have you vacationed with multiple families? need advice, hints, tips

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Posted 1/17/2013 by clee321 in NSBR Board
 

clee321
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Posted: 1/17/2013 10:50:45 AM
We have been invited to vacation for a week with 3 other couples. We havent done a vacation befk re much less one with other couples & kids.

So, what should we do to make this a successfully fun vacation?



luckywife
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Posted: 1/17/2013 10:55:10 AM
We have done it a few times, and it was really fun.

Can you provide a few more details? Is food provided, or will you be sharing meal duties? Are you all staying in one large home/condo/building, or will you have separate accommodations? Are the kids close in age, or is there a large range?

If you give a few more details, I can give some ideas!


Mrs. Steven Rudy


Peabay
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Posted: 1/17/2013 10:55:14 AM
In my opinion? Spell out everything before hand so there's no confusion. Who is cooking what, when, how etc... Are we going out for dinner every night? Are we taking turns cooking? Who wants an active vacation? Who wants to just lay around? Do we have to do everything together? Should we be on our own during the day and come together at night?

Way too much drama when one family expects to eat in every day and night and one family wants to eat every meal out (that would be my family, btw - I don't cook on vacation.)



Peabay
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Posted: 1/17/2013 11:00:12 AM
Also, make sure you're all on the same page regarding expenditures. You don't want one family on a budget and the other one saying: "let's go parasailing! Let's go horseback riding!" Awkward for both families.



clee321
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Posted: 1/17/2013 11:18:42 AM
Four families. Each family has 2 kids. Oldest child is 9 or 10. Youngest is 20 months. A large vacation house rental which sleeps 16.

Not much has been discussed beyond that. One hubby has commented that he is concerned with being stuck with the costs if someone backs out. Also sta ted that he doesn't want to have to do everything together the whole time.

I never imagined us all being together the whole time, so that was eye opening.



Epeanymous
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Posted: 1/17/2013 11:26:15 AM
I agree with having everyone talk about expectations with respect to possibly shared expenses. Will everyone eat meals together in the house or not, eg. It might also be good to see if everyone can get on the same page about bedtimes, naps, etc.--I don't mean everyone needs to sleep at the same time, but if you put a toddler with a nap schedule in the house as well as people with varying sleep schedules, I find it is helpful to have some agreed-upon "quiet hours" that are predictable. I had an annoying vacation with a couple who had a child who needed absolute silence for naps and night sleep but wasn't o a specific schedule; it made it hard to share space, and made it clear mid-week that I needed flexible activities out of the house with my kids mid-day, since my kids could not be absolutely silent in the house for hours at a time.

I'd also make sure everyone pays for the house and any other up-front costs before you go, if possible.

sunny 5
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Posted: 1/17/2013 11:39:39 AM
I think the couples should meet and write up ground rules...and create a chore chart so there is no confusion...people can trade chores, but everyone is responsible to see that it gets done.
set quiet hours.. periodic check in times...like 2nd day breakfast..take 15 minutes and see if there are issues to solve.

so if you add some structure up front, you may lessen the conflicts of style.

chores could be ...quick clean up of living space, kitchen clean, manage garbage, cooking, meal planing and shopping..bathrooms...


Kerry in CT
PeaFixture

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Posted: 1/17/2013 11:49:50 AM
It may sleep 16, but some of those beds will probably be pull out couches in the living room. I'd want to have all the specifics of the bedrooms spelled out in advance. If someone's kids will be sleeping in the LR, that cuts into any evening activities for the adults.


Kerry in CT

Kelpea
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Posted: 1/17/2013 11:52:20 AM
ITA with Peabay and the others about the rules, expectations, $$ spent on extras, etc.

I have done OBX with two families (one each/different years). One family and ours were in perfect sync; the other? OMG no. lol. Their method of parenting was to scream their childrens' names from across the room/house/beach. I love them to death but it was too stressful for a redo.

Think about your parenting styles/personalities before you commit.



TheBiscuitScraps
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Posted: 1/17/2013 11:54:41 AM
Everyone needs to state expectations...and everyone needs to understand that everybody does not like to do everything other people want to do. Each family needs to be able to come and go as they please.

We enjoy eating one or two times together and being on or own the rest of the time.

Good luck.


Carol
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Miss Lerins Momma
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Posted: 1/17/2013 12:03:04 PM
We've done it several times (with family though, but several different couples/some with kids, some without).

We have stayed all in the same condo, went to the grocery and bought stuff for quick breakfasts and drinks, and ate dinner out each night. We went to Disney every day too.

We have also all stayed at the same resort, some getting rooms to share, some getting rooms of their own. Everyone was on their own for food, but we tried to eat all meals out together. And we always went to the beach/pool together.

We've also done quite a few of cruises with huge groups of people that we know, everyone getting their own rooms and sitting together at dinner at each night.

In fact, we've never taken a vacation just the 4 of us (me, DH & the girls). We love travelling with others, it's so much more fun to us. I think what makes it easier is that we rarely cook while we are on vacation, we do make cereal for breakfast and sometimes sandwiches for lunch, but that's about it. We just have to decide on a place about where to eat for dinner and sometimes with a larger group you have to wait a little longer to be seated, but it's never really been an issue (we have a pretty easy going group).








