lifestyle · travel

Vacation Rules: According to Teens

Our mom needs vacation rules
My teens are super excited about touring another cathedral in Barcelona, Spain. This is after I told them cathedrals aren’t just for Sundays! They’re most likely praying I follow their vacation rules.

For the record, I didn’t agree to these rules before our home exchange trip to Spain. These rules were just announced to me by my teens and put into place once we arrived. I can see why the first one came to be but the other two – come on! A girl’s got to live, right?

Vacation Rules: According to Teens

  1. No losing the passports
  2. No going bare-buck (skinny dipping, swimming in natural waters without proper bathing attire)
  3. No public display of affection “PDA” by parents

Yep, I broke them all in a matter of about 10 minutes and no matter what you’ve heard about my behavior, here’s the real story…

Rule #1: No losing the passports

Yes, good idea to keep hold of those. It’s amazing how often you need to show your passports in Europe and it’s best to keep them handy. My husband kept his in his money belt and I was in charge of mine and the kids’ passports. I was keeping those three in a plastic bag, inside my backpack. While in the airport, I kept them in my wallet, which I turned into a “fanny-pack” of sorts for the trip.

Chic fanny pack
I kept the passports in this wallet that I turned into a chic “fanny-pack.” Can chic and fanny-pack be used in the same sentence?

While we were camping and traveling along the coast, near Cabo de Gata, and hiking down to different beaches in the national park area, I couldn’t find the passports. You see, we have a verbal checklist when camping: gas? food? water? and when we camp in Europe – passports? It’s a good checklist except when I’m responsible for the passports and I can’t find them.

I immediately began to sweat. That’s what happens when I break a rule like “don’t lose the passports.” I frantically tore my backpack apart saying, “I just saw them today. Maybe I left them at the campsite.” Which probably wasn’t the best idea because we had a tent there and tents don’t have locks.

After scouring the rental car and my backpack for the missing passports, my husband said, “Don’t worry about it. I made copies of them, so let’s just go cool off in the water. We can’t do anything about it now.” He’s always calm like that and thankfully never gets mad at me for things like this because when your nickname is “Internet Girl” and your thoughts are in a million places like mine, it happens more than I like to admit!

Vacation rules for bloggers who need them!
My husband contemplating the cool waters of the Mediterranean Sea and how is wife could lose 3 passports in such a short period of time.

As we hiked down towards the ocean, I continued sweating and freaking-out inside my head, when I said, “Wait a minute – I think I know where they are!” And sure enough, there they were inside my cute little “fanny-pack” waist wallet, right where I had put them that morning – inside my husband’s backpack!

In the heat of southern Spain, the frenzy of searching for those cussin’ passports, and the hiking, I was sweating big time! When we got to the water, I realized I didn’t have my bathing suit on, didn’t have it with me like I had those passports, and it was back in the rental car. What’s a girl to do?

Rule #2: No going bare-buck (skinny dipping, swimming in natural waters without proper attire)

We won’t go into the reasons why my teens felt the need to add this rule but all I can say is there’s nothing better than going bare-buck on a hot day in cool water. Before the breaking of this rule, I gave my teens fair warning:

I shouted, “Avert your eyes or forever be sorry!”

Teens who give vacation rules
The teens agreed to this picture with me since I was wearing proper bathing attire. The sand was so hot, we had to stand in the water. Las Negras, Cabo de Gata, Spain.

Luckily, the beach was pretty isolated and only one other couple was there. This couple was close to the “clothing is optional” rule themselves and did not pay any attention to this crazed American tourist who was stripping down to her birthday suit and jumping into the cool refreshing Mediterranean Sea. They did leave shortly after we arrived so maybe naked moms are offensive.

3. No public display of affection “PDA” by parents

Maybe it was the cool refreshing water or the relief of having found those passports but as we hiked up the steep hill, back to the car, my husband and I held hands. Now, it’s not as if we were groping one another in the way that if you saw a couple on a street corner totally engrossed in one another, you might yell out to them, “Get a room!” as you drive by as I’ve been known to do from time to time. It wasn’t like that. We were holding hands while walking. That’s it. The second the “crime” took place, the teens swooped in and said, “Ok, that’s enough. You’re being completely inappropriate and people might see you.” This was said while we were being pushed apart and separated by our off-spring. And the “people might see you” part? There wasn’t another soul in sight.

