Dumb Little Man

5 smart ways to make your large group holiday stress-free

You’ve finally managed to coordinate diaries, flights and work to enjoy your first big group holiday away with your extended family. Three generations all in one house for a week. It’s going to be awesome! You get to spend some quality time with the nieces and nephews, catch-up with your parents and tease your brother about his secret 80s love of New Kids on the Block. But before you load the car and hit the road, there’s a lot to think about – who’s going to get the best bedroom, who will be in charge of cooking, where will you all park, what if you run out of things to talk about; what about the cleaning? A large group holiday is fraught with risk as families from different homes come together to share the same house for the week, so take action now to minimize the risk of arguments and tension.


1. Make a rota

With just a little forward-planning you can agree to a simple rota that removes any questions over who cooks and who cleans up. Don’t wait until the kids are hungry and over-tired to discuss who’s going to cook dinner tonight. Plan ahead and share the jobs fairly between couples. Arguments are avoided, peace is restored to the galaxy and you get to sample your brother’s famous chilli con carne with tortillas and rice again.

2. Plan time apart

Give each other a little space by spending time with just your small family group for a few hours. Perhaps you and your other half can take a long walk around the coast with your kids for the morning while the grandparents play a round of golf and your brother’s family hits the shops. Meeting back at the house at the end of the day is bound to be a noisy affair with everyone sharing their exciting stories from the day over a cuppa or a glass of something fizzy.

3. Keep the kids happy

I never used to understand why parents would say: “Oh as long as the kids are happy, we’re happy” when planning their annual getaway. Don’t parents’ needs matter once they have kids? Now I’m a parent I completely understand what they meant. If the kids are happy, it’s much easier for everyone else to enjoy themselves. So, pack plenty to keep the little ones entertained so you can all have a pleasant holiday.

4. Try new things together

Raise your heartbeat and create some lasting memories by trying new things together as a group. Sharing new experiences such as water-skiing, mountain climbing, horse-back riding, or whale-watching is a great way to strengthen bonds. The fear, excitement, adrenaline, and buzz from pushing yourself are sure to give you plenty to talk about for years to come.

5. Appreciate each other

Yes. it’s annoying when Uncle Kevin loads the dishwasher with the forks facing up. Yes your brother’s taste in music is no better now than it was in 1994. But these little quirks and individual habits are why you love your family and friends so much. How boring would it be if we were all the same? Embrace your differences, be patient, count to ten when things get too much, and recognize that you will soon be back home with nothing but the occasional Skype call or email to rely upon.

Large group holidays include hundreds of precious moments which you will remember for years to come. Don’t let a lack of planning be the reason your memories are peppered with arguments, misunderstandings and tension. And if things get really bad, kick back to a bit of retro NKOTB on the stereo and a glass of dad’s home brew – suddenly, nothing seems so bad.

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