20 August 2013 by Jessica Boston
Top Tips for Holidaying with Friends
At some point or another most of us will end up sharing a holiday with friends or extended family. After all, what better way to make the most of precious leisure time?
But spending a week or two in close quarters can be very different to the odd weekend or day out together! It’s a risky business and holiday dreams can easily turn into nightmares, so how can you make sure you’ll all still be friends once the holiday is over?
Go large! Big groups spread the cost
Self-catering holiday properties are ideal for large groups, and spreading the cost means you can afford to stay in a far more luxurious property. A private pool is usually a good idea, proving a focal point for relaxing, and entertainment for children. Just make sure everyone is clear on keeping pools, doors or garden gates secure and safe for any children in the group.
Privacy and sleeping areas
You’ll need to choose a property with enough room to give everyone a little privacy. Children may be happy and excited to share with cousins or friends but do consider how this might affect their sleep, as overtired, fractious children are no fun at home or abroad!
Some properties have sofa beds in living areas but this is not really suitable for a week of use, a private bedroom for each couple or single adult is a must. Plenty of bathrooms is another non-negotiable, nobody wants to spend a holiday queuing for the shower! Try to agree on who will have each room before you go away to avoid an awkward start to the holiday when someone nabs the best room! If there are some rooms that are better equipped than others you may want to consider weighting the share of the rental cost to keep things fair.
For larger groups it may be a good idea to pick somewhere with an extra snug or sitting room that can be used as a place for the children to relax and unwind with a DVD in the evening. Your chosen property may have a great outdoor space but do consider how things will work if you are unlucky with the weather so you’re not caught out.
Holiday companions: “complementary” is the key
Choosing your holiday companions is pretty important, if it’s a family holiday you’ll need to take every family member’s views into consideration. It’s worth thinking carefully about the expectations of all parties – a couple hoping for a relaxing week of long lazy lie-ins is not going to be impressed by a dawn chorus of noisy children rampaging about at 6am! Conversely trying to keep a crying baby from disturbing everyone at night can be extremely stressful for new parents.
Similar circumstances and common interests
Holiday groups usually work best if the people involved are at similar life stages and understand the implications of having babies or children in the group. The exception to this is grandparents who are often a great choice of holiday companion for families with children as they’ll love spending time with the kids to give you a break, and might even lay on a bit of babysitting so you can have a night out!
Common interests are also quite important, although holidaying with people who like different things can be a great way to try something new. Keep your independence by ensuring you have separate cars and can plan days out separately as well as spending time together. That way you can join in with a hike or cycle ride but pass on the white water rafting in favour of a trip to the local market!
Chores – share the load!
It’s a good idea to roughly allocate the shopping, cooking and chores. Self-catering is great for groups but there is more scope for perceived unfairness if anyone feels they are doing the lion’s share of the housework. It’s no good leaving it all to chance, if you do the more laid back people will simply never get an opportunity to participate!
Talk about eating plans, including any requirements children may have to eat earlier, and take turns to shop and cook for the group. Bear in mind that if there is a real foodie in the group shopping and cooking with local ingredients may actually be part of the fun of being away, so let them indulge their hobby (lucky you!), but use a kitty for groceries to avoid taking advantage.
One of the best things about shared holidays is sharing childcare. As any parent knows holidays are never the same after the small people come along! If you holiday with other parents you can give each other a break without even trying – bathing, breakfasting or reading a story to four or more children is not much more trouble than for two, and supervising at the pool side only takes one adult at a time leaving others free to relax.
No matter how well you know each other, or how well you get on there are bound to be a few moments where a clash in parenting style, a comment or a difference of opinion causes you to grit your teeth a bit. It can be quite intense having to share, co-operate and compromise with others 24/7 instead of ruling the roost in your own home. As with many things it’s best to overlook minor issues and try and adopt a relaxed attitude – you are on holiday after all!
If you think someone is not helping out enough offer suggestions before resentment starts to fester – these are your friends and they will not be intentionally annoying you! Spending some time apart with a few separate day trips is a good idea to keep things fresh. And if it really does become a holiday nightmare, well, at least it’s only a week or two!
The pros and cons of sharing a holiday:
A group holiday is the only way for parents to get any kind of relaxation time.
If you are used to running your home to a rigid schedule you might find it hard to be flexible and fit in with a more relaxed approach.
|Built in entertainment
A shared holiday gives you time to spend some real quality time with your nearest and dearest.
|Truths may out!
All that time together added to a surplus of holiday wine can bring any unresolved issues to the surface.
|More bang for your buck
Sharing the rental cost of a villa means your money goes further so you can afford a better standard of accommodation with extras like a private pool.
If your holiday companions are very relaxed about cooking and chores you may need to hold back from stepping in and doing it all.
|Discover something different
Whether it’s local food, a new sport or a trip to explore a historical site it’s likely your group will all have different ideas about what to do, meaning you’ll widen your holiday horizons.
|Lack of privacy
It may be hard to get any time alone either as a couple or as a family, don’t be afraid to make separate plans some days and arrange reciprocal babysitting to allow for a ‘date night’.