If you’re planning a vacation, you might also hope to include another family in your trip. There are great benefits of a vacation involving multiple families.
For example, you can have fun being with friends. Your kids may also have the opportunity to have playmates on the trip. There are certain things you might be able to share the cost of as well, for example, if you rent a house or cook meals.
While there are plenty of benefits, there can be potential downsides to vacationing with another family.
For example, what if you have different ideas of what’s enjoyable? What if you have different parenting styles that influence your interactions with one another? What if one family isn’t pulling their weight in terms of budget or other factors?
It’s very possible that traveling together can be a make-or-break in your important friendships.
With that in mind, the following are some ways to travel with another family but come back still on good terms.
Be Sure the Kids Get Along Before the Trip
If you’re already close friends and spend a fair amount of time with the family you’re thinking about traveling with, you may be aware of how the kids get along. If not, you should find out beforehand.
Even if you get along well with the parents, if the kids don’t tend to mesh well, it will make for a much more stressful trip.
In general, be careful about who you’re going with before you plan any kind of trip with another family.
If you have even a bit of hesitation, you should probably find other travel partners.
Talk About Money Well in Advance
Budgeting and money are uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s much better to talk about these things well ahead of your trip rather than having to do it at the moment when tensions may already be high.
First, when you begin talking to another family about vacationing together, talk about your budget and make sure you’re all on the same page. If you aren’t in sync with what you want to spend on things like excursions, theme park and activity tickets, rental houses, or hotels and restaurants, it’s not a good fit.
Don’t overextend yourself to try and keep up with another family, and if you can’t compromise on a budget, rethink your plan.
Get specific on your budget as well. For example, what are you going to do about food? Who will pay for what when it comes to that? One way to avoid awkwardness or arguments on the actual trip is to create a shared expense fund before you leave.
Once you have a budget in mind, make sure you’re planning the vacation together. You don’t want to surprise the other family with something they’re not going to like and vice versa. Before anything is booked or solidified, run it by the other family for feedback at a minimum.
Talk About Parenting Style
Before you go on a trip with another family and you both have kids, you should have at least a general discussion about your parenting style. For example, if one family lets their kids stay up until ten and the other family has a strict 8 p.m. bedtime, it can be a problem. You don’t have to parent exactly the same to travel together, but you should in a general sense try and get on the same page to make things go more smoothly.
Vacation is a good time to go light on the rules anyway. Even if you’re strict about certain things with your kids, try to let the little things go when you’re on vacation.
Discuss Vacation Style
We all have a different way of vacationing and varying ideas for what we see getting out of a trip.
For example, some people say vacation is a time to unwind and relax completely. They might like to do little or nothing when they travel. Other people prefer adventure travel, while some want to constantly go and see all the attractions a destination has to offer.
Having different travel styles isn’t automatically a deal-breaker if you’re planning to go with another family, but it is something to think about. As you’re planning your itinerary and the specifics of your trip, it’s a good idea to have a nice mix of what everyone will like.
It’s also fine when you travel with other people to take time apart and do different activities as well. You might want to talk about how you hope to do that before the trip so the other family doesn’t get offended or think it’s something they’ve done.
As you create a loose plan for the trip, maybe you’ll highlight specific things you will do apart and together.
Come to a Consensus on Chores
If you’re renting a condo or vacation home, you’ll probably have to do some chores. Before leaving, decide how you’ll break these up so that one family isn’t feeling like they’re pulling all the weight.
For example, tasks you’ll need to get done even on vacation include making the beds, doing laundry, washing dishes, sweeping and preparing meals.
Finally, part of preserving your relationship with the other family depends on how you handle things while you’re there and afterward. While you’re on the trip, let little things go. This is a good rule of thumb for reducing stress when you travel in general.
You might face challenges on your trip but ultimately, what you remember will be the good times or at least they will be if you avoid focusing on the small things.
You also don’t want to gossip about the other family after your trip. You may notice they have strange habits, or perhaps their kids aren’t as well-behaved as you once thought. Remember, they probably saw some things about your family that surprised them as well, so keep it to yourself with your mutual friends.