Most of the time holidays with kids can seem like everyday life – just in a more scenic location. Small wonder then that holidaying with other families seems like a brilliant idea.
The kids have playmates, you have adult company and you can share the load (and the costs).
But many a holiday, and friendship, has come undone over a holiday together. After all, it can be exhausting spending every waking hour with your own family, let alone someone else’s too!
But some people swear but group holidays and say it is the best way to vacation. And undoubtedly it can be a wonderful way to make some memories and have a fun time away.
Here are some tips if you are planning on taking the plunge to holiday with another family:
1. Make sure you are compatible.
Just because you all get along at BBQs and play dates, doesn’t guarantee you will make great travelling companions. Think about key areas of similarities that are important, such as:
- Lifestyle – if they are big drinkers and partiers but you prefer a quite night over a game of cards or a movie, chances are there may be some friction.
- Energy levels – similar to lifestyle, if you want to spend your time lazing by the pool and they want to hike up every mountain within cooee, chances are you aren’t up for your ideal getaway.
- Kid’s ages – it definitely helps if the kids are around the same ages as they are likely to have similar needs, interests and routines. Plus they are more likely to play together.
- Budget – if they drive a Range Rover and your family car is a 2000 commodore station wagon chances are your financial circumstances are slightly different. You don’t want money to be come an issue when it comes to accommodation, food and activities.
2. Communication is key!
Make sure you can easily communicate with the people you are holidaying with. You don’t want to spend your holiday time second- guessing or tippy-toeing around. If issues arise they need to be dealt with openly, honestly and immediately so things don’t fester, possibly blowing out of proportion.
3. Set a budget.
Be clear on how much you expect to spend on accommodation, food and activities. And who is paying for what (best everyone pays their own share!) It can be easy to get swept away in someone’s enthusiasm to do something but you don’t want to come home financially crippled.
4. Agree on ground-rules for all the kids.
Everyone parents differently but at times that can seem pretty unjust to kids who are watching their peers do something they aren’t allowed too. Agree with your friends on basic rules such as whichever adult is present is in charge, bedtimes, out of bounds areas etc. This will help minimise conflict between the kids (and the parents).
5. Have a plan.
You don’t want to waste half the day sitting around ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ about what to do, trying to get everyone to agree. Going away with a general schedule of what each day entails keeps everyone on the same page. But try to be flexible if something comes up. Also agree on a general schedule for meals so everyone knows what the expectations are for cooking etc.
6. Have some time out.
In that schedule, make sure you have some time to do your own thing. It is a family holiday after all. It’s also good to have a break from the group and have some down time as being with others constantly can be emotionally draining. You don’t want to come back from your holiday needing a holiday.
Getting away with other families can be great fun and a wonderful way to share experiences with your kids. By making sure everyone has similar (realistic) expectations and communicates well you should all have a wonderful time.