The most awkward things that happen when you go away with your family

You might bring your partner along, but you’ll definitely regret it


It’s the summertime dilemma a lot of us face. July is rolling around and all your colleagues are boasting about their luxury Barbados getaway with their new girlfriend. You can’t afford a holiday of your own, and your mum enthusiastically offers ‘you should come with us! It would be lovely to spend some time with you as a family!’.

Yes, two weeks in the sun free of charge would be nice. And maybe you should make more effort with your parents, they won’t be around forever. Plus, you barely ever see them any more since you moved away from home… But then there’s so many issues. Can your girlfriend come? Do they want you to share a room with your little brother? Are you going to end up killing your dad after a six hour flight? Here are all the things that will happen going on holiday with your parents, as an adult.

They’re paying for it, so you have to choose the shit location they want to go to

Yes, Whitby for a fortnight sounds lovely dad.

Your mum finds out about your tattoo

You’ve done a great job at keeping it hidden all year, but she’s going to find out unless you wear a wetsuit for the whole week. Obviously the right thing to do would be to just tell her, but instead you cover it with whatever you can until she inevitably notices – your hand, a t-shirt because you’re “sunburnt”, an ice cream or that strange cat you found in the villa.

Although they offered to pay for it, they now think you owe them something

Lanzarote. Lanzarote? If it was up to you, you’d probably have chosen Miami or Cancun. If it was really up to you, though, the most you’d have been able to afford would be an Ibis in Calais.

You’re going to have to go to the shit evening entertainment Robbie Williams tribute band

Don’t worry, you can’t listen to Angels too many times.

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No talking, strictly reading

You have to babysit your younger sibling whilst your parents go out and do actually fun things

Hours have been spent preparing for this moment. Possibly days in cumulative time – walking around the pool with a certain swagger, occasionally making eye contact with the girl of vaguely equivalent age to you. Is she dutch? Maybe Swedish. What does it matter. It’s love. Straight up. Pure unadulterated holiday love.

And your cunt sister has decided she’s too tired to go out. Why Eloise? Why? Sure, I wasn’t going to talk to her. But maybe we’d make eye contact a few more times over a fourth Sprite, all while mum and dad are swaying their arms to the Robbie Williams tribute act.

You will drink as much as possible and charge it to your family’s room

If it’s free, it’s for me. Then your mum loses her shit at the mini bar bill when it comes to checking out.

You go out with your mum and she starts flirting

Mum, Enrique the waiter doesn’t want to fuck you, he wants tips.

Your parents will want you to stick to their schedule so you can do ‘everything as a family’

This means going to breakfast at 7.30am, just as it opens. We’re on holiday, aren’t I meant to be relaxing? Dad this is literally earlier than the time I would have to get up for work.

There will be arguments

If you’re going anywhere that’s not a package holiday from Thomas Cook, you’ll have to work out the best way to get from the airport to your hotel. Your dad will say that you have to get a taxi, your mum backs the grimy Metro system. Instead of handling it like adults, there’ll be tears in arrivals, screaming in the carpark and a ferocious dispute that threatens to overshadow the whole holiday. By the time you get to the hotel, sweaty and frustrated, you all agree not to let it ruin the week. It’s a shame the fighting will start again in about 15 minutes.

You have to put up with your parents calling everything ‘overpriced’ when all you’re thinking is: do you know how much my rent costs

“Eleven euros for a Sex On The Beach? Are you having me on? Can’t you just order a drink that’s on the all inclusive?”

You get your younger sibling really drunk

It all started so well, you all bonded over a few sambucas, gave him a few cigarettes – and you start to think he’s finally growing up. But just when you and everyone else are ready to go out, he’s throwing up his spag bol all over the sofa and telling you how sorry he is. Obviously you take photos and tell mum all about it in the morning.

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Your parents will get too drunk and fight on one night, then awkwardly laugh about it for the rest of the holiday

Three glasses of wine, it’s all fine. Mum’s slathered sunscreen lovingly on Dad’s bald-spot, Dad has bought Mum a nice pair of sandals and she’s showing them off. What happens on the fourth glass of wine? Is it the sun? Is it the fact that we’re drinking from a box? Something happens though, some sort of chemical serum, and suddenly mum is crying and dad is saying “Go back to Ian then Sharon, you always loved him more than me” How far can you sink down in your chair while laughing apologetically in the direction of the nice Irish couple at the next table and ordering another vodka.

You get sunburnt and your mum is really smug

On the first day you really went all out. Envisioning your future bronzed perfection, you lay in the sun for hours slathering on only oil, telling everyone “I never burn”, despite your mums disapproving glances. Later that evening, your lobster red and can’t go back in the sun without a T-shirt for the rest of the week, and she’ll smile knowingly with an “I told you so.”

Your dad will wear a pair of semi-illegal Speedos

Phil, put the budgie smugglers away. This is too much. I can’t handle it, the pool guys are laughing and you’ve already put my girlfriend off me for life. Please, please, get some normal shorts. Either your dad is short and stubby and looks like Del Boy, or he’s taking inspiration from Neil off of Inbetweeners. Either way, this isn’t a good look.

