Mistakes Parents Make While Traveling.

It’s Saturday and I’m wide awake


so I think it’s time to use my seventeen years of experience serving the public constructively and judge others. Don’t you agree?

I knew you would. We’re a perfect team, aren’t we?

The timing is serendipitous; the hotel is overrun with cheerleaders, hockey teams and the usual wandering suspects so I have plenty of subjects to exploit choose from. So let’s examine just where many of these progenitors go wrong as they travel the Canadian highways and byways.

1)  They forget/ignore the stakes.

Family trips stay imbedded in a child’s memory forever. Period. Whether that recollection is of a positive nature or not depends largely on the action’s of the family overseers. If mom and dad fail to see the Big Picture, they’ll pay for it down the road, trust me.

Many of us have images of our younger selves crammed into the back seat of the Familymobile, singing travelin’ tunes – badly – and watching our parents fuss with maps while adjusting the radio volume every time the car made another noise. Inevitably, the backseat volume drowned out the radio and a single threat was issued;

“If you kids don’t knock it off, I swear to God, I’ll drive this car off the next cliff we come to. You can say ‘We’re sorry, Daddy!’ all you want as we plunge to a fiery death, but it’ll be too late!”

Or was that just my family that made such declarations? oh well, you get the point, right? Family trips can become precious memories or nightmares, the choice is up to you, mom and dad.

2)  They let their little devils off the leash.

In some cases, the rugrats don’t even have leashes and this can be a fatal mistake that others pay for. Just because your kids are capable of wiping their own arses doesn’t mean they’re in a position to self-govern, folks. Now, I know what you’re thinking,

“But Hook, our kids never seem to run out of energy, so we let them go wild after they’ve been cooped up in the car for seventeen hours and they wind down – eventually! If we don’t let them go, they’ll be up all night and the hubby and I won’t get a chance to play ‘The UPS delivery man and the housewife who can’t cover the COD cost of her package!’ and that would suck!”

Incidentally, folks, that was an actual quote from a guest I served yesterday. My response?

“I hate to say it, miss, but everyone around you, myself included, has no vested interest in your ability to achieve orgasm while your children slumber. Your fellow travelers have spent good money to be here and all they want is a little peace and quiet. Granted, they’re not going to get it with a cheerleading competition and a hockey tournament here, but your kids aren’t helping by reenacting Lord of the Flies in the lobby!”

And for the record, the young lady understood my position fully and after she finished spitting her coffee out, she not only tipped me large, she flirted with me while her husband parked the mini-van and her kids, you guessed it, continued to run wild!

There’s win in there somewhere, I know it…

I’m quite tall, I’m afraid I have to be brief, folks. The first call of the day awaits and so the lesson ends here.

For now.

See you in the lobby, kids….

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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52 Responses to Mistakes Parents Make While Traveling.

  1. Paul says:

    You gotta take your small wins where you find them Hook. At least you got a little flirt. That’s something – you big, uniformed, hunk of take charge, you. Ha!

    I was walking down the street about midnight Friday and it was full of students – mostly from the nearby university – as it was the first Firday night above freezing this year. They were bouncing and loud and laughing and acting out, and it was a joyous occassion. It occurred to me that our young are constantly in homes, classrooms, public buildings, etc, where they are told to be quiet and behave and be still. They need to bounce around and be loud in uncontrolled circumstances sometimes and we are trying to program that out of them – without much success. Sorry that seems to be happening in your workplace Hook, but just sayin’. Have a great rest of the day!

  2. Marian Green says:

    If only there was a place that wasn’t the hotel lobby where they could run free… Say outside! I know it’s a novel concept. 🙂

  3. Steph says:

    I love your stories about hotel life! People are so weird.

  4. janeybgood says:

    When I was a kid and went anywhere with my mother, she would hiss “if you so much as MOVE, that big scary man over there is going to take you away”. It has had absolutely no adverse effect on my whatsoever. Ahem. Also, if kids are scared of you, now you know why.

  5. Mikels Skele says:

    Even as we speak, we are paying for the ideology that children’s “natural joyful inquisitiveness” must not be stifled at all costs. We now have children in their 20s and 30s still fully expressing those annoying qualities.

  6. Whenever my little brother and I went on road trips, my mom would always yell at me saying, “If you don’t control your brother right now I will make sure you DO NOT get good food and eat only vegetables for the entire week!” And to my brother my dad would say, “If you don’t stop whining then I’ll throw away your sister’s laptop so that way you can’t play any games.”
    In any case, I would totally get screwed even though I’d sit quietly and stay at my place.

