If your family never went on vacation when you were a kid, consider yourself lucky because you probably have a dozen fewer mental issues than those of us that have those experiences under our belts. An inclination toward violent rage still possess us when someone utters “Are we there yet?” or “Mom, I have to pee,” our younger sister’s two favorite phrases during a 14-hour car ride. We’re diagnosed fannypackaphobics, breaking down in sheer terror every time we see a neon fanny pack reminiscent of the one Dad wore on every trip. Family vacations are taxing, but now that we’re adults, we are able to jet set off to popular vacation spots with friends or a significant other and, thank god, says the fanny pack. If you’re having a difficult time returning to the same vacation spot where you were once mortified or bored to tears by a family vacation experience, here are some tips on how to how to make classic spots a blast.
The Disney World Trip
Weekday, round-trip tickets from Akron Canton to Orlando International Airport starting at $257 + park admission.
Regardless of how old you are, Disney World can be a blast for anyone. You may need to avoid the teacup ride, where your brother once threw up on you; even though it totally prepared you for life in college, it’s still a haunting memory. Also, make a point to avoid the guy in the Mickey suit; your pre-teen feelings are still pummeled by his unsolicited, under-his-breath remark about smelling puke during your photo together.
Spend the day soaking up the sun, riding rides and pigging out on the giant, roasted turkey legs that you never got to eat when you were a kid because Mom always said if you got one, your brother will want one, and “We don’t want another teacup-ride incident, do we?”
The Vegas Trip
Weekday, round-trip tickets from Akron Canton to McCarran International Airport starting at $384.
As a kid, Vegas trips could potentially be the lamest vacations ever. Oh joy, three days of sitting in a hotel daycare while mom and dad gamble away your college fund. If you were lucky, on the last day when mom and dad split even or, better yet, won some money, they’d spring for a trip to an aquarium or circus, a shining beacon of hope at the end of an otherwise horrible vacation. However, if you overheard your dad talking about the dealers being assholes, you instantly knew any hope of fun was gone, and the conclusion of the trip would be an hour looking around M&M World, where you beg your parents for a souvenir, but since everything is so expensive, you get a pack of M&Ms from a convenient store as a consolation prize. Vegas when you’re an adult is a whole different ball game. They don’t call it Sin City for nothing, but it’s hard to get your sin on when you’re cooped up in a daycare all day. Gamble it all away. Get fucked up. Make some bad decisions, and regardless of whether you win or lose, go ahead and buy yourself something nice from M&M world.
The City Trip
Weekday, round-trip tickets from Akron Canton to New Yorks’ LaGuardia Airport starting at $169.
After all these years, you can finally skip the elevator-induced nausea of the Empire State Building, the mothball-old-people reek of Ellis Island, and the eye-rolling embarrassment of a family photo in Time Square. This time, you can venture off the tourist track and explore NYC like a native. You can catch a cab to downtown Manhattan after you drink some overpriced cans of PBR from the corner store. You can slink around the darkest, loudest bars the city has to offer, and afterwards take a walk around the city and appreciate its splendor with a nice buzz. Ahh.
The Cruise Trip
Four-night Bahamian cruise starting at $199 + airfare to departing location, Port Canaveral, Florida.
You had to practice restraint and good taste before when confronted with the open sea, open food carts and open bar. Now you’re free to unleash the Kraken. Go ahead and eat two full lobsters. Wash them down with a pile of escargot and a glass of gin and juice. No one’s going to stop you. Go ahead and roast in the Jacuzzi all afternoon. No one’s there to tell you to get to dinner on time. Just try to resist the urge to reenact the “I’m the king of the world!” Titanic scene after 18 sex on the beaches.
The Florida Beach Trip
Weekday, round-trip tickets from Akron Canton to Savannah/ Hilton Head National Airport starting at $284.
Instead of sticking to your family’s routine of beach in the morning, dinner in the evening and bed by 9 p.m., you can now spend every day however the hell you want. You can sleep in until noon and then lay on a raft in the pool until the sun goes down. You can ignore the lame silver-painted tin man imposter on the boardwalk. You can eat ramen noodles for dinner and go on 2 a.m. beach walks with only your iPhone’s flashlight guiding your way. The beach is now at your disposal, and you can do whatever you want with it.
The Grand Canyon Trip
Weekday, round-trip tickets from Akron Canton to Arizona’s Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport starting at $278.
How were you supposed to truly appreciate one of the seven natural wonders of the world when the entire time you were descending the canyon, your sister was bitching about all of her mule problems? “My mule’s going too fast. My mule’s going too slow. My mule is so uncomfortable. My mule keeps nipping at my leg. My mule smells.” Go to the Grand Canyon now and silently soak in what an amazing sight it is. Channel your inner mountaineer and go for an invigorating hike or do some rock climbing, all in perfect silence. If being all sweaty and dirty gets you hot and bothered, take a dip in a nearby waterfall with your significant other and check “outdoor sex” off your bucket list if you haven’t already.
The Foreign Country Trip
Weekday, round-trip tickets from Cleveland Hopkins to London’s Heathrow International, Europe’s busiest airport, starting at $801.
To this day, any time your family’s trip to Europe comes up, your dad never fails to mention his complete shock when he noticed European women did not shave their underarms. You clearly remember the feeling of complete and total mortification when your dad, fascinated as he was, tried to snap a not-so-discreet photo of a tank-top-wearing waitress’s armpit as she reached across your table. In addition to the mortification, the vacation permanently exhausted any interest you had in art museums. The 15 you attended during your family vacation is enough to last you a lifetime, so avoid the cheesy, tourist stuff and experience some real shit. Get plastered in a London pub, sip something with expresso while in Rome, rave your ass off in Amsterdam and maybe even hook up with a cute French girl in Paris. Bring back a picture of her pits for dad, if you can.
The Canada Trip
Weekday, round-trip tickets from Cleveland Hopkins to Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson’s International Airport starting at $551.
You probably know aboot the treats of Toronto, and the wonders of Windsor, eh? Well, now you can wander into those bars your parents tugged you past when you were 19 and legally allowed to drink in those parts. You can spend a night blowing all your $2 Canadian coins that don’t work in American vending machines. You can even search for a moose or two that your parents always told you to stay away from.
The Camping Trip
Logan Ohio’s Hocking Hills campground cost starting at $27 + a tank of gas to get you there.
No more PG-rated marshmallow roasting ‘round the bonfire. Now, you can go buck wild in the woods with your buddies. You don’t have to sing a round of “Row, row, row, your boat,” which uncle Fred always messed up. You can rap a 50 cent song instead while you sit in camp chairs and tip back your favorite beverage. Instead of lights-out at 11, you can search for Bigfoot all night or film your own Blair Witch Project.
The Hawaii Trip
Weekday, round-trip tickets from Cleveland Hopkins to Hawaii’s Kona International Airport starting at $1017.
Your first mistake was letting your older brother talk you into watching “Dante’s Peak” the day before you left. All you could think about the entire trip was the fact that Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano was active and way too close for comfort. As a college student, you have now been introduced to the concept of #YOLO and understand the importance of living it up wherever you go, even if you could be burned to death by a volcano eruption at any moment. Forget about the volcanoes and sip milk from a coconut, bask on the beach, go snorkeling and watch some whales. If you still can’t stop obsessing about the volcanoes, they say the best way to take your mind off something is with some good-ol’-fashioned hokey pokey. Give your guy a private and steamy demonstration of what you learned during your hula class, and you’ll get an eruption you can be excited about.
*Check out Priceline.com for the flight and cruise prices listed.