Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Journeying with Friends: How and why vacationing with friends is the way to go

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the difference between a family trip and a vacation (read here).  It was in anticipation of our summer trip to the beach with some friends.  Now that we have returned from such vacation, I have to make an addendum to my initial post.  There is a third type of trip/adventure/vacation.  A journey with friends.  And I have to say, this is the best way to vacation!

So here are the key features and the benefits of such a trip.

1) Shared cost & labor.  We were able to get a wonderful house near the beach.  I had 3 bedrooms which we shared between the 14 of us.  It was tight when I consider the numbers, but the layout of the house made it very comfortable.  It also meant that we shared costs for food, cooking, and clean up too. We took a kid from each family for clean up and those two were responsible for the dishes after the meal.  Kids don't complain nearly so much when working with their friends. 

2) Learning from other parents.  I love to hear from other parents and I love see how other parents do things.  We learned quite a bit about how to vacation with a growing family by watching what our friends do/did with their kids. We also benefited from their expertise about what to do and where to go. For instance, they knew of a great little Dutch town nearby so we took a road trip one day. 

3) Relaxing time with friends after hours.  We were able to put the kids down at night and then engage in shenanigans while the little ones slumbered.  We had a place with rooftop seating and were able to sit up there with some privacy and listen to the beach while we pontificated together.  

4) A festive atmosphere all the time.  At any given time in our family it seems like someone has their nose out of joint. And traveling with another family didn't change that although it reduced it dramatically.  But here is the thing - the other kids didn't care.  And neither did the parents.  So the crankiness never lasted long.  There was too much fun to be had.  You are also able to do things (like have a talent show) - because you have enough people to make it work. 

5) Best behavior.  Kids often behave better when they are away from home.  We just don't see the best behavior at all times.  Traveling with friends however, the kids seemed to recognize the importance of getting along and having a good attitude.  The kids even lead an evening rosary together a few of the nights.    There was very little sibling bickering and most of the time everyone was on their best behavior.  

Do you have a family that you click with… where the spouses all like each other and the kids bring out the best in one another?  That is a gift! Capitalize on that and see if you can work out a little vacation together.  

Before you go, talk about things like meals, bedtimes, schedules, and the overall pace of  the vacation.  Are you planning on just relaxing all the time or do you want to be active and hit the sights? Do you want to spend the time together or do you want/need to have some small family time alone as well.   Have those conversations first and then start planning your next great escape! 

Safe travels and thanks for stopping by!

For tips on taking a Family Road Trip click here...

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