Travelling with another family can offer an excellent chance to enjoy a holiday with friends and family in equal measures. Your kids can keep each other entertained and enjoy the perks of having ready-made playmates on their trip whilst parents can help to lighten each other’s load and pool funds for childcare on the odd night off or to rent fancier accommodation than one family alone might need. At least, that’s the theory.
In reality, sharing your trip with another family has the potential to turn your dream holiday into a nightmare. Particularly if the way you parent, keep house or choose to spend your time differ too greatly from those you are travelling with. Or if you are travelling with two other families, in which case you could soon find yourself stuck in the middle should any awkward situations occur.
In order to avoid your longed-for holiday collapsing in around your ears; here are a few top tips for survival and to ensure both you and your kids remember the Great Shared Holiday as a positive experience.
Choose the right holiday for you
Be honest with yourself, your kids and your partner about what sort of holiday you are looking for. If you are an active family who likes to be riding bikes, trekking up hills and exploring the Great Outdoors, you could find yourself a poor match with a family who likes to laze by the pool and watch movies. If you’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed or stressed at work and just want a trip filled with sun, sea, sand and relaxation, don’t choose to holiday with your workaholic friends who can’t quite undergo a full digital detox.
Consider the destination and activities you see yourselves participating in and make sure that everyone is on the same page – or at least that a few of you are so that you can team up according to interests.
Discuss children’s routines
Everyone’s parenting style is slightly different and every family will have different routines that they adhere to with their children. However, if you don’t get in sync, you could find difficulties arrive. After all, how will you feel if your friends decide to sleep until noon? Leaving you to frantically organise breakfast and entertainment for all the children first thing. Or if your friends’ kids get to stay up later than your own children, causing tears and tantrums at bedtime? Flexibility, communication and ensuring your kids are at compatible stages in life will help your trip run smoothly.
If your holiday budgets are dramatically different from your friends, you could find yourselves getting resentful with each other very quickly. Whether you want to treat yourself to fancy meals on your holiday or remain frugal, there is no right or wrong way to travel. However, if you find yourselves stressing about another split bill in an over-priced restaurant or craving a break from self-catered dinners at home, it might mean that you’re not all on the same page. Talk through expectations before you plan your trip and choose a way to pay at mealtimes that means everyone is comfortable with what to expect.
Consider the space
Travelling in any group can be tiring at times, particularly for those who value a little bit of ‘me time’ on a break. To get around this issue, ensure your accommodation provides enough space for all. Villas or cottages with a selection of communal areas, private pools or gardens where children can play, mean that kids can be noisy whilst adults take some off-duty time. Additionally, ensure there are enough bathrooms for all and that they are divvied up appropriately so everyone is afforded a certain degree of privacy. Of course, if you are less bothered by personal space, then share and share alike! Just be sure you’re considerate of how your friends like to live, too.
If done correctly with plenty of communication, consideration and co-operation, sharing a holiday with another family can be a wonderful experience that you and your children will treasure forever.
To further minimise the risk of any mishaps spoiling your trip, remember to take out travel insurance so that you and your loved ones are sufficiently covered.