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Going on holiday with friends/friends children

38 replies

Tasa · 02/05/2001 21:08

I'm writing an article on friends going on holiday/weekend with friends and friends' children. Anyone got any horror stories or tips on how to make it work?

OP posts:

Rhiannon · 03/05/2001 19:03

I'd love to know too, we're sharing a house with another family in Orlando at the end of the month. I deperately hope we get on OK but we've never been away together in the same accommodation before.


Rozzy · 04/05/2001 12:28

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Helenmh · 04/05/2001 12:59

e have been away with friends and their children several times. I would say the most important thing to agree before you go that either family should be free to have time away from one another without anyone being offended. We had some days together.It is probably best to make this simple. With 7 boys the days by the beach or by the pool were the best to do together. The more complicated days eg sightseeing are the ones we were most likely to separate for. Make sure that you agree beforehand on domestic arrangements if self catering eg coooking, shopping etc.


Esme · 08/05/2001 19:01

Myself and my son (13 months) are going away with a friend and her 22 month old son for a cheapie holiday in Menorca. We go next in a couple of weeks so I will let you know how it goes!! Unfortunately we will not have our own seperate villas which sounds very civilised but instead will be sharing a very small apartment!!! It sounds hellish but I'm up for hectic but hopefully fun week.


Marina · 09/05/2001 10:22

We're sharing a gite with our son's godparents and their two sons in France this summer, so we can report back on it too. We weren't really in the villa market but managed to find largish houses with TWO BATHROOMS. That was a must. Finding places that had two double bedrooms was a bigger problem. I don't see either couple volunteering to spend a fortnight on plank-like twin beds, or even more amusingly, in bunks. What are these self-catering firms thinking of?
Our biggest problem so far has been kindly dissuading godfather from taking us all in their people-carrier. I love him dearly but a trip in his car is worse than anything Alton Towers has to offer. So we have forked out an extra £400 for a ferry crossing in August...


Alisong · 10/05/2001 12:43

I would say decide before you go what the catering arrangements are, who pays for what, whether you are going to do joint activities or meet up at certain times in the day. My experience of it ( a week at Centerparcs last Dec) was very positive - we took it in turns to babysit in the evenings and my daughter managed to sleep through the noise my friends' sons made every morning from 6am onwards which probably helped morale.


Tiktok · 11/05/2001 08:54

We've done this, with success. The key to it was having separate accomodation - gites side by side. We took it in turns to cook for everyone, and there was a couple of 'nights off' where the families separated to have dinner elsewhere. I don't think I would have enjoyed 10 people sharing the same house, or worse, the same bathroom. Sep. accomodation means you can show irritation or anger to your partner or kids, without embarrassing anyone!


Azzie · 11/05/2001 11:41

We've done this lots, and really enjoyed it. We've found it works best when we all eat together in the evenings (taking it in turns to cook, so everyone gets time off, plus the other parents entertain your kids while you cook) and do our own thing in the daytime. Sometimes we team up with the others to do things during the day, but no-one expects it, so everyone has their own family time/space and no-one gets offended if people want to go off and do things not as a group.

The only sort of agreement we have that helps to make things work is that whichever parent is present at any given moment is The Law, and has the right to dispense whatever discipline the situation calls for. This helps to make things much more relaxed for us as parents, because you don't have to be on duty all the time. My only proviso here would be to make sure that you and your friends have a broadly similar approach to child rearing and discipline issues! The plus side of this we've found to be that not only does our son treat our friends with respect, but also, because he knows they are In Charge too, he is happy to go to them if he has any sort of problem when we're not around.


Marina · 06/06/2001 08:51

How did you get on in Orlando then Rhiannon? Did you have a good time? Are you all still friends?


Rhiannon · 06/06/2001 12:46

Well yes we're all still friends! I learnt a few things I didn't know about them though! I won't go into details as I know other friends may be reading!!!!

