Summer vacation! Family travel season! Here’s a piece of advice from a well-seasoned traveler … know what to expect! Parents are looking for places to spend time with their kids. Singles, empty-nesters and child-free couples are looking for ways to avoid all those kids. No matter which way you prefer to travel, with or without kids, there’s one thing for certain: If you end up in the wrong place it can ruin your day.
You have a couple of choices … go with the flow or avoid at all costs. Just know that whichever you choose, unless you are booked at an adults-only venue, you are likely to encounter little ones at some point. You will even see families with children enjoying a meal in a bar.
It’s easy to say, but even if you travel all the time, you can still find yourself in frustrating situations like the one that recently happened to us.
Recently, Greg and I made reservations for a mine tour in Tombstone, Arizona. Reservations were required due to Covid-19 restrictions, so I chose a time slot online, paid for the tour and we showed up at the appointed time.
As we checked in, we noticed a “family” of five. It turned out to be grandparents with three grandsons in tow – a boy of about ten and a pair of seven-or-so year-old twins. In the five minutes we waited for the tour to begin, the twins were loud and rowdy and the older brother was a bit of a bully. We gave each other eye-rolling “oh no!” glances. Neither of us had expected kids. I can’t explain why we didn’t expect them … maybe it was the cost of the tour; maybe it was the fact that a mine tour isn’t typically what draws people to Tombstone. No matter why they were there, we braced for a disrupted tour experience!
Our story has a happy ending. Our tour guide saw the same interaction between these three brothers and shut them down in the first moments of the tour. When they started to act up mid-tour, he shut them down again. “Dan” repeatedly warned the grandparents about the dangers in the mine for anyone who wanders away or doesn’t pay attention. He wasn’t mean about it, but we got the sense that he was more serious with our tour, hinting at a few jokes, but holding back others. We laughed it off and moved on, spotting the group several times at other locations as we strolled the town.
We like kids! In fact, a tradition we’ve started is to offer a “trip with Grandma and Grandpa” as a birthday gift when each of our grandchildren turns ten. Turning Ten Comes With a Trip was a huge success. I’ve often remarked that one of my favorite sounds is the sound of laughing, happy children. BUT … when you’re not expecting kids and the potential for explosive fun or drama that comes with them, it can throw off your mood – don’t let it by being prepared.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored and kids want to explore it, too.
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