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Going on holiday as a family

by Sarah Horrocks Published on 16 February 2009

On paper, a big family holiday can seem like heaven, but it can also be a recipe for disaster if you're not used to living with the rest of the family.

1. Be realistic

The perfect family only exists in breakfast cereal ads, and any gripes or annoyances that have built up over the years will not miraculously disappear just because you’re on holiday. Your mum will still complain about your cooking, your niece will still hog the bathroom for hours and your sister-in-law will still not be able to stop herself from making remarks about your weight....There's bound to be conflict. Though you can't change the people you're going away with, you can learn to deal with them better.

2. Put things into perspective

Easier said than done! But with a bit of humour, distance and maturity you'll put up with unpleasant remarks, disagreements over organisation, mood swings etc.

3. Negotiate

A few weeks before going on holiday, make sure you get a few things straight:

- You're not going to babysit on holiday

- Your kids may not want to do the same things as your sister’s, so each to their own. - You don't have to be dragged on trips you don't want to come on.

Try and cover any issues which could cause problems before you set off.

4. Participate
Everyone is on holiday and will be looking forward to a break. The others aren't there to serve you, so share the housework duties around evenly (breakfast, shopping, washing the dishes, cleaning, clothes etc). If everyone does their bit there won't be any conflict.

5. Spend some time alone

Seeing too much of some people can make you riled by the slightest little thing. It’s important to have breathuing space, so why not go and treat yourself to a massage, go shopping alone, visit a museum or enjoy a siesta with a book when everyone else is at the beach, for example?

6. Don’t get invovled

If your nephew goes out all night, wakes up at 3pm and is incapable of communication, it's not your problem. It's up to his mum to reprimand him or not. If couples are squabbling, let them sort out their own problems. If your sister-in-law interrupts her husband mid-flow, no comment. don't get involved in other people's gripes and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress!

7. Family spirit

You only have one family and even if sometimes you wished they lived on Mars, you love them all the same or you wouldn't be going on holiday with them. Avoid going out every night with your friends or only lazing on the beach with the younger crowd. Spend quality time with the family. Long chats with your parents over ice cream, cinema on a rainy day with your nephews, mass picnics, board games or ‘just us’ nights are good for group morale and make memories to treasure.

by Sarah Horrocks

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