Basically our friends' pace wasn't as fast as ours and we were constantly hanging around for them waiting for them to get ready/go to the loo/pack their bags for the day etc. Unfortunately going out at 8am meant they were ready around 8.30am!

We got our own car after the first week, two cars is a definite so you can each do your own thing.


Esme · 12/06/2001 14:40

Had a great time in Menorca. Neither of us had payed a lot for the holiday and did not go with any great expectations except to enjoy the beach and have a good muck about with the children. We agreed to go dutch on food and it was pretty even stephens by the end of the holiday. We agreed that which ever parent was in charge could lay the law down but as we both don't go in for shouting or smacking there wasn't a conflict of practice.

I think a week was about long enough but we both came back even better friends!


Bugsy · 12/06/2001 15:49

We have been on holiday very successfully with another family twice now. Both times it was a ski-ing holiday and we had been on holiday with the adults before they became parents. My main piece of advice to anyone would be to make sure that they know the other family (adults) very well indeed. Imagine the other adults at their most irritating and ask yourself if you could cope with that for 7 days. The good thing about ski-ing is that you have the opportunity to all be outside doing your own thing during the day and have lots to talk about in the evenings.
However, to my utter horror we went out to dinner with a couple we know quite well last weekend and after a few glasses of wine my husband suggested we do a holiday together. The other couple thought that this was the best idea they had ever heard, while I was dying inside. They are such high maintenance and immediately started saying how they'd organise a nanny (I know essential for some people, but not me) to take and how we'd have to have x number of rooms and the pool would have to have steps and the beach could be no more than x yards away etc. The wife is incredibly precious and needy. So while they are great fun for an evening the thought of a holiday with them is about as appealling as a really bad migraine. Nightmare!!!
The whole thing has spiralled hideously out of control and they are keen as mustard. My only hope now is that I am either very heavily pregnant or have just given birth this time next year and cannot possibly go.
I'll leave it to your imaginations as to what I said to my husband on the way home from dinner!!!!


Tigermoth · 12/06/2001 16:25

Bugsy, sorry to say I read about your dilemma and laughed. So awful of me.

My husband is also keen to organise social events without a nod in my direction first. A big attack of vagueness on my part helps these things not to happen. Still, I live in dread for a while.

Hope for your sake that apathy sets in soon.


Rhiannon · 12/06/2001 20:14

Bugsy, I'm sure you can think of an excuse why you can't go! Pretend your going to do home improvements/buy a new car/house/designer dress and that the money has been promised elsewhere!
Get it out of the way quick before they start appearing with brochures, then it'll get really tricky! Good Luck.


Spring · 13/06/2001 14:15

Bugsy, the same thing happened to me before we had our daughter. Some friends were round for dinner and the conversation got round to holidays. My husband mentioned a 'last minute' deal he had seen and within 5 minutes the three of them were planning whose car we would take to the airport etc. I was absolutely furious, these friends are more his friends than mine if you know what I mean (both men play golf together, his wife is OK but not someone I would pick as a close friend). I was so upset as we had only been married a few months and still enjoying the newly-wed happiness thing. I made him ring them the next day and explain that on reflection maybe it wouldn't be such a good idea to do this right now and that I had hoped that our first holiday together would be just the two of us. I told him to blame me, whatever, but I definitely was not spending precious holiday time with others (dh works long hours and weekends).

For some reason we didn't see quite so much of them after that!!!


Bugsy · 14/06/2001 10:00

I'd be laughing too Tigermoth if it wasn't happening to me! The wife has already 'phoned me to say how they have been looking into villas and areas of France. I have put the dampeners on a bit by saying that we are thinking of having a second baby and I was unsure of when we could commit to because of this. I hate feeling trapped into having to say this as I would never normally be telling people about my reproductive plans. She even asked on the 'phone if we were trying already and suggested that we might not conceive that quickly given my husband works away from home during the week. Can you imagine going on holiday with this woman for a week?
Regretably because she was initially my friend I can't get my husband to retract the offer and blame me.
I don't often have murderous inclinations towards my husband but I have to say that on this one I really did/do.


