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Holidays

Tips for surviving a big family holiday ?

7 replies

glassbrightly · 17/04/2021 09:09

We are going on a long family holiday next year with our three DC (will be 8,6,4) and my parents (70's). We've been on holiday with them before and to this area, but not for so long. We are really enjoying planning it as we haven't seen them in a year and it's our way of keeping us sane.

We are big "planners" anyway re holidays but just not usually for this long (5 weeks) or this far in advance. I would welcome any tips on making it fun for everyone and not getting so excited that it's a let down.

The holiday will be a mix of beach based relaxation and a more city like / activity based couple of weeks - it's stuff we all know we enjoy. Here's what we've done so far:

  • tried to reflect on what's gone well/ not well on previous trips
  • been very clear that apart from specific day trips my parents are free to join in/ not join in/ plan days out - no expectation they have to join in
  • beyond 1/2 nights when the kids are asleep and we go out for a late supper no expectation of babysitting
  • got an early sense of my parents budget so we can be respectful of that


Anything else ?
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Fivemoreminutes1 · 17/04/2021 09:40

I think the trick with a holiday is not to over-plan, as you run the risk of plans derailing due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or transport and then feeling like a failure or that the holiday ‘went wrong’. Yes, it’s probably a good idea to book some things in advanced maybe, and have some back up activities in case of bad weather, but leave room for being spontaneous and going with the flow - how everybody actually feels at the time.
Also, don’t try too hard to make sure everyone else has fun at the expense of not having unwinding and fun yourself. I think to some extent, people have got to try and make their own fun and if they don’t, then that’s their problem. Although I suppose this is less the case when your children are as young as yours. Anyway, you’ve already said that the activities are ones which you know you all enjoy, so surely that’s enough?

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Roszie · 17/04/2021 09:43

Play it by ear. If you over plan it it'll make it far too stressful.

The bit where you've written apart from the days out they are expected to come in stands out. They might not fancy it on that day.

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RainingBatsAndFrogs · 17/04/2021 09:47

Planning more than a year in advance is tricky as you have no idea how young children will evolve during that time in terms of eating, sleeping, willingness to walk or be out al day etc etc.

General principles is good, wrt babysitting, paying for groceries, level of independence for days out, taking turns to cook etc.

But as with any holiday involving young children you will need an idea for a range of activities that you have researched as a potential, and a willingness to be flexible / play it by ear.

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glassbrightly · 17/04/2021 10:36

I am afraid we are massive over planners as a family, so that won't change ! We have had to deal with hurricanes, cancelled flights, missing luggage, wrong bookings etc. The activity part of the holiday also requires booking so I am OK with that. We have also been there three times with the kids so happy that I know what they'll like and capabilities (as well as have fall backs). Planning now is really helping us keep going through all of this !

You're right my ultimate nightmare is someone being taken ill or a broken limb - but I guess those are risks

Any tips on keeping it sane when we are there ? We aren't planning on telling the kids where we are going/ what we are doing so that also keeps some flex ?

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Neolara · 17/04/2021 11:04

I've been on many very successful family holidays with my family and one unsuccessful holiday with my dh's family.. The difference was that on the holidays that worked, each individual family did their own thing, which often but not always was the same as the other families involved. So, family A would head to a beach. Family B and family C may then meet them at the beach a bit later and everyone hung out together there, but the families would often leave at separate times. No family had to wait for anyone else to get ready and no family had any obligation to do the same thing as any other family, but often they chose to do so. Everyone stayed in the same house and had supper together, with cooking shared. If people were around, they had breakfast and lunch together. It was all very relaxed. The very unsuccessful family holiday I went on, my (lovely) in-laws were joined to us by the hip. We literally didn't have a moment apart from them for the whole week. My sil and her family spent no time with them at all during the day which meant my DH felt obliged to hang out with his parents who clearly wanted to spend all their time with others. Much as I like my in-laws, this did not make for a great holiday. The sad thing for my in-laws is the result that we have never gone on a family holiday with them again and I never would. I think it's important to clearly establish what everyone's expectations are around going away together before you go.

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rookiemere · 17/04/2021 20:06

We go away with SIL and their extended family every year for a while. Things that work are each family unit having their own transport, no expectation that everyone does everything together.

If we plan to do something the next day we will say what time we're leaving so that anyone who wants to join need to be ready for that time.

We used to pay for half the food, even though we made up a quarter of the people, and I got resentful of doing that, also of doing disproportionately more cooking and tidying up than most of the party. So now we try to ensure that different family members provide meals each evening and if the young people want crates of coke or whatever when we're out I'll ask for the money for it.

I also sometimes need time alone and need to be sensible about getting that.

Enjoy- it sounds like you already have some good ideas.

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zafferana · 22/04/2021 13:32

  • No expectation that you will do everything together - in fact works best if each family/couple can do their own thing if they want so no pressure to join in if they don't to
  • Have two cars so you're both independent units
  • Divvy up food shopping budget fairly
  • Make sure you know each others' red lines e.g. if your DPs need a private en-suite bathroom because of medical issues and there is only one en-suite room, give it to them
  • unless you all get on like a house on fire don't go for five fucking weeks!!!! One week is our limit for family trips.
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