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Miss Lerins Momma
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Posted: 1/17/2013 12:03:06 PM
We've done it several times (with family though, but several different couples/some with kids, some without).

We have stayed all in the same condo, went to the grocery and bought stuff for quick breakfasts and drinks, and ate dinner out each night. We went to Disney every day too.

We have also all stayed at the same resort, some getting rooms to share, some getting rooms of their own. Everyone was on their own for food, but we tried to eat all meals out together. And we always went to the beach/pool together.

We've also done quite a few of cruises with huge groups of people that we know, everyone getting their own rooms and sitting together at dinner at each night.

In fact, we've never taken a vacation just the 4 of us (me, DH & the girls). We love travelling with others, it's so much more fun to us. I think what makes it easier is that we rarely cook while we are on vacation, we do make cereal for breakfast and sometimes sandwiches for lunch, but that's about it. We just have to decide on a place about where to eat for dinner and sometimes with a larger group you have to wait a little longer to be seated, but it's never really been an issue (we have a pretty easy going group).








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divinghkns
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Posted: 1/17/2013 12:12:20 PM
Honesty and good communication are KEY!

Whenever I travel with other people, I'm very up front with them about money (which is sometimes hard because I was raised that you don't discuss money). Money seems to be the easiest thing to fight over, unfortunately. So I have always made sure we discussed which parties are responsible for which things. Of course, it is easy that if you are eating out, each family would pay for themselves. Likewise, if you are flying, each family would take care of their own airfare.

But some things aren't so cut-and-dry. For example, if you are all sharing a rental property, how do you charge? Per room? Per person? Split evenly between all the families regardless of how many people they are and regardless of how many bedrooms they take up? Also, if you are planning to drive, do you split gas evenly? Or does the family who drives get a discount (or free gas) because they're putting the miles on their car? Or if you are planning to rent a place and cook meals, do you pool all the receipts and divide them up, or does each family contribute a meal and you don't worry if one family's meal cost more than another's to prepare? It might seem nitpicky but those are the kinds of things people end up resenting later if it wasn't discussed and agreed upon.

The other thing I would say is be honest with one another about what you are hoping to do on vacation. If one family is super laid back and just wants to hang out at the pool all the time, and another family wants to sightsee non-stop, are you all okay with that? Before we go on a trip, we each come to the table with the list of things we absolutely must go see and do. We look at what overlaps and try to schedule those things together. And then if there are things that we don't all agree on then we decide if we will split up and do our own thing for a bit, or if we will all go together anyway.

When I'm travelling with someone new, I find these sorts of conversations help to decide if we are compatible. I remember right after college, a girl from college and I flew out to Colorado for mutual friend's wedding. The girl I flew with and I didn't know each other super well but we always got along. Well, when I go places, I love to explore...go shopping, go to museums or other points of interest, go hiking or do something outdoorsy, etc. I also like to eat at locally-owned places. Her idea of vacation was laying in the hotel room watching the free cable (not even a nice hotel) and eat down the road at Olive Garden. Nothing wrong with that, but just different from what I wanted. So I learned very quickly to try and get a feel for what other people like to do. That long weekend was fine because we had other things to do with the wedding, but I would have been disappointed if I had chosen to go on a really long trip, or a really big trip and then didn't get to do the things I enjoy.

So, yeah, I would say open communication about money and open communication about expectations are good.

divinghkns
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Posted: 1/17/2013 12:16:05 PM

Not much has been discussed beyond that. One hubby has commented that he is concerned with being stuck with the costs if someone backs out. Also sta ted that he doesn't want to have to do everything together the whole time.


Is it possible that you would collect money from all four families by a certain date to cover the expense and if they back out after that date, they lose the money? We do that when we rent the retreat house for scrapping retreats. We announce a certain date that people have to cancel by and if they don't, they are responsible for covering their share.

MotherofJackals
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Posted: 1/17/2013 12:41:53 PM
We did this about 10 years ago with 4 other families. this is what worked for us.

We stayed at the same hotel and met up each morning to plan the day. We would plan meet-up times/places throughout the day. That way people could switch out kids, go with another group to an activity or do their own thing. Each day we had either lunch or dinner as a group. The rest of the time we all just did our own thing. We also made sure each couple had one night to themselves without their kids.

The way it worked out is each family swapped out members with each other all day and all week. Anyone seeing us would not have been able to figure out which husband/wife was whose and which kids went with which couple most of the time. It worked out great because we spent time as a group, spent time with our spouses and nobody every had to join in on something because the rest of their family was doing it. This made for some happy teens.

clee321
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Posted: 1/17/2013 2:58:01 PM
I really appreciate the information you are sharing.

I am a little bit overwhelmed thinking "all this work for vacation?????" but I think that this will be really fun. AND if we are able to have the "tough" conversations leading up to the event then I bet the time together will be wonderful.

