Vacationing with another family might sound stressful, but often one of the best ways to travel with your own family is to invite another family along for the adventure. It might also be the greatest way to take the pressure off vacationing as a family.
Places Where Vacationing with Another Family Is a Good Idea
The larger the group on any kind of trip, the more difficult it is to move around. Picking a place that is self-contained rather than a big city filled with museums and tourists' sites are ideal. The key is to find one that is big enough for the kids to explore but small enough for the adults to feel secure about their kids' safety and still be able to relax. After all, vacationing with another family is all about relaxing. Dragging one set of kids around Paris is a challenge to say the least. Imagine managing two sets. Nevertheless, with the right destination, the kids can entertain themselves so that the grown-ups can chill-out and forget about their jobs for a while.
Resorts are ideal because they have meals suitable for anyone, they're hard to get lost in, and they're a great deal safer than any of the major cities for vacation destinations.
- Theme Parks/Resorts: Disney kind of has the market for this one. Luckily, when you're near one of the Disney resorts, there are plenty of other options right next door. There is usually Six Flags, Busch Gardens, Knott's Berry Farm, or even a Holy Land within a few minute's drive from one of the Disney parks.
- Disneyland and Disney California Adventure: Plenty of obvious things for kids to do, but parents go home happy, too. Grown ups love the shows and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
- Disney World and Epcot Center: Bigger than Disneyland, Disney World is much more resort-like. They even have an artificial beach.
- Beach Resort: Club Med has several family-oriented beach resorts that include everything from art classes and scuba diving lessons to rock climbing and trapeze swinging.
- Ixtapa (Mexico): Families can scuba dive together and explore a clear underwater wonderland.
- Playa Blanca (Mexico): Kids can join the circus, and adults can hit the bar.
- Eleuthra (Bahamas): Jet ski or kayak with the family or just sit on the some of the softest sand in the world.
- Family Cruise: Several cruise lines offer family packages.
- Disney's Big Red Boat
- Royal Carribean
Getting Everyone on the Same Page
One of the hardest things about traveling with another family is getting everyone to agree on where to go, especially the kids.
- Involve the kids as much as possible.
- Get them all together before you head out. Seeing how the kids of both families deal with one another will help you see if traveling with another family is a good idea and what kind of problems you'll have on your vacation.
- Present them with options. It's much better to give kids choices rather than try to play on the power of suggestion. Have a couple ideas that all the adults are OK with, and then present them all positively. For example "A, B, or C" is better than "Doesn't A sound like fun?"
- Make sure they know that their vacation experience is as important as yours is.
- Kids fight; it's an unavoidable certainty.
- Don't take sides. Let them know that fighting ruins everybody's time.
- Time-outs work as well on vacations as they do at home. In this case, making them spend time with the parents as they sit and read on the beach is a huge punishment when they could be bouncing on a trampoline or snorkeling or exploring the magic kingdom.
- It's also important not to criticize another parent's parenting style. Not everyone will reprimand or reward their children as you will, and that's usually OK. By not engaging in such criticism, you keep the kids' fighting from spilling into the adult realm.
- Sometimes, no one can agree on what to do - democracy at work.
- Taking a vote usually works when making decisions as a group.
- When votes don't work, don't be afraid to separate and meet up later. Most adults understand the need for alone time with one's family. Taking a few hours apart can be good for everyone.
Alone TimeTaking a day off from vacationing with another family is usually a good idea. It makes your family's vacation experience unique and is a great way to relieve the tension that naturally builds between fellow travelers on a trip.