Posted: Jun 19, 2013 9:00 AM
In my experience, family vacations are one of those things that only sound good in theory. The actual execution of them is, well, tolerable: a whole lot of work dotted with a few moments of the sublime. Maybe you can learn from our mistakes and reverse that.

Vacationing with kids is kind of like dieting: It sounds OK in theory, but once you're actually doing it, it pretty much just sucks.

I mean they're kids. They're annoying. Annoying things aren't supposed to come on vacation with you. That's the point of vacation. And yet, the couple of times my husband and I didn't bring the kids, we spent the whole time wishing they were with us.

Parenthood is such a strange experience.

Anyway I don't think kids really get that the idea of a vacation is to relax. Kick back. Enjoy. Not scream at each other.

My husband and I have taken our three kids on quite a few of these little "vacations," and we've learned that some ideas are worse than others. I made a list of the top five worst vacation ideas in the world. Please enjoy.

Staying in an urban environment with an infant and a bunch of people who don't have infants.

Imagine city streets, tourist attractions, restaurants and nightlife with a bunch of people who actually enjoy city streets, tourist attractions, restaurants and nightlife because they don't have a baby… but you, you have a baby, and you pretty much want to die. As if naps in strollers, restless nights in hotel rooms, multiple restaurant visits each day isn't sufficiently fun, you have these travel partners who are like "Yes, waiter, we would like dessert" and you're like "Oh please no" but you can't say anything and you don't want to be rude, so you just keep on bouncing that baby, trying to keep him entertained while everybody else enjoys their evening cocktail.hotel electronic key

Actually, let's be honest. Anything involving a hotel room is questionable.

I don't know about you, but when my kids enter a hotel room, they immediately transform into something along the lines of what one might call "schizophrenic squirrels." Maybe it's the neatness of it all. Maybe it's the hotel air. Maybe it's being someplace new… whatever it is, it's not pretty. And somehow, spending two or three days trying to get a toddler to stay asleep and my two other kids mellow enough to not get us kicked out… yeah, no thanks.

Road trip.

We once drove to San Diego (a 9-hour drive) with our kids and Labrador puppy. The toddler vomited in her car seat twice. Not once, but twice. When we stopped to clean up her seat, the dog then took it upon himself to try out a little vomiting. Basically, the trip was vomit, boredom, screaming, kids bickering, potty stops three minutes after the last stop…. never again, people. Never again.

CAmping with a crawling baby- worst vacation ideas

Camping with a crawling baby.

The problem with crawling babies is that they insist on crawling places — even when they're outside next to poison oak, bugs, rocks and fire pits. Seriously, need I say more? Let me put it this way, we ended up putting our baby in a giant plastic bin — as a play pen. Photographic evidence attached.

Amusement parks.

Heat. Crowds. Fifty dollars to feed my family a lunch one tiny step above fast food. Strollers. Toys. Waiting in lines. Fun, fun, fun! I jest. I'd rather cut my arm off.

So if hotel rooms, road trips, urban trips and amusement trips are out, what's left? Well, I'll tell you: Rent a house or condo (VRBO) someplace beautiful — beach, lake, forest — relatively near your home (one or two hours away), and relax. Pick a place that you can enjoy right from the house (beach-side, lake-side). Pack groceries, drive there, unload your kids and food, and stay. Don't move.

And enjoy.

More on vacations

The tricks for a successful trip
Our big adventure: Road tripping with the family
A must-have for traveling with your baby