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Ep. 84 Stress-free Vacationing Tips

by Claudine Sweeney
July 7th 2021

Traveling isn't always easy and can cause quite a bit of stress and frustration. Especially when traveling with kids. In today's episode, we share tips you can take for making your vacation feel mo... More

he says episode 84 vacationing tips for your summer vacation. You're listening to the rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners Today. Ashleigh and I are talking about something that many of us are experiencing this summer and that is traveling with family or taking a vacation and we're sharing some practical and tips today to get through these times smoothly and peacefully and still like each other at the end. Right? Not kill each other. Right. I mean you just got back yesterday from your family vacation with your two Children and extended family and my husband.

I just got back from a 30 day road trip a couple weeks ago we visited yes, more time but less people. So so Ashley welcome back. It's good to see you. We have between our schedules. It's been here and there to see each other physically. But we're here together. So tell me about your vacation. Did you learn any practical is to help us and our listeners? Yes, I have some things to share. Um, yeah, it was, it was a nice trip. I like to call it a trip or I also call it a relocation because especially as a mom, it tends to not always be a vacation but a relocation, right? And basically doing all my same responsibilities and in a different spot in a different town. I like that relocation boy. Have I experienced that when my kids were younger? Yeah, you're still doing the same thing vacation, right? Yeah. And several years ago I think the kids were two and 3. I remember sitting on the car ride, we're going to Monterey, which is only maybe a three hour drive for us because back then we were doing it every year.

That was our vacation of the, take them to the aquarium and I realized sitting there in the car just kind of reflecting because I would get frustrated. Like is this supposed to be a vacation? Why is it not a vacation? I mean you're not sleeping well, especially when you have young kids and even if they wake up in the middle of night or they're crying, they're over tired or so many different factors that keep it from feeling like a true vacation, a relaxing vacation and I would just get so frustrated and I'd go home just feeling exhausted and irritable and I'm like, you know, it's not necessarily a vacation and that's okay. I have this expectation that was going to be this vacation relaxing, so much fun and of course we had fun, but it was not really a true vacation to what we would define a vacation. Yes. So I'm like, it really is just a relocation and just that shift of mindset really change things because then now I go into it like a family vacation, I go into it with that mindset not like, okay, this is going to be relaxing for me, it's still going to be work, but You know, I'm going to try to make the most of it.

And so that's why, especially this last trip was 10 days, which is the most we've ever been gone. That's a long time. And we were in a 1234 different cities in the last 10 days. So that was a lot of traveling. Um, but it's gotten better because I've learned some of these practical that we're going to share. That's great. Well, you know, you made a great point already is even defining what a vacation is because I think We have different ideas of that. You know, my husband, I was just on a 30 day road trip. We're in between homes. So we thought, well we'll just go on the road and we'll go visit family and friends, which was wonderful. But people were texting me and they're like, how's your vacation? I'm thinking There's nothing vacation about this. Like we're both still working. We, you know, we're doing our work and then we were in, I think 12 different beds and like 28 days, 29 days. So to me what is a vacation and I have a very different idea vacation we all do right. For me, vacation is I lay around and do nothing.

That's, that's my, is that everybody's idea vacation not my size people, some people like to go sightseeing and they like to go to museums and we were going to san Francisco for one day. My husband's like maybe you can go to the fine arts museum and I gave him this look like we're there for one day. I don't want to go fine arts museum. I appreciate art but not to that point. So I want to go to a beach. So it's funny, we're jumping into our first practical, which is expectations. I mean really being able to define what we want in a vacation, you know, and especially with young Children a lot of times for us as parents. I remember when we took vacations with our younger Children, it was really about them. So it wasn't my vacation in essence, their vacation And of course as parents, we do that because we love them and we want them to see different places and experience different things like the museum or the aquarium or whatever it is. So they have the memories to talk as they grow older. Yes. And for us, our main vacation over the years was going to muzzle on, which we have done for 30 years.

