Family Vacation Commercials – Selling the Unrealistic Travel Dream Since Forever

We have all seen those commercials for family vacations, destinations and travel packages. You know the ones. The commercials depicting a family playing on a beach in the sun, laughing, sun tanning and building sandcastles while the children behave perfectly. The commercials where there is a family skiing down a beautiful slow covered slope only to have a cuddle at the bottom, while everyone smiles and enjoys themselves. The commercials where the kids are jumping on large hotel beds, laughing as the parents relax and get an in room mani/pedi.

Those commercials.

The ones that sell you the dream of an amazing stress-free family vacation where everyone smiles, and no one has a shit fit over being offered chocolate milk in the wrong colour cup.

Ya know… the unrealistic bullshit that sells you a dream that vacations with your entire family are picture perfect, raising your expectations to an unnecessarily high level.

Family Vacations are NOT Picture Perfect

Let’s just get let the big old commercial cat out of the fucking bag here…

Family vacations are NOT always picture perfect. Sure, there are aspects to a family vacation that seem perfect. Those fleeting moments where everyone is enjoying themselves, smiling and getting along.

You see what these commercials aren’t showing you is that there are also those moments, that aren’t so fleeting, that make family vacations fucking stressful.

  • When you forget your child’s comfort item at home, even though you could have sworn you had it packed. Once the item is discovered missing, your little one is blubbering so uncontrollably, that you find yourself considering booking the 14-hour flight back home. Not to grab the lovie, but to stay there and get a vacation from your family vacation.
  • When the food is TOO exotic. I mean, you think it is delicious but your little one can’t find chicken fingers on the menu for the life of them and they spend the rest of their meal poking at things with their fingers and making weird gagging noises.
  • When sleeping arrangements don’t work out. Sure, you booked your hotel or resort with your family in mind. In fact, you even spent extra to ensure it was extra comfortable so that your little ones could sleep in a different room and you could relax with your significant other and a glass of wine at the end of the day. SURPRISE! At least one of the children has come out of that room in tears because their sister told them the scariest ghost story they have ever heard and then wiped boogers on their forehead… and now they are wedged between you and your significant other… and their cold feet are touching you.
  • When someone gets sick. Like really sick. Like, throw up in the hood of your hoodie sick. This always sucks when you are on vacation. You spend the rest of the trip doing damage control rather than swimming.
  • When they won’t stop fighting. Sibling rivalry is fantastic, isn’t it? While somewhat normal, it can be incredibly annoying when you paid an exorbitant amount of money to listen to it. I mean, you could have stayed home and listened to these little shits argue about the colour of their shoelaces for free. But NOOOO, you just paid thousands of dollars to hear them fight with the sound of the roaring beach in the background.

If someone showed me these realistic moments on a commercial for family travel, I would be more likely to pay attention and perhaps even book a trip. After all, you want to be sold a realistic experience with realistic expectations and you sure as shit know you won’t be getting an in-room massage with your husband while your children quietly play checkers in the background. There is ALWAYS something.

While family vacations are fun and the good moments usually outweigh the negative ones, keeping it real is important. I am looking forward to my next vacation with my family, I just won’t be pretending it was totally without its flaws.


Jen is a 32 year old work at home mother of two wonderful little cherubs age 7 and 10. She writes for with a 7 year old on her head, a dog barking at nothing and a 10 year old making weird noises in her ear. Send Wine.

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