To Do: Take a Vacation.


Good-bye! I’m off for a week’s vacation. Do you ever feel as if it’s more work to take a holiday than it would be just to stay home in your usual routine? I’m in that stage right now, but I know I’ll be happy once vacation starts.

As I’m getting ready to leave, I’m reminding myself of my Secrets of Adulthood, family vacation pack:



  • Less is more.
  • Start early if possible.
  • When packing an item that might leak, put it in a plastic bag.
  • Don’t let anyone get too hungry. Especially me.
  • Cheerfulness is contagious, and crabbiness is even more contagious.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Carry tissues.
  • Remind kids to visit the bathroom—don’t wait for the thought to occur to them.
  • Never choose the buffet option.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • There’s joy in routine, but an occasional disruption makes routine all the sweeter.
  • Make it easy to do right, and hard to go wrong.
  • Quit while we’re ahead.
  • Make each of my children helpless with laughter at least once each day.
  • Doing a little work makes goofing off more fun.
  • The things that go wrong often make the best memories.
  • Leave plenty of room in the suitcase.
  • As Eisenhower observed, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”
  • The point is to have fun.


What am I overlooking? What are your Secrets of Adulthood for family vacations?

Are you thinking, “But, oh, Gretchen, what will I do without reading a daily post about happiness?” Don’t worry! To read more about happiness in the coming week, you can read the paperback of The Happiness Project (can’t resist mentioning: it has been on the New York Times bestseller list for a year, that’s right, a year).