My husband's family for almost 60. So the cousins would be out there and we had routine, but that was our vacation. But even within that we had to talk through our different expectations. Like my husband loves to go, go go, he wants to kayak and swim and fish and boat and I'm like, I just want to lay on a lounge chair and read that could be a big deal. Like, like you when my kids were little vacation, I didn't really want to do all the cooking, like it's not a vacation for me. If I'm doing three meals a day, can we balance this? Can we split the chore of cooking or can we budget in a few meals out? I'll share. We always stay at a hotel that has a fridge and we try to get one with a microwave because if we go and we, what we do is we typically do whether this is my husband and I or with the kids one meal out because especially when you're feeding for or more Children, it's expensive. So if you're trying to do like a low budget trip, we tend to rather spend our money on activities than food.

So we will even go to the grocery store and the kids love picking out something to eat. So if it's a microwave, you know, they can pick out like a frozen pizza or something to heat up or we go to the uh you know where they have like the corn dogs and chicken and chinese food or we just get kind of take out, I guess from the grocery store and that can last us for another day because they tend to leave leftovers and so that's two meals right there and we can say it in the fridge and that's something that's actually been great for low budget. And my husband, I have had to communicate and talk about those expectations because I do like to spend a little bit more money and explore or eat, you know, I love going out to restaurants. Yes, I'm like, okay, what's the balance here? And so we decided long ago that will just do one meal out because it's a treat and it helps save money. So it's a good balance and then we'll just either buy food groceries or something and that's actually been really helpful and that makes sense. But you guys had that mutual expectation at the onset.

I think the biggest issues we've had is when we didn't communicate our expectations beforehand, Like he had one idea and I had a different idea and then the kids had all their own ideas and then it just kind of implodes because we're all on different pages, so that communication is so important to be able to just set through the expectations and talk through. I mean, I'd love to think that everything is spontaneous and we're all just united and it's all just the same. Yes, the exact same time. We're all hungry at the same time and we all want to eat the exactly the same experience has not proven that to be true in my case. So communicating our expectations is huge and we had to learn that again because we have my husband, I have very different vacation ideas. Like for me, it's a lot of resting and for him it's a lot of doing so now. But when we travel, we talk through that, like even on our road trip, we planned an extra night in between visiting friends and family just to go to a hotel by ourselves.

And first of all, cut down on the One day of driving instead of like 10 hours, we did five and 5. But I needed some completely alone time. I'm like, I just need some downtime. I need to not have to carry any conversations other than with you. And so luckily he knows me well enough, you know, he was like, yeah, we're going to do that. We're going to spend the night in this little city in Kansas. I don't know where we were in Kansas somewhere. We stopped and it was really good. It helped me because I needed that. That was what I needed and he knows me well enough to know I better help her out with this. She's going to make it for 30 days. It's a good balance. You know, it's considering each other's needs and just voicing your expectations and saying, hey, this is something that I need for part of this trip and making sure it happens and having that mutual respect and so okay, what is something you expect and we'll try to work to make sure that happens. You know, it's just, that's how it's a win win. You know when you do that rather than somebody has the expectation of how everything will go and it doesn't go according to plan and that's why I'm frustrated and you could take things personal and that's when it starts going sour.

Yeah. Well, you know, it's funny you say that another helpful tip is don't have any expectations. I've had to do that. Sometimes I expect a certain room facing having a certain view and then we get to the hotel, we have a terrible room with a terrible view. Oh my gosh, sometimes you can change it, but sometimes you can't and I've had these expectations or all the kids are just going to be so joyful and grateful because we're on vacation. What? And then they're not and I'm like so disappointed and we've done planing vacation. We've done a whole episode on expectations, but sometimes you just don't have to have any on the trip so that you don't get disappointed. Oh yeah, well something simple. Like, like I said, we tend to have specific wants in our hotel stay, right? So a pool is great, but we definitely want a hot tub depending on where we go, if it's a place that cools down in the evening time and after we've been out and about, we want to come home relaxing it, come home, come home to our hotel room and relax in a hot tub.

So we always check does I have a hot tub, doesn't have a hot tub. Both places we stayed said they had a hot tub and they did not. One actually was out of order that they had a pool that was very cold. So we didn't even do that. And then the next place we went to, they had refilled the hot tub with cement and now it was just a bigger patio area and you see the kidney shape this, some false advertising. Oh my gosh, but what do you do here? You're looking forward. You have this expectation, but that's why you're like, okay, that would be great. That would be a bonus. But if I, you know, I was so bummed, I was really bummed, but I was grateful they had a bathtub. I thought, okay, I'll just relax in the bathtub. So, but you do a lot of those things you kind of will happen. Just roll with, it reminds me of years ago we got, I got a hotel in Hilton head, which is, I know is that south Carolina, north Carolina. I get it. I think it's south anyway, it was our anniversary and I booked this hotel at an ocean view, right?

