories. You might as well have fun. So laugh and enjoy being together.

We're looking on the bright side--the weekend is supposed to be gorgeous. At least we'll have good weather for driving back home!

Spill it. Do you have a vacation disaster to share? Come on! Make me feel better!

This post is linked to Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Amy's Finer Things Friday.



  1. Well, not sure my vacation disaster was such a disaster. It felt like it at the time. Drove 8 hours to Yosemite for Fourth of July. We were celebrating our first anniversary. We had the car packed full of everything we needed, except our CLOTHES. So we bought what we could on Fourth of July at a convenience in clothes, etc.

  2. Those are good tips, Shelly! Glad you are keeping your good perspective!

    Every time we've been to Glacier (my sister lives in MT), we've been unable to enjoy the mountains due to thick fog OR roads closed due to avalanche. This is not a problem for me, but for my husband who loves the outdoors, hiking, the grandeur of it all!

    We left the children with my mom and sister and went to a neat lodge a few years back. This is when the roads were closed, B got a high fever and was SO sick; I told him at least we should enjoy sitting on the balcony, so he bundled up in a fleece, chilled by his fever and the night coolness. I closed the balcony door and realized we were locked out (oops!), no one in sight (the back of the lodge), night was falling, panic! We were rescued and drove home early the next morning.

    But our trip to Switzerland and France was able to match it. Never saw the Alps for the rain and fog. When I arrived, we went straight to the ER as B. had injured his knee. Couldn't get flights home, and he couldn't walk. I drove all over Europe!

    We'll think twice before we plan another vacation together! :-)

    At least you can be grateful for good driving weather. I drove the kids home from Memphis on spring break a couple of years back and hit an unexpected blinding blizzard! Trucks and cars were thrown off the roads into ditches, we had no phone (battery dead), no coats, no water, nothing. I was able to get off the highway to a hotel. So I'm forever grateful for nice driving weather!

    Enjoy the rest of the time together!

  3. Oh Farmer, who needs clothes for your anniversary trip anyway? They're so underrated. :)

    Carolyn! My goodness, you have had some adventures! I can't believe so much has happened to you on vacation. Wow!

  4. Bummer, Shelly. I was picturing you soaking in the sun. I walked today in shorts and a sweatshirt, but I am always hot.

    Great tips. Glad you are enjoying your family.


  5. I have one. The first time our family of five kids went to the Minnesota Boundary Waters for a 5-day wilderness canoe trip when our youngest was about 4 or 5, which means the oldest was 13, we got our food and our packs and our canoes and paddled off into the sunset to our first campsite--except there was no sunset. It was raining and cold. We were prepared for the weather but starting that way was daunting. Several portages later, our brave troup had the next day's cold lunch for supper instead of trying to cook over a fire in the rain. No one complained--not even once. Mark and I were both thinking, "What have we done?" but no one dared voice it. It turned into a great memory--and we went on to do trips for ten more years. There were other unplanned excitements and misadventures on those trips too but the first one of embarking in the rain stands out! Carol Taylor

  6. We're here too. I made a trip to the thrift store to buy some sweatshirts for the kids who didn't bring theirs along. At least it's not snow...

  7. I love the idea of making memories for the family memory bank. I need to get my act together with taking us all away on a holiday. The thought of packing-unpacking-packing-unpacking for six doesn't fill me with joy but I know when it's done I'll be pleased that I got my rear in gear!!!

    I hope you have a BRILLIANT time!


  8. My mom's always sage advice was "laugh so you don't cry".

  9. I always try to come up with some sort of ratio of bad to good vacations to make me feel better. 1 bad out of 3 good? That way you can just are due for a good one, done with the bad one.

  10. When I became a Christian in high school, my Jewish Atheist father pretty much disowned me. I think he even said that.

    That winter break, he decided to "let" me come to FL with him and my sisters (which we did every year) to see my grandparents.

    The day after we arrived, my grandmother went into the hospital and they didn't diagnose her with appendicitis (sp?) until the day we left. And it rained every day, all day. It doesn't do that in Florida. It rains for a little while, but not for five days straight.

    But it was clear to me, maybe because I just learned about the soveirgnty of God, that He did this so that my dad, sisters and I would spend time together and begin to rebuild a broken relationship. I don't remember if I knew that at the time, but at the end of the week it was very clear. If it had been warm and sunny, I would have been by the pool with a book keeping my distance.

    That's my story.


  11. Hi, Shelly! I think H's story pretty much tops all of the ones I've read. What a great reminder to keep a good attitude and appreciate the times we get to spend with our families. :)

    Thank you for joining my Weekend Bloggy Reading party. :) Hope you'll visit me at Serenity Now again soon!

  12. Hi! Visiting you from Weekend Bloggy Reading and yes, I have a vacay story that has a happy twist. We received A pack of Fiesta Texas season passes once from hubby's boss and took all four kids on the ONLY day we could all go - opening day of Spring Break...well, it started pouring rain the minute we paid $20 to park. In Central Texas, rain on a Spring day = muggy. We spent an entire day soaked, but guess what? A lot of other people gave up and went home, leaving just us and a handful of families at the park - no waiting in lines! We didn't even have to get off a ride, the attendants just let us keep going. We were tired and hungry at the end of the day, but fell into our dry motel beds with smiles on our faces. (:

  13. I don't have a vcation disaster story, but we've had plenty of rain infused trips. You are so right that changing your attitude about things can change everything. Keeping in mind that just being away from home is a gift alone, even if it is raining, is the best attitude to have.

    I hope your family had a great rest of your trip and found plenty of socks and indoor fun!

  14. I really hope I didn't come across your blog to prepare me for our vacation that we are taking in a week. Good reminder. I like the part about the kids are watching you.
    Your newest follower. I hope you can come and visit me soon!