“Remind me never to travel with my parents” one of my friends recently posted on Facebook.
It’s probably something we have all thought at times. Without going into the psychology of it, travelling with parents, adult siblings and even friends can at times be stressful. But it can also be a wonderful experience.
Planning is the key to organising a holiday with extended family and friends. You cannot bury your head in the sand and expect everything will just flow. Here are my tips on what you should consider:
Choosing the accommodation
Everyone is going to have different expectations. Be about open about likes and limitations. Consider everyone’s budget, features you would like and whether you want to share one place or stay in your own rooms in the same complex.
There is no point one person researching accommodation that will cost $2000 for the week if someone only has a budget of $1000. It might sound like hard work, but you will get a short list and come up with something everyone is happy (or at least satisfied) with.
Last year I was lucky enough to stay in a beautiful Italian villa with my family, my brother and his family and my parents – a total of 6 adults and 4 children.
Believe it or not, the issue that caused the most tension was dinner. My brother and his wife do not like cooking while on holiday and wanted to eat out. However, my husband & I believed a barbecue or take away pizza at the villa was a better option.
Neither of us was right or wrong in what we wanted. But because we had not discussed our expectations prior to the holiday, it did lead to some tension.
I don’t know about you, but I hate waiting for people and the indecision holidaying as a group can bring. I know this sounds a bit banal, but set out expectations and wishes at the start of the holiday and plot out what days you plan to do what activity. Being inclusive and diplomatic can result in no decision being made and days wasted doing nothing.
Remember – holidaying together does not mean you are joined at the hip. If everyone wants to do something, do it together. But if you want to do something no-one else does, just go! If you don’t, you will probably regret it later.
Who looks after the kids?
The beauty of having lots of adults around is that there are lots of eyes to watch the kids. But just because there are lots of grown-ups around, does not always mean they are watching your children.
Even if you are off to the toilet for a minute or two, let others know so they can keep any eye on your children.
Offer to babysit each other’s children so you can all have ‘date nights’ with your partners, as well as afternoon ‘nanna naps’.
Different parents, different discipline
This is the hardest one to offer advice on. What do you do when you’ve told your children not to do something, but you are with a mum who does not seem to mind their own child doing the same?
Different parenting styles come to the fore on holiday – even little things like bed times. What do you do when your children go to bed at 8.30pm but others in your group go at 7.30pm? Do you make yours go early when the other mum is adamant hers will not go later?
Maybe this is where you really do have to grit your teeth, take a deep breath and chant the word ‘compromise’ over and over again. And remember all the GOOD things about holidaying together with extended family and friends, not just for you, but for your children.