It was our anniversary. I'm splurging, we get there at night about eight p.m. So it was semi dark. The view of the ocean only occurred if you stepped out on the balcony which was over the parking lot and bent forward two ft leaned over and then turn your head to the right, we're like yeah no this isn't gonna work for us. And apparently they had no other room. So we checked out the next morning, we felt like no this is our anniversary, we're here for. Like I think it was like five days. So we checked out, went down the street, found another hotel with probably the most amazing view. It did work out. Do they refund you? They did refund us? They had no other rooms and we're like this is not an ocean view, there's in a way that you can advertise this is ocean view. And we told him as our anniversary. And it's so funny because the other hotel, the way the building went out, it was like the corner of the building was at an angle. So we had windows on two sides. So we had a double view up and down the beach. It was phenomenal. God really Worked that one out for you.

He really did. It was a blessing because but I remember that, that sinking feeling when you open the curtain and you're like, it's a parking lot, like and you can see the ocean unless I walk out on the balcony, man. Deceptive advertising. No good. Yeah. Do your, do your research before you go. Um, for sure. And that was a big one for me and I can get a little picky about our rooms. Like if I have that expectation like, but if they're going to be deceitful, I'm going to fight for it. If it's just, you know, maybe the linens aren't the right color. I'm okay with that. I can get over well and it can make or break your vacation, especially an anniversary. That's a true vacation. That wasn't true vacation. You're like, I expect more from this. Oh, fantastic. And I know going along with that is just communicating, right? Just being able to communicate our expectations, communicate even our boundaries. That's when I have written down as boundaries. So I know when we are together with extended family as well, I can get overwhelmed and I'm already not getting very much time to myself and it's something I've identified that I need, I need to have a little bit of time to myself just to recoup and process the day and make plans for the day or you know, just kind of check in with myself and so the cabin where we'll stay, I'll go out on the paddleboard first thing in the morning.

I wake up, do not 6 31 morning. I was woken up early at 5 30 36 30 as early education. I wake up six 30 and I go save the dock, you can have the dock all day long And then, but one morning I got woken up at 5:30 so I ended up, we'll just take my dog on a walk to go to the bathroom and I'll go save the dock and so I loaded our stuff down there and then I came back and just kind of relax. But then I will go on the paddleboard because I can go out for an hour by myself and it's very peaceful. The lake is calm, it's really nice but being able to communicate, hey, I need a little bit of time to myself and so this is what I would like to do and then my husband could be receptive. Okay, that's great. And what he likes to do to unwind this video games and so he'll bring his playstation and he'll play some video games and that's you know, it's a mutual respect but a communication, this is what I would need. So okay, so we'll work around it and then also obviously if you have kids, what the kids need food, maybe a nap downtime too well and that's another practical that I wanted to share with recognizing our limits, recognizing our kids limits, especially if we have young kids, we can go places and do do do and then they get overstimulated over tired, we have to remember to feed them, you know like we do not eat lunch, did she not eat lunch?

I am sorry to take care of yourself bro. You're seven now it's time to learn how to feed yourself. But yeah, recognizing their limits, their limits for them that they don't get over tired especially when they're young. But even like adults we have to recognize our limits. I'll never forget. One year my husband, I went to europe and we were in paris for just like a couple days and because We're not going there every year I tried to shove in like 10 things and Paris was at the end of our two week European adventure and so we're going from like museum to tourist attraction to site to site. I think we got back to our room at like eight or 9 pm and our fleet were covered with blisters and my husband to this day is like yeah it's no fun when my wife was taking me from place to place to place to place and I didn't recognize either of our limits. It was too much. But there was this feeling like scarcely here.

