6 Tips on how to holiday with another family
Compatible Holiday styles – lazy vs active?
If your idea of heaven is lounging by the pool or sunning on the beach all day, then make sure that your friends or family are similarly inclined or happy to do their own thing. If you've got a spread of ages and activity levels then make sure that you're aware and plan accordingly. There's nothing worse than dragging people around an activity when they'd rather be doing nothing!
If you are a golf enthusiast but no-one else in your party is then make sure you book somewhere that has something for everyone!
Complimentary family rules
Making sure that all sets of families or friends have a similar approach to bed-times, meal-times, clearing up, washing, respecting space, and being up-front about fussy eaters. All of these are potential sources of friction. We went on holiday with a family who's children refused to eat anything on the restaurant menu so we ended up eating in every night which wasn't something that we wanted. This caused a lot of ill-feeling on both sides and completely ruined the holiday.
So rather than getting annoyed, having whispered complaints or falling out over the late night for the two-year old, set out common rules before you set off. It will save you getting irritated during the holiday itself.
How compatible are your ages
When planning your trip with your family or friends, make sure that you have compatible ages and phases of children partnered together. Having a baby or toddler can significantly limit some activities or timings (e.g. meals, trekking, hiking, water sports).
Even having the largest bedroom so that you can put a crib in there may cause resentment. Teenagers can also be tricky so make sure that you have similar approaches to social media, phones, games etc. Don't assume that the older ones will be happy to baby-sit, arrange anything like that in advance.
Are you early birds or night owls?
Every family has a mixture of early risers and night owls however you need to ensure that all groups respect the other and that on average, both families successfully overlap for major parts of the day or activities. Having extreme versions of the early birds or night owls can ruin a holiday as we've experienced where the partying until the early hours for days on end, caused major sleep loss and resentment ensued.
Upfront sharing of expenses
What's the plan for paying when you dine out? Split the bill down the middle? Tally up who had what? It's best to come up with a paying plan for the whole trip and stick to it. Don't forget to agree on tipping – it may sound like a small detail but it can cause a complete blow-up if one family decides that they're not tipping and everyone else has to dip into their budget.
Another good tip is to agree a budget so that one family's largesse doesn't embarrass or humiliate the other. Being generous is lovely but can frustrate or cause anger.
Wine or cocktails – breakfast or dinner?
Make sure that all groups have a similar approach to alcohol – again it may sound a bit odd, but having a significant difference in approaches can cause havoc! Having a few beers at lunch time might be fine one day but every day may be an issue for some. There's nothing worse than drinkers and sober people trying to get along without winding each other up.
Sober people and drunk people just don't have that much fun together and falling out over an expensive drinks tab may be a complete relationship killer.
Travelling with friends families and extended family can significantly help the cost of travelling somewhere nice so more of us are tempted to do it. For this to be an enjoyable and successful holiday, agree the rules before you book and definitely before you travel. Check out our selection of family homes in the USA for ideas. Just having a few basic agreements can save your friendship, relationship and whether you enjoy your holiday.