The Ten Commandments of Family Travel
The new rules of travel
The rules of travel: they were different BC. Before Children. Both Kirstie and I knew the game would change, we just didn’t know how. We went up on to the mountain top but no-one handed us tablets of stone. We had to figure out the new rules for ourselves. After 14 years of Family Travel, I think we’ve got them sussed. Haven’t we?
1 You shall have no other Gods before me
The child king will be worshipped at all times. During babyhood many will bring gifts and worship with you. As he hits the tween and teen years, you’re probably on your own. But you need to be prepared to answer his call. His call will come at night. Just when you have got comfortable in your bivvy bag and the toilets are the other side of the camp site.
2 You shall not make idols
No, not idols. You will not make them. You will however make sandcastles, corn dollies, loom band bracelets, dens, dams, paper boats, silly faces in public and make an utter fool of yourself. Often.
3 Remember the Sabbath day
Yes, remember it. The Sabbath. That mythical day of rest. Remember it. For that’s all you will be able to do. It is no more. Gone. Forever. Keep moving please.
4 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
You will be tempted, sorely tempted. When the plane is delayed and your car gets stuck in traffic. When your princess tantrums in the hotel lobby. When your baby throws beans at fellow diners before throwing up in the restaurant you can never go back to. When your toddler draws on the sheets and your tweens insists on a lie-in when you’ve only got one day to explore the city of your dreams. Then, and many other times, you will want to take the name of your God in vain. But you won’t, at least not out loud. It sets a bad example and will only be repeated back at you later.
5 Honour your father and your mother
Your parents probably did the best they could with you. Sure they made mistakes. But they had their hands full. Just like you. Now that you understand that, don’t they deserve a little respect? And mark my words, judgement day is coming for you too. While your child may call you the best mummy or daddy in the world at age four, by age fourteen you are a less than a locust. And they are happy to inform you about your status on a gondola in Venice. Or they can oblige by shouting it from the top of The Vatican if you really want to get religious. Yes, honour your father and mother but don’t disappoint yourself by expecting your kids to honour you back.
6 You shall not murder
At times you may feel like it. But it’s really not an option. Not even with other people’s kids. Not even in another country where different laws apply. Love will conquer all. After you have paid for them to do a gap year.
7 You shall not commit adultery
It might seem like an attractive way out. Other people’s families may appear more lovely than yours but behind the façade there is the same battle for the wifi, the same socks that haven’t been changed for a month, the same raiding of the family piggy bank that has been double sealed with elephant tape. Anyway, better the devil you know and all that.
8 You shall not steal
I have to admit some difficulty with this. As a general rule it’s fine but it’s hard to know how far to take it. I mean what about napkins, restaurant crayons, sachets of ketchup, the odd roll from the buffet breakfast, sneaking four into a room for three? Does that count? Isn’t all this just the perks of booking half board?
9 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour
This is one of the hardest rules of the Old Testament. You must not lie on Facebook. Even if the hotel beds are like steel, the party in the pool has worked its way into your head, and only your fellow guests are less appealing than the breakfast buffet. Thou shalt always be having a good time and better weather than your neighbour. The truth is only for Trip Advisor, when a decent amount of time has passed.
10 You shall not covet your neighbour
I know that lego free, childless resort next door may look more attractive. But would you REALLY want to go back there? And as for that singleton on the other side, is he REALLY as happy and carefree as he makes out? Would you really swap your dirty old Citroen Picasso for a classic MG? A family sized pizza for a romantic meal for two? You will also find the no coveting rule extends to your neighbour’s wife, his cleaner, the gardener, his ox, donkey and lawn mower. And yes, sadly his new titanium Bradley Wiggins endorsed bike.
Read your bible. It’s all in there.
What are your family travel commandments?
Have you got any rules of family travel you’d like to share? Do leave a comment and let us know.