Change Up Your Roles on Vacation

July 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If your family is like mine, everyone has specific roles. Someone does the dishes, someone mows the lawn, someone cooks dinner, and still others go to work at a 9-to-5 job.

And yet, when we go on vacation, it seems like the only person to get a break is the person who has the actual job. Everyone else is still in their same roles as at home. (Well, the person mowing the lawn gets a break too.)

Coleman stove

My dad used to cook on a stove like this when we camped on our vacations.

When you’re a family traveling on a budget, one of the best ways to save money is to rent a house and cook meals in it, reducing the number of times you eat in a restaurant. In my family of five, we can spend $100 at a casual diner without putting much effort into it. But when we make our meals in a vacation house, we can stretch $100 over a week of dinners.

And if your family is like my family, the roles stay pretty much the same. If my wife makes dinner at home, regardless of what else she does during the day, she makes dinner on vacation. If the kids clear the table and load the dishwasher at home, they clear the table and load the dishwasher on vacation.

(I do have to admit, I don’t get to cook as much as I’d like, because I’m more than a bit messy. And I have delusions of Anthony Bourdain, so I’m a bit less budget friendly.)

But one thing we try to do on vacation is to change our roles a bit. Not always, and not perfectly, but we’ll trade jobs. I’ll cook dinner a couple times, or I’ll load the dishwasher while the kids cook. It’s a nice break, and it gives the kids a chance to hone their cooking skills. (My kids are also old enough that they’ll need to use those skills in just a couple short years, so it’s good practice.)

We also change up the planning on occasion. My wife is the planner of the family, but I’ll schedule a day or two on vacation, and we’ll try something new or go somewhere different. We’ve also let the kids choose the activities for the day once in a while.

We don’t do it every time, but when we do, it’s good to have some variety in our lives, and vacation is a great place to do it. For one thing, vacation should be for everyone, which means everyone gets a break from normal life. For another, it’s a chance to learn new skills or even brush up on the old ones.

My point is, don’t let your vacation just turn into your home life in a different place. Give each other a break once in a while. Who knows? You might find a new way of doing things once you return home.

Do you change up roles when you’re on vacation? Who takes on which role? Let us hear from you. Leave us a comment below on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Jason McArthur (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)


Erik Deckers is a travel writer, as well as a content marketer and book author. He is the co-author of Branding Yourself, No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine. Erik has been blogging since 1997, and has been a newspaper humor columnist for over 20 years

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