I am prematurely concerned that all the conversations will be with us wives and then the hubbies will want something else, so will be sure that all adults are up to date with the plans at the same time so that won't happen.




divinghkns
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Posted: 1/17/2013 3:10:17 PM

I am a little bit overwhelmed thinking "all this work for vacation?????" but I think that this will be really fun.


It WILL be fun and worth the work! I really enjoy travelling with other people. It's fun to be able to hang out as couples, or hang out ladies vs. men, or whatever. And as the others suggested, swapping kids or taking turns with the kids will help kids be happy and parents get some alone time.

jjjulee
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Posted: 1/17/2013 3:20:45 PM
Definitely discuss expectations beforehand.

My very large extended family gets together every other year. We rent a big vacation home (this year we had to get two because so many of us went on the trip) and the hardest part is nailing down the house to rent, because we have to work with everyone's budget and some people take forever to commit.

We plan one or two dinners together, we all usually do breakfast together, and outside of that, everyone is on their own. My dad and one of my aunts tend to do the bulk of the grocery shopping at the beginning of the trip, and then we just split everything per person. Thanks to Facebook, now we set up an event page that only we can see, so when people see things in the place we're going that they would like to do, they can post it up in case others want to come. We'll break off into little groups depending on who wants to do what.

It only works if there's not a tyrant-type who thinks everything should be planned to the minute and everyone has to do everything together.

bethany1023
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Posted: 1/17/2013 3:39:09 PM
I have taken multiple vacations with DH's large extended family. Their motto is I'm on vacation and I'm not going anywhere. The first time we went my MIL handed me the keys to her car and said have fun. I took off and explored the town while she sat on the beach chair. We were both happy as clams.

Family time for them is spent eating dinner together and enjoying the evening. During the day, it was up to us how we wanted to spend the trip. I loved it, and would go again in a heartbeat.

We addressed food costs by asking everyone to cook a meal and contribute x ammt to a group food budget. For example, We have a lot of kids, so stuff like a gallon of milk or some fruit and other snacks went into the group food budget. They were in the kitchen to use as needed.

Dinner got split one night per family a week. I like to cook, so I made a meal on our dinner night. Cost of that food was on me. SIL does NOT cook so she bought a frozen lasagne on her dinner night. At the end of the week, everyone was responsible for dinner one night and we all ate what was there. The understanding being that one night you may have a "cooked" meal from the kitchen and the next you might get pizza. It just depends on whose night it is and what their needs are.

Andik
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Posted: 1/17/2013 4:04:24 PM
I agree a little planning goes a long way. But your going on vaca not a business trip. If someone uses the washer...agree they stay tip its empty. If they cook..they clean it up. Simple agreeing ahead of time will make a smooth trip.
Make a list of your must dos and then relax

Andik
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Posted: 1/17/2013 4:06:51 PM
I agree a little planning goes a long way. But your going on vaca not a business trip. If someone uses the washer...agree they stay tip its empty. If they cook..they clean it up. Simple agreeing ahead of time will make a smooth trip.
Make a list of your must dos and then relax

elaynef
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Posted: 1/17/2013 4:23:35 PM
another problem we have encountered is when planning an activity together:

make sure everyone who is going to be involved is aware of what is going to be involved. We have a family member who is not a morning person and we have to make sure he is on board with getting up in time if he is going to participate.


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cmcshari
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Posted: 1/17/2013 7:24:34 PM
When our twins were seniors in high school, we joined 2 other families plus 3 boys(one mom came over for a few days the other two boys stayed with one of the families). Basically, we had 6-7 adults and about 11-12 kids ages14-18. Our girls 18,15,14 stayed with us in the room while our son was in with the rest of the boys some of the nights-others he was with us.

We stayed at an all inclusive in Aruba-each family paid their own way. Basically, we were all on our own but we met up for dinner each night as an entire group. Breakfast and lunch were at the same restaurant and we often ate together with one or the other family-whoever was there at the time. We did do a snorkeling trip all together which was fun.

The only problem we had was that the 18 year olds were legal to drink down there and one of them got into some trouble. The other boys did partake and learned some lessons the first night but parents were there to supervise and make sure everyone got back to the room safely. The girls were escorted by parents each night since it was right after the Natalie Holloway situation.


scrappychick13
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Posted: 1/17/2013 8:02:35 PM
Make sure you all have similar parenting styles. There is nothing worse than vacationing with people whose parenting decisions always collide with yours. Parents who have high strung kids, or are too permissive will ruin your vacation. When we booked our vacation, I divided up the cost per person, not per room. Everyone paid their share of the deposit up front, and I made it known that at that point, all money was non refundable. Everyone made their final payment to me well before the deadline on my rental agreement. If there was a problem and someone absolutely had to back out, they had to find a replacement family if they wanted a refund.

clee321
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Posted: 1/18/2013 8:48:43 AM
ok DH and I are planning a few "events" starting this weekend with all of the couples together. Our plan is to observe how we all do as couples in a group.

Sure, all us wives get along.
Sure, all the DHs get along.
Sure, the kids get along.

BUT, do we all get along in a group? Not sure.

I told DH what the Peas said and again he is impressed with the experience we get to lean on here.

Thank you!


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