What John Candy taught me about planning family vacations.

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By Jeremy Miville

Planning the perfect family vacation is hard! There are movies dedicated to proving how horrible it could all turn out! In fact, John Candy may have been one of the worst people to head on vacation with.  We’re going to examine Candy’s top vacation films, figure out where it all went wrong, and learn how we can all avoid a similar fate.

Summer Rental (1985)

John Candy takes a mandatory leave of absence after losing a plane (momentarily) as an air traffic controller. He uses the time to connect with his family and head to Florida. The resort is anything but luxurious, they get ignored at a restaurant, and spend most their days on a loud public beach.

What I learned: Oyster.

Oyster is a MUST in planning a family vacation. John’s character would have been able to see photos, read investigative reviews on the property, and checked out the area for activities well in advance of booking his vacation.

The Great Outdoors (1988)

John Candy should just stay home.  This time he is summering in Wisconsin, on a beautiful lake resort. He did his homework, but his sister-in-law crashes the party with her husband and kids. Grizzly bears, water skiing accidents and poor dining choices send this vacation straight to the bottom of the lake.

What I learned: It’s ok to say no.

Sometimes “no” is the best answer. I won’t argue with you on the importance of family, but your immediate family deserves personal and private moments too. It’s ok to say no. We vacation to see new things, experience new places, and sometimes we vacation to step away from the everyday. As rude or harsh as it sounds, this may include stepping away from in-laws, parents, and siblings. Don’t feel guilty.

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

First, John Candy IS in this film. I know it centers on poor Chevy Chase having his plans get demolished, but Candy is in there too. All Chevy’s family wants is a day at Wally World, a moose-themed amusement park.  When they finally arrive the park has been closed for renovations.  Don’t worry, they hold up the security guard (Candy) and have their day!

What I learned: MouseSavers.com

Wally World is a thin disguise for Disney World, and no one knows Disney as well as MouseSavers. This site has it all, from forums and discussions, to discounts and freebies. Chevy would have known the park was closed form renovations had he spent time on a site like MouseSavers.

Of course you can learn my thoughts on Planes, Trains and Automobiles too, although it isn’t a member of the family vacation genre.

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