Secrets to a happy holiday with friends
There are many benefits to holidaying with friends such as shared costs, larger properties, friends on tap for the kids, joint childcare opportunities and a guaranteed social life. But there are many potential pitfalls too which could affect your friendship and even your marriage…
After many holidays with friends and family we think these are the 10 essential tips for a successful joint family holiday.
1) Discuss potential pitfalls before you book your holiday so there are no awkward surprises.
Beaches or Museums? KidszClubz or quality family time? Expensive guided excursions or free nature walks? Everyone has a different idea of the perfect family holiday, and that’s fine, just ensure your expectations and your budgets are discussed ahead of time so there’s no embarrassment or arguments outside an expensive tourist attraction. “But that’s not fair! Why do they get to go?” breeds resentment on all sides.
2) Agree price brackets for meals out together beforehand.
Nobody likes being pressured into eating where they’d prefer not to. If you can’t agree, don’t compromise: you’ll all be happier if you go your separate ways to dine and then you can all hook up afterwards for drinks. You can always blame the kids (or husband…) for not liking Tapas etc.
3) Ensure you ring fence some quality family time alone.
Ensure you make time for just your family. Make sure you get to go exactly where you want, do what you want to do and when you want to do it. This also gives you time to chat together, let off steam and release any inter-familial tension that may have developed.
4) Separate vehicles are essential.
Never be tempted to share a people carrier or minivan with another family. You need your space. And a viable escape plan even if it’s only temporary.
5) Some boundaries must be agreed on and stuck to.
Obviously presenting an entire rule book to the other family might not be a good idea, so choose your battles carefully. If your kids meal times and bed times are sacrosanct, then say so and plan accordingly. If you hate being woken up at 4.00 a.m then lay down the law… It’s your holiday too.
6) Don’t interfere in the other couple’s marriage…
No, not like that! Like, say, taking sides in any arguments they might be having. Also never ever make sarky or underhand comments even if you disapprove of the other couple’s divisions of labour or parenting techniques. Unless it directly affects you or your family’s holiday experience then it’s none of your business. (Until you return home of course!)
7) Rent a property with as many bathrooms as you can afford.
You think your spouse takes ages…
8) Never buy presents, ice creams, souvenirs etc. just for your own kids.
Check with the other parents first or at least agree on a price bracket / size of souvenir or present before purchasing. (or at least be discreet about it!).
9) Agree fixed meeting points for fixed times for when you get separated.
Cell phone batteries die. You might have zero bars. Some kids (and adults) get bored long before others, so don’t force them to hang around waiting for everyone else.
10) Don’t force grumpy kids to ‘make up’ if they don’t feel like it.
It’s not just adults that get bored, tired, hot, sweaty and start fights. Regular Time Outs are necessary for everyone.