Traveling to see relatives might sound like a fun idea to some people, while others might not be so interested or eager to do it. After all, if you don’t see these particular family members often, you may not know very much about them. Maybe you have not seen them in many years and all you do is exchange social media messages every few months.
If you and your family are going to hop in the car and take a road trip to see some of your distant relatives this year, it might go smoothly, but it may not. With this in mind, here are some tips to make it more likely that your trip and visit will go well.
Traveling to See Relatives
Along the way, you will certainly want to think about road trip safety. That means never drinking and driving, not letting anything distract you while you are handling the driving chores, paying close attention to the road, and following all traffic laws.
Do not speed along the way. If you feel like you are getting sleepy or tired, pull over so another adult can drive, or you can purchase some hot coffee or take an energy shot to make you feel energized and wake you up.
Don’t Stay with Them in Their Home
Once you get to your relatives’ house, it is usually best if you have a hotel or motel booked nearby. That is nearly always going to be the superior choice versus agreeing to stay in their guest room, especially if you have not seen these people in a very long time. You don’t know how well all of you will get along.
Maybe you will have a wonderful time, but it could also be that you won’t see eye to eye on everything. If so, you will feel glad you can retreat to your hotel or motel room instead of staying under their roof and continuing to feel awkward and ill-at-ease.
Stay Away from Contentious Topics When You Talk to Them
If you sometimes communicate with these distant family members on social media, you probably know what kinds of things they post and share there. The memes and other messages they display on their profile will probably tell you what kind of person they are like politically, whether they are particularly religious, what their hobbies are, and so forth.
If you feel the identical way about these things, then bringing them up is probably not an issue. However, maybe you know you feel differently politically or religiously. If so, it is best to steer away from those topics when you are visiting and making small talk with them.
Instead, you can talk about “safe” or neutral topics. You might talk about how your kids are doing academically or on their sports teams. You can talk about your job, relate some harmless anecdotes about your neighbors, or talk about other family trips that you have been to or taken recently.
You might get your phone out and show your relatives some pictures. Anything you can do to stay away from contentious topics is probably going to make the visit better.
Have an Excuse Waiting if You Want to Leave
Maybe you had reservations about visiting these relatives. If so, it is not a bad idea to have an excuse ready if you decide that you want to cut the visit short. This might not be the most honest policy, but telling a white lie if it gets you away from this situation is probably not the worst thing in the world. Your overall health is more important.
Use This Visit to Determine Whether You Want to Do So Again
This visit might give you a good impression of what these relatives are like at this point in their lives. If you get along with them very well, you might make plans to visit them again soon, or you can extend an invitation to them so they can come to your home next time.
That is the best-case scenario. The worst-case one is that you find your family and theirs are simply not compatible. You do not have to feel bad or guilty about that. Some people don’t get along very well, even if they are blood relatives.
Even if you did not get along so well with this particular familial contingent, maybe you can enjoy the trip there and back. You can check out some roadside attractions, stop at amusement parks, or anything else that your family will enjoy.
Frankly, some relatives should remain distant. There is nothing wrong with visiting or trying to reach out, but if you find out that your worldview seems to be pretty different from theirs, this might be both the first and last time you undertake the journey.