Yeah. I don't know when we're ever gonna back, you may never see it again and we need to see everything today and it just isn't really no fun which is funny. Usually I like to lay down and do nothing but when we're in foreign cities, european cities and I'm like we need to see everything in one day. So again recognize your limits. I obviously didn't do a good job that time with you live and you learn, right? Yeah, that's why we're sharing this tip so other people can learn without doing the hard way. And have, we literally were sitting on the edge of the bathtub with our feet in the water, in this Parisian hotel and we had buckets of ice and we just put the ice, it was so fun. And then what did you do the next day? We didn't do anything. I think we were leaving. I don't know what we did. We could barely walk. What? Oh my gosh, yeah, well it could backfire obviously. Right? But it's true. It's picking the things that you want to do and communicating and yeah, knowing your limits is so important. Yeah. He told me never wants to do that again. Like if that trip ever comes up, he's like, yeah, Claudine had us running from here to there, there there there, it was funny, I was like, but we're only there for a couple of days.

I was trying to see it all like, well, I think the big question is that we want our listeners to take in is what does vacation look like to you? You know, as we mentioned earlier, having this view of this vacation's coming up. What do you want it to be like, you know, you have to stay two and we were talking earlier how coming off of this vacation, I try to make it the best vacation for my family but not knowing my limitations. You know, I will burn myself out and run myself to the ground super exhausted because I'm doing everything and I'm trying to plan everything and you know, so everyone else has that relaxing experience that I want, but I don't get the relaxing experience. So just really gosh, what do I want this vacation to look like and go into it with that mentality. So that way you can carve out time for yourself and what you want to do to because you matter to and you know, if you are traveling with the family or even friends, you know, you get to have a say in what you want to do and that's like a boundary I had to learn, you know that hey, I, there's things I want to do and actually this last vacation I wanted to go on a hike.

I love going on a hike in the mountains and I wanted to take our dog and um, I ended up, it was going to be the day that we were leaving because we also decided to leave a day early because we were spent, I mean we're just so tired. So at a vacation after your vacation. So I spent 2, 2.5 hours packing up the car and organizing things and then after that I sat down and like, no, let's just go home. I just want to go home and watch movies all day. Yeah, that'll be my vacation sometimes. I think coming home, my husband and I have done that. We've done that. We've come home, we put the inflatable mattress in the living room floor and just watch tv for a few hours on like this. It is relaxing. Yeah. Well that's such a great point to and You know, his mom's a lot of times we're pushing ourselves, our family has a great experience and that's why when my kids were little, I was a huge proponent of the bomb, which was the burned out mothers break and it was a 24 get away with a few other moms. We left Friday after the kids.

You know, we had them set up after school, we left from there and came back saturday evenings, coordinated child care and all that. But it was such a wonderful opportunity for a handful of us to get away. Just moms, just us, no kids, no husbands, no other responsibilities dinner out. Um, I think we might have brought snacks for breakfast, but we had two meals out and then got home in time saturday for dinner. So it sounds like Ashley, you're about ready for that. And even though my Children are all adults, I would be happy to set this vacation for us. I will, I will keep that going. The burned out Mom's break the bomb the bomb and that's what we used to say. It's the bomb, the bomb. You know it's true because we do a lot of the responsibilities still travel. That's why at the beginning I said I call it a relocation because I'm still doing all the same stuff just in a different place. But yeah, you know you come back I need a vacation from my vacation. We've heard that all the time. It's a running joke but it's so true right?

It's so true. Especially for moms moms and if you have young Children Um absolutely it's very different. But I'll tell you after my 30 day road trip I needed a vacation. We actually got back on a Saturday afternoon, stayed at a friend's house and then sunday checked into our little Airbnb and we got into our pajamas like three in the afternoon and did nothing for like we watched tv for like six hours straight which we almost never watch tv at that. My husband won't sit still for six hours but he was so tired. I don't even know what we watched but we sat there for six hours and watch tv that was our little mini vacation. Another great practical is to affirm the positive things while you're on vacation because our brains are wired for negativity bias. That means we're more aware of those. I know shooting we are more, we went wrong right? The ocean view that's really a parking lot view everything right. We can focus our brains see the negative so quickly and it's a lot more work to see the positive and the good and so affirming it verbally, especially with Children, just as it just builds that neural pathway.

Like, wasn't it great today when we did this? Or wasn't it great today? I felt so peaceful. We can tight to our emotions or to the experience, there's so many ways, but to affirm it verbally and other people can jump in. Oh yeah, that was really fun and it's fun to hear everybody else's positive experience or positive emotion of the day because they're different. Yeah. How cool you felt that or you saw that? You know, it's a great way to just, I don't know, fill out the vacation. Really, give it some flash, so to speak. That will remember as you were talking, sparked my memory of another reason just weekend vacation recently and there is a certain moment in time where it was, it was really hard on me with one of my Children. I'm like, this is so frustrating and I wasn't saying anything, but in my head I'm like, oh and my child was extremely frustrated too. And so it, you know, you have to spend some time even like the conflict resolution or work through some of these emotions with your Children and later this child ended up voicing that was a highlight.