Tigermoth · 14/06/2001 10:15

I've got it, Bugsy! Invent a sudden interest in Youth Hostelling, send off for information or visit their website on (think that's correct), and insist to all that this is the only type of holiday in France you will consider.

Should put the brakes on nicely?


Sml · 14/06/2001 10:32

Enter the mumsnet competition, and pretend you've won a holiday - if you're not lucky, you can always book one on the quiet. husbands do unforgivable things at times!


Mooma · 14/06/2001 13:37

Bugsy, you poor thing. You must avoid this at all costs. Holiday time is much too precious to be squandered. Why don't you contact your 'friend' and explain that when you are on holiday, you really need some time as a family, what with all the pressures of working long hours etc. For goodness' sake, don't do this just for the sake of keeping the peace. I have just confronted a friend on a related issue. It took me ages to get my courage up, but she totally understood and the air is now clear again. It's a wonderful relief!


Bugsy · 14/06/2001 14:01

Thank you all. Top tip from SML. Winning a holiday could be a very neat way out. I'm definitely not going with them, it is just going to be a question of some crafty manoeuvres. If anyone else has any bright ideas, I'd be delighted to hear them.


Harrysmum · 14/06/2001 15:23

How do I get out of going on holiday to/with husband's siblings? Much as I like them (which actually isn't a huge amount) I feel like since we had our baby under the most immense pressure for all our annual leave to be spent with either M&FIL or B&SIL - we live very far away from them and have the whole "we just want to be a part of his life" thing which I do understand but I really want to be just the three of us relaxing sometime! They are very much a family family - they socialise with family and so find it a bit odd that I prefer (sometimes) to be with friends or just K & H. They have been up to stay at every opportunity since Harry was born and we have been to them several times (he's only 8 months!!) and I want my summer holiday to be just us - but K is more sympathetic to their expectations ... how do I not spend time with them?


Bells1 · 14/06/2001 15:29

Oh how I feel for you on this Bugsy!. Another suggestion would be to invent an international wedding of a friend / relative in the country of your preferred holiday destination.

One of my worst holidays ever was in Corsica with 8 of us in a 4 bedroom house. What the brochure neglected to mention was that to get to bedrooms 3 and 4, you had to walk though bedrooms 1 and 2 respectively. Naturally hubby and me got the bedroom behind the couple noisily auditioning for the sexual Olympics...all I remember about Corsica is bursting to go the loo for hours on end!.


Rhiannon · 14/06/2001 18:23

Harrysmum, are they holidaying in this country? Why not bend half way and tell K you'll join them for just a long weekend and no more? Then book your own trip elsewhere just the three of you.


Emmam · 15/06/2001 08:20

Oh Harrysmum I feel for you. SIL has suggested everyone go away together for Christmas. Fortunately hubby is not keen so we won't be going. I've never seen so much of my in-laws since our son was born. One thing that works for us is that hubby will now visit his parents with our son alone giving me the chance for a lie in, or a few hours to myself at a weekend.

I think there just comes a point where you've got to be honest and say 'look, no offence, but we'd actually prefer to go away by ourselves' giving a list of reasons such as because of work don't see each other very much, like to spend some quality time just the three of us, don't relish the idea of travelling with a small child, I could go on. If you do feel pressured to go on holidays with other people/families then insist that you have your own apartments.

Other SIL wants us to visit her for a few days and hubby is keen on that one, but I will be honest with him and tell him I really don't want to go. That way at least he knows how I feel and maybe we can reach a compromise.

Just had a thought - what about investing in a video camera and sending the family regular tapes of your son? This might satisfy their need to see what he is up to, how fast he is growing and cut back on some of the trips. You could get them to do the same - send tapes with messages to your son and then they could feel they are interacting with him over the miles!

Families eh - aaaaahhhhhh!


Batters · 15/06/2001 08:42

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