Travelling as a family is one thing. Travelling with extended family is a whole other ball game and needs to be considered before leaping in. There is lots to be thought of before agreeing to go on holiday with extended family, irrespective of whether you get on like a house of fire, are close, have similar interests and love each other. None of that is in question. There are the logistics of travelling in a group larger than you are used to and these practical considerations need your attention before making any plans. Discussing key elements of your holiday expectations will ensure everyone can experience that holiday feeling.
What to consider when travelling with extended family…
Consider your destination
Where are you thinking of going and does this suit all of you? Ensure everyone agrees with the destination of choice to avoid anyone getting resentful when it’s too late to back out. Also ensure your destination suits all ages. If your holiday includes children and grandparents, consider everything from child friendliness to ease for older adults.
It is paramount to discuss finances and each family’s individual budget. Don’t assume your extended family members will know what your budget entails. This includes everything from accommodation, entertainment, food to dining out. You may want to talk about who will pay for what, how expenses will be shared or work out some pre-paid options for each family before going. Avoid tense discussions about money whilst on holidays by discussing it before you go.
Where you stay whilst on holiday will be a major decision to make. Are you all going to share accommodation or work out your own? Again, the best option is to discuss this prior to heading off on your holiday. Don’t be afraid to be honest about what you really want. You may love your parents, or in-laws, brother or cousin a lot, but it doesn’t mean you need to be with them 24/7 during your holiday.
On the contrary, having some downtime away from your extended family can be a great way for everyone to have some independence whilst away and do something they enjoy. If you are travelling with children and extended relatives, it is wise to opt for accommodation that allows you some private family space. Kids can be rowdy, loud and, of course being your children, you will know and anticipate this. Your extended family may find this overwhelming.
We used various forms of accommodation whilst holidaying in New Zealand as a group of nine. Airbnb offered some great options for us. Click here to get a credit on your first booking.
If you are travelling with children, work out if you are expecting your extended family to step up and share the responsibility of caring for them whilst on holidays. Discuss if they will help out with normal parenting duties, e.g. look after the kids for a night so you can have a night off. If you assume this will happen but it doesn’t, it may really impact on your holiday expectations and diminish your experience. Ask first then go book that restaurant for date night sans children!
The same can be applied to cooking and organising of the activities because it shouldn’t just fall onto the same person. If you are in a group, sharing the roles relating to travel, such as booking tours, tickets, driving, cooking, shopping for food, etc., should be shared amongst all the adults.
Do things separately
It’s ok to travel with extended family but do things separately. Don’t feel obliged to eat every meal together, visit the same attractions or enjoy the same sights. Especially if the age group varies, it’s important to work out who would like to do what. If the interests differ, accept that and each go your own way. Bring back your wonderful stories to share when you catch up during the day.
Remember it’s a holiday
Don’t forget you are all going on a holiday so make sure it is a holiday. Let go of any family grudges and have fun. All families have their quirks, however, remembering that holidaying is about fun, seeing new sights, relaxation, adventure and creating memories will keep you on track.
Create a family ritual
Going away with a large number of people can be tricky. However, imagine the memories all of you will be creating! Perhaps document special moments of your trip for a shared journal or photo book. Why not share an iCloud photo album of all the pictures everyone took during the holiday?
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