We're spending half term week in a villa in France with another family who we know through school (our DS2 and their DS1 are in the same class). We get on well but aren't particularly close friends. We're flying together but have hired two cars for the week and there are eight of us altogether (four adults, four children all under 8). What should we watch out for to make sure the week goes smoothly without any falling out? We've never been away with another family before.
I would say don't do everything together all the time. As you will have two cars this won't be difficult. Have a 'complete honesty' policy, otherwise you will resent things that annoy if you don't air them.
Have a meeting and discuss what you all like and dislike, how you're going to manage meals, shopping, money for same. Are any of you allergic/have special requirements? Will anyone bring food with them for the first evening meal, and any home-made cakes?
Will you babysit for each other if each couple wants to go out for an adult meal without kids? What sort of toys will you be taking, and could you all take something different to avoid duplication?
Basically, don't sweat the small stuff, relax rules about food and bedtimes, and enjoy it!
We've already agreed to a kitty for food shopping and to babysit for each other at least one night each. Bedtimes could be a problem - theirs go to bed at 7, our go to bed at 8 at the earliest, and usually even later than that on hols.
I doubt their children will go to bed at their usual time if yours aren't at the same time. Perhaps the younger ones could start to get ready for bed just a little later than normal, and the older ones after that. With the change in the time zone it will seem as though they are going to bed late anyway!
I would imagine the first problem is who gets the best room. Invariably with villas, you have one really nice master bedroom, perhaps with an en-suite and then maybe another double and twin rooms. How will you decide who gets the master bedroom?
Food kitty is a good idea in theory but can be tough if you have different financial situations and expectations about food. We try and roughly plan a menu before we go and also chat about how often we might want to eat out. Obviously it will change but it avoids waste and you don't want to get there and discover one couple expects to eat out all the time and the other doesn't.
Also, read a thread a few months ago about people who went on holiday together and took it in turns to pay for meals out. One family would eat and drink loads when it was the other familys turn to pay but when their turn would be extremely modest with their menu choices. Think you need to discuss all this in advance.
They are a bit richer than us to be honest so they might be expecting to buy prime fillet steak and £15 a bottle wine out of the kitty. I'll have a look for that thread. There is a double with en-suite, just the one. I suggested we toss a coin for it but they claim not to be bothered which room they get. We'll see...
can yours go to bed early if required - I have an irrational hatred of putting other peoples dcs to bed when I babysit - my heart sinks if I get to a friends house and their dcs are still running about [aware this is very grumpy]
I have always found the kitty problematic if one family have picky eaters and so need lots of expensive food (fruit shoots, kids cheese etc) that we dont normally eat...its a minefield...but I think you sound quite laidback so might not care about these sorts of things...
Snigger, I'm tempted to swipe the best room but I can't when they're being so reasonable. Giant, I'm really not laid back at all but I'm going to make a real effort to be tolerant and accommodating for the sake of harmony. It's only a week, after all.