Travelling With The In-Laws

There aren’t many things that are as close to being in hell as travelling with your in-laws, obviously depending on your in-laws.  I for one don’t mind it and I have wonderful in-laws, but yet there are still things to be mindful about travelling with in-laws. Travelling in general puts you in a situation where you’re completely out of your comfort zone, and having the added stress of faking nice to the in-laws can be exhausting.  So here are some simple tips that I have used to some extent, to make the experience smooth flowing, and some my friends have suggested that are tried and true.

  • Must have alone time, whether you go to a quirky museum on your own or have a coffee by yourself, just you – don’t invite your partner as conversations about the in-laws will come up, this is your time to take a break from all of that
  • If they are not willing to compromise on the food, sit and be kind when you’re with them, maybe sipping on coffee or a drink and then have your lunch elsewhere. They will get it eventually and you won’t feel resentful.  You don’t have to do this every time but maybe once in a while (for every 3 meals they have their way, the 4th as your own prerogative)
  • Practice tuning out – granted this is a very difficult skill to acquire but if you start practicing a few months before your trip it will save you a lot of anxiety when you’re the driver and you have them criticising your servicing or giving you unsolicited advice on directions
  • Make sure you go through the agenda (even if it’s a rough idea) before you travel, and make sure everyone is clear and agrees with the places you want to visit and see
  • Send them pix of the hotel and give them the number before you travel so they can ask any questions to the hotel. This will mentally prepare them and save you daily negative critiques of  your accommodations potentially ruining your trip (same applies with airplanes and the assigned seats)
  • Lock yourself in a quiet room (usually the bathroom) and think about the trip, what was great and rationalize the annoyances before you blow up. Try this at least twice a day depending on the frequency of aggravation, remember it is all temporary
  • Remember you don’t have to answer or comment, sometimes silent is more expressive than answering back. With a direct look and a silent moment any ridicules comment they say will be answered more boldly than lashing out.  Helps keep your dignity and send the message loud and clear to them (they often realise their silliness and try to fudge it).  This will also need some practice before the trip.
  • Make sure you don’t lash out at your kids (if there are any) because of your in-laws, it’s not their fault or their battle
  • Make it clear to your partner that you have a breaking point and if they don’t somehow relay this message (diplomatically) to the in-laws – shit might hit the fan eventually (your partner should be equally uneasy if there is tension and should not be oblivious to the whole thing) at least until the trip is over
  • If there is a money issue where you paid for something expecting them to reimburse you, take it from your partner , or have your partner be your collection agency
  • Remember to ignore, ignore, ignore – better a trip than living with your in-laws for a lifetime!

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