Rules on vacation? Yes, it seems I do need them. Do you?

Go Gingham related links:

Meet Internet Girl – she’s easily distracted and likes shiny things on the web!
Seven quick ways to get a teen to leave the room – tried and true methods
Technology free Sundays and more family rules that work for our family
Parents make mistakes, too, and it’s not pretty!
When traveling, I love to home exchange because it’s frugal and fun!
Home from Spain” post is here with more pictures

20 thoughts on “Vacation Rules: According to Teens

    1. Oh, Cathy…I’m sure you’re getting little tastes of it already 🙂 It’s a wild ride, for sure! Just keep laughing – it helps – but no laughing AT the teens – that never helps. Good luck!!


  1. Lol…our kids are completely grossed out by any sign of PDA between my husband and me too. And skinny dipping? You rebel!


    1. I know!! Totally out of control! Your teens are older so I”m sure you’ve had VERY similar experiences, too.


  2. Hi Sara,
    In your post your husband said he made copies of the passports. Will copies work, or was this for purposes of getting passports reissued? Just a question, because it is one of my worries when traveling, that we’ll lose our documents. That, and worrying I’ll lose our cash!

    Funny teens rules!


    1. Lili, copies do NOT work but in case they do get lost, we’ve got the passport numbers. The passport numbers just make getting them replaced easier. I also write down the phone # to whatever US Embassy is close by – this time I wrote down Barcelona and Madrid – just in case. In our 9 times of taking kids out of country (4 of them home swaps to Europe) nothing has ever been lost and we’ve never had a problems but I like to have a backup plan.
      And, I didn’t hold on to any cash….I left that job for my husband!!


  3. You rock, Sara! So glad you broke the rules! Even the passport rule – because it shows that you really are super reliable after all. I think we should make a different list of “Teen Rules” – including, no rolling eyes in cathedrals, smiling and finding ways to be helpful at all times, and hugging your mom for planning a great trip for the family!!!


    1. Annie, you’re so sweet! Yes, I like the teen rules myself!! I did not plan any of this trip – other than what I was going to wear – my husband did it all. He is our trip planner and does a fabulous job. For me, that is the biggest vacation – I plan/organize/run our every day lives and he does the vacations. I love it! So, no, my kids would have to hug their dad for the planning of this trip!!


  4. My teens don’t mind PDA so much as my dog. Whenever my husband and I hug, the dog gets all huffy and tries to break us up!


    1. Oh my goodness, Lisa, THAT is too funny! I’ve never heard of a dog being so territorial. Crazy. Thanks for that funny visual 🙂


  5. That is hilarious entry! When we went on vacation with our niece recently (she’s 13) we were playing Yahtzee at happy hour, and she did not want us to shout “YAHTZEE” if we rolled one. But of course when I got one it had to be done. I mean, really, one just doesn’t get enough opportunities to yell that in life. And I am pretty sure I got some appreciative glances from folks around me.


    1. Yes, you must shout out ‘YAHTZEE’ if you roll one!! BUT, having a 13 yo myself, I can picture the eye rolling, looks and other antics 🙂 Who won the game? I love YAHTZEE, too!


  6. Thank you for this – I eagerly asked for these rules! All very fair (but I’m closer to teenager, or trying to be!). Funny how you broke them all too – though I don’t think hand holding is THAT bad! And nudity, well I don’t think any of us could TRY for that on a family holiday. Passports, and the eldest I often got that duty – see I like forms, I took 6 pens to India – one for each person and a spare, the check in lady was aghast! Keep rebelling it up!


    1. Love the attitude! You sound like a teen, too 😉 It was fun breaking them all and I look forward to breaking more!! Thanks, Sarah!!


  7. I love the way you flout the rules! Good for you. Your vacation sounds like it was enjoyed by all. Such great memories. The kids will have something to talk about when they get back with their friends – “You’ll never believe what our parents did THIS time!”.


    1. Heidi, so true! It was a great trip and I’m so happy for cooler weather now that we’re home and I’ve found my ankles again 😉 They had disappeared in the heat!


    1. Thanks, Kerry! I’m just trying to have fun in life and if that means breaking rules – so be it!


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