For many parents, the annual vacation is one of the most stressful times of the year. You should, of course, be trying to relax and de-stress from your hectic work and family life – after all, you’ve certainly earned it, having worked every day, rain or shine, putting those pennies away to treat yourself and your family to two weeks of bliss. Only bliss turns out to be a struggle.

From trying to keep on top of your budget when it comes to hire cars, hotel extras, day trips and whatever else the sales people keep hitting you with, to making sure everyone’s packed what they need – medicine, hair curlers, iPads and so on, every moment of the vacation experience can make you wish you were back in the office doing overtime. When the day comes, you’ll struggle to get the kids out of bed, get them fed and dressed in time to get in the car and try to beat the traffic to the airport. Even though you should be able to make it, you can’t relax as you keep imagining the next update reading something like ‘major accident ahead, long delays expected’.

When you get to the airport you remember that the good old days of welcoming people with a smile and a cheery word have long gone and now you and your children are treated like terrorist suspects, being barked at by uniformed, humorless automatons who try to ruin everyone’s trip, every day in the interests of keeping the nation safe. Once you’ve repacked your bags in the airport for the fourth time and you realize you’re not going to be able to avoid extra baggage charges, you hand over your credit card for the first of many assaults it will endure over the next two weeks.

Having boarded the plane, you find yourself wedged between two supersized passengers, listening to the message from the captain who sounds like he’s just finished grade school. You catch up the prayers you’ve missed over the year during every episode of turbulence and touch down at your destination happy to be alive.

As you enter your hotel, your bags are suddenly snatched off you by the porter who will soon be snatching your greenbacks, too. You’re shown to your room where you promptly relieve yourself of your cash and take stock of where you are and what’s going on. The kids are already fighting over who gets which bed and you are wondering to yourself whether you’ll be able to sleep on such a soft bed without being sucked into it and suffocated.

The days that follow are spent waiting in lines for hours to visit overpriced attractions that don’t deliver the fun everyone had been hoping for. Everything is fake and disposable. Soulless servers bring your overpriced, insipid meals in novelty restaurants and linger with forced, menacing smiles, saying “this guy better leave a big tip, he’s obviously got the money bringing his two snotty kids all the way to FranchiseWorld”.

After you’ve finally got the kids to promise to go to sleep and turned out the light, the music next door starts pounding through the wall. Should you start tying the bedsheets together in order to make a quick escape from the balcony like last year? Or perhaps you should avoid knocking on their door to complain this time. You pull your pillow over your head and start hoping the bed actually will suffocate you.

It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. Plenty of families have discovered they can have more fun and less stress simply by staying at home but adding a new element of fun to the situation. Even a simple toy that the whole family can play with – a drone for example, like these at RotorCopters–can provide the stimulation and enjoyment you search for when you take your family away. In the knowledge that you don’t have to put up with sitting in traffic, paying a fortune for substandard service every ten minutes and the fact that you know you’ll eat well every day, taking your vacation at home is a great option for avoiding those vacation blues.