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Take the Family › Top 10 Tips for Group Holidays

Top 10 Tips for Group Holidays family holidays and family holidays and breaks

Going on holiday with friends and/or family can be a great money-saver as well as giving you all a rare chance for a good chunk of quality time together.  

Says Angelene Duffield of our partner

"Larger group bookings are ever-more popular for lots of reasons. In particular, we get a lot of bookings from those holidaying with grandparents and relatives. The latter love getting some time with the kids and parents can get a bit of a break into the bargain." 

But if it's more than a weekend or short break you have in mind, it's a good idea to think things through in advance. The following tips will help to ensure any possible tensions are obviated and everyone's expectations are met, so that everything generally runs as smoothly as possible.

• Think carefully about your potential holiday companions to make sure everyone is 'on the same page'. For instance, if there are lots of young children in the party who get up very early, is it a good idea to travel with relatives expecting a long lie-in? Alternatively, for those with kids who need an early night, should you holiday with young relatives who like to stay up late carousing? Bear in mind that group holidays tend to work best with people at similar stages of their life.

• If you have a baby who cries a lot in the night, ask yourself if you're going find it very stressful holidaying with other people who might be disturbed. On the other hand, if you have children on strict schedules, be prepared to allow at least a little flexilibilty into your routine while away with other people.

• Discuss your needs and expectations in advance. If you're counting on some free babysitting from family or friends, for instance, fix on the extent of it and when it will take place so that you're not disappointed or so that time doesn't run away with you. And make sure there's something in it for them – a quiet morning without the kids is good for grandparents who are no longer used to being with young children for long periods of time.

• Don't make the mistake of thinking you need to live in one another's pockets – have separate cars if possible, and have days out both separately and together.

• Make a rota for chores – shopping, cooking and cleaning up – so that those who are more house-proud than others don't feel like martyrs. On the other hand, take into account that some people enjoy cooking for others and that's actually part of the fun of their holiday.  

• Plan the meals for the holiday, taking into consideration individual and children's requirements. You may find it works well, at least on some evenings, to do an earlier children's tea  followed by an evening DVD while the adults have a more leisurely meal. 

• Don't be tempted to try to squash everybody in - tempers may flare if there's not enough space, especially when it comes to bathroom facilities. Sofabeds in living rooms may be workable for a couple of nights but will get on everyone's nerves for longer than that.

• Allocate rooms in advance to avoid potential conflicts over who stays where – any major discrepancies in size or quality can be taken into account when working out who pays what.

• Look for a property with a second sitting room, playroom or snug so kids get their own space. A separate TV for DVD-watching is a big boon. Consider also booking a property with a pool, but check it's has child-proof gates, and make sure everyone understands the need to be on the ball when it comes to safety. Any outdoor space is a benefit, but have a few Plan Bs in case the weather lets you down – both in the property (board games and so on) and great days out in the area.

• By all means let kids share rooms with friends or cousins, but watch out for letting them get overtired through a succession of late nights and too much excitement.

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