Oh, and I'm like, what? That was like a really challenging time. I didn't say anything. I'm like, all right, that's great, you know, but it was so interesting how it just I mean different perspectives. It was, it was funny, but as you said, if we can, you know focus on the positive things because that's one of the expectations, right? We also say we don't have any expectations but also go into it knowing that there's going to be positive, there's going to be negative. That's just life. It happens especially when you're traveling with multiple people, multiple needs, multiple desires. Um multiple limitations and thresholds right? That it's just going to happen. You know, it doesn't have to ruin the entire trip but just work through it and just talk about the, oh that was fun when we did today remember this, I remember that and just kind of reminisce you know, even an hour later on the car right back or I think that's I think that's great especially for kids because it helps them get out of that mindset of the negative thing that happened, you know, partly being that we have to leave.

Right, Well it's so funny you say that one of the worst trips we ever had with our four Children was after we left a trip we had been up in Tahoe at the time we were living in southern California. So the drive down, this is pre electronics. My friends, this is before tablets and cell phones and all this. My kids are quite a bit older but we're coming back and we have four Children and we had three rows. Right. And so we had two and two and they were like all fighting. Like even the little one with the older one and it was that like you're touching me, you're touching me and they're like, I'm not touching you constant just like hours of this. And my husband then was getting mad at me because I'm not keeping the kids quiet and he's trying to focus on driving and we had to keep pulling over and then we were switching them and rotating them. Okay now you're sitting, it was crazy. The next day we went and bought a little tv at Costco. I'll never forget. Never again. We're never going out on the road for this many hours without a distraction. And I'm sure there's some really efficient mothers out there who have, you know, eight hours worth of travel games and coloring books and all that.

You probably go find that on google. But anyway, we were not that organized and went and got a little tv and we never had that problem again ever. We never had all that bickering and fighting and right, she's in my space, she's in my scores. They needed to retirement. Part of it too is leaving. It's like, and then what happens you get home and then you remember that's the freshest memory. Gosh wasn't even worth it? Well I don't want to do that again. And then yeah, what can we do for next time? Well into this. Great. What I remember about that vacation is the negativity right? My brain is wired to. That was the worst car ride ever with our Children. And I don't even remember what else we did. I really don't like where were we coming from? OTA. What were we doing there? Where we stay there? So I said I didn't have this tip handy so many years ago to really affirm the positive things because I'm sure there were a lot of them. But all I remember is the negative car ride home. So which leads me to my last practical which is document the happy ones.

You know, take lots of pictures. I've got into the habit now of making photo books along the way. I download them. Um and then try to make the photo book along the way. So the memories are fresh. Like we stopped here. I really enjoyed this. I kind of attach my thoughts and perspectives on it with the pictures. That's that's been really helpful. And if you wait till they go on sale you can get these little photo books for pretty cheap. And um it's a great way. We have a little stack of them. Um actually still need to finish the road trip one. But yeah, it's a great way to document the trip and you see all the happy faces and the positive memories because usually when you're documenting it, you're just putting in the positive experiences and the positive pictures were not taking pictures of the kids fighting in the back. And so that's what will be remembered in. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So those are my practical for happy traveling with family or with just your spouse. Like clear as investors. We've had to learn a lot to make it enjoyable for both of us.

All right with all this, talk about travel, I'm about ready to book my next one. So, well I guess first I need to move and then I'll book the next one. But I hope these tips and practical have been helpful for all of you. And I love this Scripture I found in Ecclesiastes, I want to share. Ecclesiastes is to 20 for the best you can do with your life is have a good time and get by the best you can. The way I see it, that's it, divine fate. So, I hope your travel plans are a great time for you and your family until next time. All right, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the Rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode and while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know, it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Clotting Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com Are links are in the description.

We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Mhm. Right.

Ep. 84 Stress-free Vacationing Tips
Ep. 84 Stress-free Vacationing Tips
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