Summer vacations are the New Year’s Eves of vacations: For the week or two people take off, they build up unrealistic expectations of how great their time off is going to be. In reality, summer vacations can be filled with unhappy kids, lousy weather, overpriced attractions — and are always over much too soon.

To help people keep their summer vacations in perspective, we’ve compiled a list of diary entries from throughout history that shows summer vacations have not always lived up to expectations. Understanding that may help you enjoy your vacation.

“When my dad asked if I wanted to go on a boat ride this summer, I said sure. I didn’t mind when he said we’d have to build the boat — but when he said we had to take along two of every animal, I thought he must be drunk. I seriously had no idea we’d be away for 40 days and nights — or that it would rain the entire time. Cooped up with all those smelly, noisy animals — this was the worst vacation of my life!” 3300 BCE.

“Sun god Ra must have been angry with brother-in-law. Did not make an appearance the entire week when Atentophot-Who-Can’t-Hold-a-Job was around.” 2900 BCE.

“We’ve been vacationing in the same remote spot for years. But now that Marco Polo has ‘discovered’ China, hordes of people have taken our spots at all the good places — even the hole-in-the-wall restaurants. We’ll have to find some other place to summer next year.” 1295 AD.

“Have to say that Nottingham was not a good place to spend the summer. Bandits steal from the rich (and not-so-rich like us). At the inn where we’re staying, our maid, Marion, or her friends, cleaned us out while still leaving our rooms a mess. The Sheriff is no good, either. Will definitely not be coming back.” 1538

“Washington, D.C. was beautiful and all, but to have no air conditioning at the hotel — that’s capital punishment!” 1920.

“What a terrible vacation. Work was so busy, I kept having to review faxes from the office and then fax back my changes.” 1987.

“I couldn’t get Wi-Fi at my hotel. I have to write this entry by hand. On the back of the hotel postcard. (Who still sends postcards — subject for my next blog?)” 2013.

“What an awful vacation. Sure there was lots of sun, the kids had a great time by the lake. But I lost a dozen followers on Twitter and my Klout score dropped 10 points!” 2014.


Norman Birnbach is a resident of Marblehead.

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