What a Beautiful Place to Be Grumpy!
Hopefully, like the cheerful woman in the picture, you have to wonder how anyone could be grumpy in such splendor.
However, for some families, traveling together is like packing two large dogs after a run in the mud, a couple of old grouchy cats, and a gopher in your suitcase, and hoping your clothes come out unscathed.
Do you know someone like this? They’d rather be home. They like their own bed. They hate crowds?
“Don’t plan a bunch of stuff that we have to do. I don’t want to do anything, just relax.”
Traveling is an ordeal with grumps in your family even if they are your favorite people. Ms. G. Stumpy might even be you. But even Sensitive Sam and Grumpy Stumpy go to some of the most sought-after vacation spots in the world and have a great time.
How do they do it?
Will you ever be able to get your Sensitive Sam past the front door?
Before you take off consider these basic needs. You can make it easier for Grumpy Stumpy and in so doing will make it easier for yourself and the rest of the family when you travel.
Allow Grumpy Travelers to Help Plan the Trip
We decided to drive to the Grand Canyon, and you can read why in an earlier post.
Some of the views, like these, are only accessible by car, while others are just available by tour bus. You can catch this stony tower and the rest of these travel shots at the East Rim of the Grand Canyon.
One step you can take so that everyone has fun is to let others plan the trip. It’s just like cooking, if they grow the vegetables and help cook the food, they will enjoy the meal more.
If you are ordinarily a planner, this means that you may have to step back and be satisfied with what they plan. Some travelers prefer to have others make the decisions and be flexible about the results. For the planners, here is a great video to plan your Grand Canyon trip.
Give them a job that they love. Even little ones adore being the photographer. Keeping busy behind the tripod might be the emotional safety net that the teen or adult in your group needs to enjoy the trip.
Everyone Needs His or Her Own Space
Traveling puts people in tighter quarters than they usually have at home. Unfamiliar roads, eateries, beds all add to travel anxiety. When you get to a place where you can spread out, take advantage of it.
None of this man’s family is sitting with him on the edge of paradise. There’s a reason for that. In families, different members enjoy different experiences.
You may be the one to make compromises and watch the kids or wait behind while someone takes a few minutes to themselves.
Or possibly you are the one who wanted to go down the trail, and your family member decided he’d sit at the top and watch. This may be stressful for family leaders who wish to make everyone to do what they want to do.
Hopefully, someone in the family has a sense of humor and is willing to follow the leader. With sensitive/grumpy families it’s probably best not to travel in groups of three where there are two leaders and only one follower!
Eight Cures for Tightly Packed Grouches
Finding emotional space when you’re in tight places, like the car may be more difficult.
If conversations heat up and the volume rises higher than the temperature in Arizona in August, try these temper tamers.
- Get lost in a book and have plenty of books, paper, audio, or digital for everyone to have an escape.
- Play a game.
- Allow the grumpy one to choose the music, or
- Take turns choosing the music.
- Bring earphones!
- Ignore the grump. Let your mind wander, soak up the scenery and block out the family disputes.
- Maybe someone in the group is a captivating storyteller. Remind them of a story you’ve enjoyed, and let them regale.
- If there’s a motion sensitive grump in the group, audiobooks work well to distract and stimulate.
When All Else Fails – Eat or Drink
Actually eating and drinking is a great diversion, no matter who does it. In this case, the squirrel built an entirely new community around its own needs. Everyone else forgot what made them grumpy.
If someone suffers from travel grumpiness, it may be that they suffer from low blood sugar. Travelers get hungry when they’re not on a schedule. You think about packing food for kids, but sometimes it’s the adult who needs sustenance to stay healthy emotionally.
So pack nuts. They travel well and are easily accessible from anywhere along the trail. You might lace the nuts with chocolate chips and dried cranberries for some added flavor and zing.
Squirrels eat nuts too.
This traveler had a long straw coming out of a water supply inside the backpack that sort of hung around his neck. Unlike the squirrel, he could take a sip when he wanted.
You might add some sandwiches, chips and cold drinks in your cooler. At the Grand Canyon, lunch costs almost as much as an egg during the Gold Rush. You stand in a long line for a sandwich from the refrigerated case. If you drive, pack a lunch. If the place you go has a great restaurant, you can eat your lunch later.
This trip provided enough interest so that everyone could do something they enjoyed, from sitting next to a loved one receiving a gentle back rub to a talking your girlfriend into taking a dangerous-looking hike down a canyon trail.
Maybe you can relate to some of these stressful vacation situations.
You may be the grump, or you may be the smoothie. Either way, you can help the vacation by packing emotional health tricks as well as your digital camera.
So turn that family grump into a photographer or blogger, storyteller, or reader and enjoy more of your next vacation.
For more fun walks around the world check out these two blogs.