Ffs dad

Ffs dad

You eat at the hotel buffet every night and then realise you’ve eaten cold pizza and bad chips for a week

But that won’t stop you going up for seconds, and thirds every single time. Have you seen that dessert selection?

You hear your parents shag through the wall

It is a truth universally acknowledged that holidays are for shagging. Free from the stresses of your day to day life you’re tanned, relaxed and ready to recapture the romance. Unfortunately, so are your parents. Because they probably haven’t got any in a while, they really don’t give a fuck. They don’t give a fuck about the volume, the duration or even the fact that it’s 3pm and they said they’d meet you by the beach. But guess what? They paid, so you can’t say anything and have to just sit there and consider what you did that could have possibly warranted this frankly intolerable response.

As you listen to the pants and screams, try not to think about this is how you were created.

Your parents hear you shag through the wall

And make backhanded comments about it at breakfast time. “Lovely sausage, isn’t this, Susanne?” your dad winks at your mum. Oh god. They heard. They know everything.

You find that your parents have booked you and your partner into a room with two single beds

It’s not like you can complain about it though. If you push them together it’ll look even more obvious, so you’ll spend each morning spreading them apart again.

Any amount of romance with your partner is impossible with parents there

No hand holding, no hugging, you can only just about sit next to each other with them watching over you. And every time you try to show any affection, you both get nervous, abandon the idea immediately and wait till your parents are too bladdered later on. Then, finally, on the last night, they’ll make a comment to you in private: “Bobby you’re not very affectionate toward Lisa. Is everything ok?”

Get way too drunk in front of your parents

In my defence, Paul, foreign measures are all out of whack.

Mum, put down the sangria

Mum, put down the sangria

Your partner gets way too drunk in front of your parents

At first it seemed great. He’d never really bonded with your mum before and suddenly they’re laughing and doing shots and dancing to that Cornershop song. But then he gets too relaxed and thinks it’ll be a laugh to suggest skinny dipping. Things will never be the same again.

Your mum sunbathes topless and it’s just awkward all round

Although Oli’s mum does have great tits.

Your girlfriend wears a tiny bikini and you have to pretend you can’t see your dad staring

She sends you pictures from the changing room weeks before you go away. If a week in the sun wasn’t enough to excite you, this does. But just as you wander down to the pool on the first day, dodging the Germans who’ve had their towels down since 6am, your mum comments on how nice your girlfriend’s bikini is. Shit. Others can see this. You didn’t take this into account. Your dad takes a shine to your girlfriend, demands to play on her side when it comes to pool, table tennis, fuck it even water volleyball. This was a mistake, you never should’ve invited her.

Your mum will make really misguided compliments about your beachwear

“Doesn’t she look lovely?” Your mum is cooing proudly from her deckchair, nodding towards you and then encouragingly to your boyfriend. You bought this bikini on a chilly Saturday afternoon in March and sucked in your stomach in a grey Topshop changing room and it looked fine but now it sucks in all the wrong places and you’d rather nobody mentioned it before you do the awkward-cha-cha from out of your towel and straight into the pool. Boyfriend is nodding awkwardly. It doesn’t matter that he’s seen you naked many times before and in the hotel room this morning as you put on this bikini, suddenly you feel mortified. You dip a toe. “And you know what it suits you now, you were too skinny before, all those ready meals at uni have done you good. Very womanly.” Cheers mum, cheers.

Dad, stop fucking staring

Dad, stop fucking staring

You try and be really sneaky when smoking

Your parents don’t know you puff 20 a day, but there’s nothing quite like a fag by the pool. Cue the awkward “I’m going for a walk” every 40 minutes, and the time you tried to climb out of your window to have a cig under the stars and ended up stuck on the balcony of the next-door apartment.

You end up arguing with your boyfriend and your mum gets involved

You’re unnecessarily crying again because he didn’t put the ‘Please Clean’ sign on the room and now it hasn’t been serviced. Your mum pulls you into her adjoining room for ‘a chat’. ‘Annie you have to remember he puts up with a lot from you’, she begins. ‘You have to stop getting annoyed at him over little things, men aren’t perfect and we have to just deal with the stuff we don’t like.’ You sit and think for a moment, wiping your tears. Yeah, it was a stupid argument. ‘And plus, Annie’, she continues, ‘you’ve put on a wee bit of weight haven’t you, love? Beggars can’t be choosers’. Thanks mum, I feel so much better now,

Your younger sibling baits you out ‘what’s this I found in your room?’ (It’s always a condom)
Or a dildo.

You have to go through the awkward “Oh, we’ll pay for one dinner” situation

You end up choosing a cheap and dodgy paella restaurant, and being on edge every time your mum orders another glass of wine. Your significant other is being really sweet about the whole thing, but by the time you’ve spent your entire holiday budget and your dad has gone home with your shits the whole family agree they should have just fronted the bill the entire time.

Contributors: Tom Jenkin, Daisy Bernard, Roisin Lanigan, Josh Kaplan, Bobby Palmer, Oli Dugmore, Amelia Perrin, Abby Lever, Jasper Hart.