Family Vacations: What the Facebook Pictures DON’T Show! πŸ™ˆ

by Jenifer Truitt, Executive Director Ziglar Family


Shortly after school wrapped up for the year, which included my oldest daughter’s graduation from high school, our family departed for our once-in-a-lifetime family vacation to Paris and London.Β  We’ve been planning and saving for this trip for years, so when I say it had a lot of weighted expectation on it, that’s probably a significant understatement.

The highlights of the trip were dutifully shared across social media, as you would expect, with iconic shots of smiling poses around the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, the Louvre, etc.

Now, here’s what you didn’t see…

Tired, grumpy, hungry travelers who were always feeling a little bit lost and (in Paris) helpless because of the language difference.

Petulant teenagers sulking about being “too hot” or “tired of walking.”

A broken water heater in our apartment leading to no water for showering after a long day of travel.

Mom (me) having to constantly check my watch and Google Maps so that we could be where we were supposed to be in time for our pre-paid ticket entries.

Of course you didn’t see or hear about those elements (and more)!Β  And frankly, if it hadn’t been for a recent conversation I had with my daughter’s friend’s mom, you still probably wouldn’t be hearing about it.

She and her family also set out on a big, special vacation shortly after graduation β€” they went to Hawaii.Β  And while we were comparing notes, one of us (and I can’t remember which) sheepishly admitted that it hadn’t been all sunshine and roses; that traveling with the family and being “THE ONE” in charge of the entire trip can be a really, really draining experience.

Once that egg cracked, friends, we were both ready to let it spill!

And what a relief it was for both of us to know, I’m not the only one who feels a little guilty that our perfect family vacation had a healthy dose of imperfection mixed in!Β 

Now, don’t misunderstand:Β  when taken as a whole, we both recognize that we are so incredibly fortunate to have had this opportunity to travel with our families, and that the experience in general was truly wonderful, to be a cherished memory for our lifetimes.

But if we were more willing to share the ‘other side of the story’ in the ultra-polished world of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, a whole lot of mom-guilt (or dad-guilt) over things not being 100% perfect could be mitigated.

I thought it would be fun to invite you, as members of our Ziglar Family community, to be a big part of this week’s blog by sharing some of your more ‘real’ moments from your family vacations with us in the comments below, so that we can really get a sense of what is TRUE life, and can maybe even chuckle at it looking back.

And then, if you have a picture to share of your vacation, how about doing so in our Ziglar Family Facebook Group?

Here’s a ‘real’ chuckle for you… this is a pic of my girls when they were disappointed that Big Ben was under so much scaffolding for repair work that you couldn’t even see this iconic London landmark! πŸ˜‚

So, go ahead… share a ‘real life’ moment from your vacation, either this year or in years past… let’s be real together!





  1. Paola July 22, 2018 at 3:30 am - Reply

    Hi Jen! Great post!
    You are so true!
    I had the same experience when I went on a trip to Paris with my kids. We were staying at some friends of mine. I thought it would be a great idea to catch the right French mood but it turned out to be a nightmare for them. They only remember feeling isolated despite my friends efforts to speak Italian with them. This made me very sad. Food was also a huge challenge for them: I will send a pict of them in front of a restaurant board with lots of omelettes announced which was also the only food they ate for a week πŸ˜”
    Many hugs to you!

    • Jen July 22, 2018 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Aw, thanks for sharing Paola, and I loved the pic! Actually, it’s funny… I didn’t even know the French word for egg… once I figured that out, at least I knew that I could eat that! πŸ™‚

  2. Mark Herbkersman July 22, 2018 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Jenifer, we had a wonderful time touring Savannah a few years ago, and it was a wonderful trip, though it did include an early teen daughter and a pre teen daughter. They did not get the thrill out of touring historical sights. Their thrill was the condo pool and the ocean ! Any chance, they were swimming and that was their thrill. But what really darkly clouds the trip, even years later, is the fact that somehow my youngest left her beloved, childhood sharing stuffed animal, “Goldie” behind and we were never able to recover her. Goldie went everywhere with us for 10 years and was so valuable to my daughter. I called the hotel; I called the trash company; I made the valiant search and “Goldie” was gone. It still gives me a bit of anguish. So the vacation has this black cloud.

    • Jen July 22, 2018 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      Oh, Mark… I can COMPLETELY understand what anguish this may cause! My 16-year-old still takes “Teddy” on every trip… he’s slept with her every night since her dad brought him back to her (ironically, from Paris) when she was just months old. She even took him with her to the dr. for her surgery last week! I cannot even imagine if he got lost… this gives me tears. It’s something your Savannah pictures won’t show, for sure, but you’ll never forget. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Kimberly Pacheco July 22, 2018 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    This was a fantastic article! We are a family of 6, 3 boys (9, 6,3 years old) and 1 girl (18months). We take a beach vacation multiple times a year, in a 1bedroom apartment and my husband often says somewhere mid week β€œ we are going to need a vacation from our vacation!” I often feel guilty when he says this, but I also know the truth behind it! We have those moments where it all clicks and is so blissful and we get amazing pictures, then you have more realistic moments when everyone is tired and cranky from days at the beach and too much sun and dinner times go more smoothly if we eat at 4pmπŸ€ͺ It is hard to admit that it isn’t all roses, especially when we build up this amazing vacation in our heads! But I think you summed it up perfectly with the unenthusiastic picture of your girls and Big Ben. Those moments that don’t go as planned often lead to the funny story later that make everyone appreciate the whole vacation and not just the roses!!!!

    P.s. you have a beautiful family!

    • Jen July 22, 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Kimberly! I’m sending you a virtual high-five, and reading what you said gave me goosebumps… because it’s so familiar! πŸ™‚

  4. Carol Jean McGuffee August 28, 2018 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    In Rome, my husband and I and our two children ordered Chicken Caccatore, and the waiter brought out a single chicken back swimming in oily watery gravy for each of us. We laughed about how what we eat in America translates differently in the real country of its origin. So we decided to try to eat it and then look for another restaurant immediately afterwards. As we wandered down the street six large fast black limos came racing past us, slammed on the breaks and slid into a fairly large residence that had previously been hidden by a large gate. Out ran many, many armed men with lethal looking weapons pointing out as the occupants got out of the limos and walked into the gated area. Now, I literally wet my pants, my daughter was white and almost about to scream before I could stop her. We completely forgot about food and RAN to the safety of our hotel. The entrance was private we thought, but found out later that the main entrance was on the other side where our bedrooms were at. It was across the street from a bar…..turns out ladies of the evening used our hotel too. Endless hours of woman screaming….we all ended up in one bed huddled together that night. The next day we went to the Vatacan and the Catacombs the next day, but not before we found a better hotel and talked to the USO about better restaurants. We still laugh about that vacation…

    • Jen August 28, 2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Oh! My! Word!! Carol, that is a scary and crazy story! Who would ever think about that happening in Rome? I don’t know WHAT I would’ve done, but I’m sure screaming and crying and maybe even catching a plane out of there would have been a consideration! I’m really glad you can laugh about it now!! πŸ™‚

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