  7. susielindau says:

    You have the patience of a saint, Hook!

  8. Ned's Blog says:

    “COD,” “Package,” “Would suck”… I think she was flirting long before your remark. But like me, being a married man, we fail to pick up on these subtleties until later… like some day in our 70s when we’re whittling wood on the porch… “Heyyyyy, I think that woman in room 42A back in 2014 was getting fresh!”

  9. That was greatness!! And I’m still amazed at the things people tell strangers!!

  10. 1jaded1 says:

    Ugh! What happens to some people when they have kids?? I know someone who grumbled when kids would randomly run up to his table at a restaurant. Now his kid does it and he calls it “making friends”.

  11. Trent Lewin says:

    I imagine you could write a book about this stuff, odd things parents do on vacation. My wife keeps a half-full piece of tupperware under the car seat that doubles as a potty… it’s awesome. And yes, the fiery crash threat comes up quite a bit…

  12. My childhood family trip was a nightmare.

  13. Katie Renee says:

    Your family vacation memories sound a lot like mine. Only in mine, my sister always seemed to throw up at the most inopportune times. Usually while trapped in the back row next to me.

    Also, I support child leashes. Granted, I don’t have kids. But I can’t stand the screaming, crying, or general noise. Children run up to me and then turn around and quickly run away. I don’t mean to be rude or mean, but unless they can speak to me in actual words and convey some sort of something that makes sense, I don’t know what to do besides look with disdain and attempt to identify their guardian. I just don’t understand people these days…

  14. A hotel full of jocks and cheerleaders. *shudders*

    I grew up in an RCAF family. Road trips for us (3 kids) included Nova Scotia to Winnipeg and the reverse. Done it a few times, both as kid and parent of three. I get PTSD if someone sings “Down By The Bay” (where the watermelons grow…). Arghhh.

  15. Oh Robert!! That was definitely a win! 🙂 🙂

  16. girlseule says:

    I remember my parents swearing every time we went away, “this is the last bloody time we take you kids anywhere!!!!”

  17. R. C. Black says:

    I too spit my coffee out. I gotta stop by more often. Your glorious tales remind me of my days of placating the public. Or as it’s also known: owning a store. A game, home-made fudge and espresso bar store. What parent wouldn’t leave their children alone to run amok while crossing the street to get the hell away from their beloved spawn? I too had both locations in tourist towns. My heart: it bleeds for you.
    Thank god for clinical depression and an inability to continue dealing with the masses. I get to hear new and bizarre stories right here!

    I’m pretty sure my sign read Cabin Fever Games and Diversions. It may have read Cabin Fever Leave Your Kids and Hit The Pub: Your Vacation Babysitting Service. It’s been 10 years though and I did do a lot of drinking and drugs in college.
    I used to kick the little fuckers out. In a pleasing tone that would not garner anger, torches and pitchforks from the angry absentee parents.
    “Kid, where are your parents?”
    “Down the street.”
    “Go find them, tell them you need to bring back a $20.00 and we can do a demo of the new Do It Yourself Home Dentistry Play Set.”
    “Cool! Let me go get my mom.”

    17 years you’ve been doing this? Without the ability to kick people out? You are a braver man than I Gunga Din. You’re also a helluva employee and human being. Your response to that woman was priceless. It was definitely worth more than a $20.00 and a demo.

    Funny shit my friend. .Keep on herding those cats-in-person-suits and let the true stories roll!

  18. maurnas says:

    My dad would threaten to drive into a pole and kill us all. He was such an awful driver that we all believed him.

  19. It’s about time someone tipped you large!

  20. bardictale says:

    They never threatened to drive us off the cliff, but then again, we weren’t the ones singing…

  21. lensgirl53 says:

    #1 verifies that we were ALL abused on family vacations. I could see my father’s veins bulging as I sat within pinching distance from the driver’s seat to my usual position behind the passenger’s seat. It was a very vulnerable place to be unless you were my mother who had to be up front trying to fold the damned map to its original shape. Ahhhh, the memories. Thank you for that trip down memory lane. 🙂

  22. valleygirl96 says:

    Awesome, as usual! You always make me laugh!

  23. curvyroads says:

    Hook, you seriously must have the patience of a saint. I would last about a minute before killing some lame example of the human race…glad you at least got a great tip! 🙂

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