Of course you love your friends, and you regret not being able to see them more often the rest of the year. That's why you had the bright idea of going on holiday together.
But beware! This joint adventure could prove less relaxing and fun than expected, and could even escalate into a showdown! In fact, you’re going to have to learn to live with each other’s habits and moods. A challenge and a half! Here are some helpful tips so that all goes smoothly.
Organise the ideal casting
It's very important to carefully choose the people with whom you go on holiday. Be merciless. It's for your own good, believe us!
Say yes to your old friends with whom you've already been on holiday and share the same interests, values, pace and lifestyle.
Say no to couples who are on the verge of breaking up, to parents exhausted by their baby or teenager, to the depressed colleague that you hardly know or to your childhood friend's snobbish latest flame.
And above all, if you are single, NEVER go on holiday with a group made up exclusively of parents or couples!
You know the saying "Forewarned is forearmed!" so put it into practice by organising a meeting with everyone beforehand. That way, you can all relate (with a smile!) your needs, wishes, hopes and potential worries. Bringing this all up in advance will prevent avoid any misunderstandings.
Extra tip: to get your message across, tell them an anecdote about friends of a friend who also went on holiday as a group.
Pick the right place
Avoid going to the family home of one of the group members. Even if this is the cheapest option, you might find that you can’t properly relax. The "guests" would feel less at ease, be afraid of breaking something and maybe feel indebted.
Pick somewhere neutral that meets all the criteria you set: sea, mountains, countryside, holiday club, self-catering, B & B, hotel, etc. Find somewhere big enough so everyone can have their own space and privacy (one room per couple or single person) and enough bathrooms to avoid queuing!
|Don’t be afraid to mention money|
In spite of what you may think, money can still be taboo among friends. It can be easier asking your boss for a raise than asking your pals to help pay for the petrol!
Let it be clear from the beginning by fixing a set budget for everything, but be fair! There's no way your single friend should be contributing to jars of baby food, for example.
If your finances are a bit tight, don't feel obliged to keep up with the others. You could regret it when you get home.
Extra tip: keep a notebook in which each of you writes down exactly what he/she has spent. And don't forget to tally up regularly.
Limit the length of your holiday
Don't be tempted to spend the whole of your annual leave with your friends. As lovely as they are, there will come a point when you'll feel tired and won't feel the benefit of your holiday together.
The ideal length of time is one week, especially if you have never gone away together before. Seven days are long enough to enjoy each other’s company and short enough if things don't go so well.
Extra tip: to help you get over all the excitement and emotions, take an extra week off on your own or with your other half!
Plan the housework
Get everyone to chip in to buy a small blackboard which you can use to write down the weely planning. Everybody must give a hand.
You'll never get bored if nobody does the same thing everyday so if Peter and Paula go to the supermarket on Saturday, for example, they'll wash the pots the following day. The children must help too: they can set the table, tidy their rooms, etc.
Extra tip : don't try and organise the planning on your own. You'll soon get fed up and you risk becoming the scapegoat of the group if something goes wrong. Organise things together!
Stay cool with the kids
Take care of them but live and let live! They are on holiday too. Let them have fun with the other children of the group. Don't interfere in their squabbles or everybody may gang up on you.
But decide with the other parents the children's lunch and dinner times, preferably before the adults’ meal times so it'll be quieter for you… and for them!
For safety reasons, always designate an adult to keep an eye on the younger children.
Above all: never give your opinion about the way your friends bring up their children. It's a very touchy subject.
Take it easy
Make the most of your group holiday and common budget which may allow you to use services you couldn't afford the rest of the year.
A home helper could take care of the cleaning and tidying (bathrooms, kitchen, living room, etc) during your stay and when you leave. That way, you'll be sure of getting your deposit back. A babysitter or an aupair could take care of the kids and a cook could prepare your meals.
Extra tip: why not hire a personal coach to help you keep in shape during your summer break?
You chose to spend your holiday with a group of friends so don't stay on your own! Be part of the group. Share your friends' passions and interests
If your friend Mary loves museums, go visit some with her! Her husband loves fishing? Why not organise a fishing trip? Hire some bikes for an outing and a picnic, play boardgames for a cosy evening in or put the world to rights over a cocktail or two...
Extra tip: never impose any activity. Everyone must feel free to do as he/she pleases.
Keep some independence
Just because you’re a group, it doesn’t mean you must do everything together. It may become tiring after a while and you all need some breathing space.
Don't feel obliged to take breakfast with everyone: some people need more sleep than others! You can each do as you please during the day, for example, and enjoy each other’s companyfor lunch or the evening meal.
Extra tip: choose a location not too far from the town centre so you can go do things on your own without having to depend on someone for a lift if you don’t have a car.
Don't forget to take a good book. It’s a great way of escaping and it could be an interesting subject of conversation with your friends!