Vacationing with another Family can be a great way to multiply the fun, cut costs and share babysitting duties so that every set of parents gets a real break. However, it can also leave you in tears and destroy previously cherished relationships if you haven’t prepared yourself for new situations. Spending time with your friends is a lot different than living with them, even on a short-term basis in a vacation home. Here are some covacation tips that will help ensure a successful multi-family trip.
1. When vacationing with another family choose a compatible family
Ask yourself a few questions before deciding to go on vacation with another family. Are the children close to the same age? Do the parents enjoy each other’s company? Do the families have similar interests? If your family enjoys vacationing at resorts and another family prefers to pitch a tent in the camp, then vacationing together might not be the best choice.
2. Create a vacation budget
Create a vacation budget and stick to it. All parties involved need to be open and honest with each other in regard to what they can afford. Make certain everyone is comfortable upfront with vacation costs. Determine how expenses will be shared in order to avoid issues later. That way, creative arrangements can be made that work well for everyone.
3. Get everyone on the same page
Have planning meetings to thoroughly discuss the trip and reach a consensus on as many of the details as possible prior to a multi-family vacation. The more that has been discussed beforehand, the less chance there will be conflict during the vacation. Even if one parent or family is taking the lead on making arrangements, it is important to obtain agreement from all other parties before finalizing anything.
Some items that should be discussed ahead include:
– Destination or type of vacation (resort, vacation rental, cruise)
– Activities: Decide in advance whether all activities/outings will be done together, separately, or a combination of the two.
– Meals: Will everyone generally dine together or apart? If dining together, when is meal time? If you rent a vacation home, who will be responsible for buying groceries, preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards?
– Joint discipline: Ground rules should be discussed ahead of time: Can people eat anywhere? When is bed time? The rules don’t have to be the same for all kids, but getting your child used to the idea there might be different rules, sets you up for success.
4. Don’t do everything together
Sometimes being together 24/7 is just too much of a good thing, even for the best of friends. Most adults understand the need for alone time with one’s family. It’s always a good idea to split up for activities from time to time so that everyone can pursue their own interests. It’s particularly easy to do this when vacationing at a theme park, a large resort or on a cruise, but it’s possible to plan some time apart on any type of vacation. When sharing a vacation home, make sure to choose a place large enough to comfortably accommodate everyone. Adequate outdoor space also helps family members to spread out and get away from one another whenever necessary.
5. Be flexible when vacationing with another family
Flexibility is the most important factor in enjoying a successful vacation with other families. Be prepared to try new activities and foods, and adjust your standard vacation schedule. It’s not the end of the world if your kids have a later (or earlier) bedtime or eat a few more sweets than usual. Focus on fun and let the rest go!