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The thought of mishaps happening on family holidays are enough to put people off, however, in my experience mishaps can also be a blessing, a real anchor in how you perceive your holiday.  It can create a lasting memory. Mishaps, mistakes, the unplanned and unforeseen does happen.  It is part of life.  So when you embark on your family holiday, knowing full well that mishaps may occur be assured that it wont ruin your holiday….actually in a way it will make it better. Here are some tips on how to handle mishaps and turn them into a positive. 

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When holiday mishaps happen.

 Mishaps maketh the best stories 

In my experience when holiday mishaps happen, they make the best memories.  You don’t hear of people telling their holiday stories with such gusto when they explain that all the trains were on time, everyone was polite, no bad weather occurred and you were perfectly understood in a foreign country.  No, I kid you not everyone wants to hear about your mishaps.   They want to hear that time you got lost and your wife threatened to divorce you, the time your children nagged incessantly for an ice-cream only to drop it on the pavement in 3 seconds.  The cute little cottage you stayed in didn’t have heating so you all had to huddle into the bed with the oven on and door open.  Or the time that a wasp got stuck up your trousers and stung you repeatedly.  See -hilarious.

Anchor the memory

These mishaps will be spoken about so often when you return.  Use these as an anchor point to talk about the memories around them.  The above mentioned wasp in the trousers was actually a true story that happened to me whilst we were in Calabria, Italy.  I was stung about 5 times on my knee and yes it was a mishap and I thought it was a horrible experience,  but that evening we went to a great street festival and every time we laugh about the mishap we inevitably recall the festival.  See…anchor!

 Build resilience

Imagine how boring life would be if everything went as planned.  I’m sure like many travelling families, you are embarking on this adventure to teach your children those wonderful values we as parenting hold so dear.  Resilience being one of them, see each mishap as a chance for them to learn resiliency.  If the mishaps did not impact on them directly, perhaps through patience, caring and empathy they are learning to care for a member of the family.  Mishaps are great learning opportunities.


Perhaps the mishap meant your plans changed drastically or deviated slightly.  Mishaps not only teach us resiliency, but flexibility and tolerance.  Plan A is wonderful if all goes well, however plan B could work just as well and learning to think quickly or for children to watch their parents model flexibility and tolerance are key life stills that are invaluable.

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