Those of us with a big, close, happy family know how lucky we are, and when it comes to holidays, there’s nothing better than having a large and loving group to travel with. However, family holidays are not without stress, and the folks at Holiday Gems know that organising one can sometimes feel like you’ve been press-ganged into running a small dysfunctional country. So here’s a little list of how to limit that pressure and ensure that all your fellow travellers get the most out of this wonderful shared experience!
- For heaven’s sake, delegate!
If you’ve been put in charge, it will absolutely be because you are trusted, and your family considers you extremely organised, which is a high honour – one you may be eager to live up to. However, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, and will certainly help both your sanity and the success of the holiday as a whole. If you know of a family member who would enjoy or excel at a certain task, approach them. Ensure you ask – don’t instruct – as people will be busy and may become bitter when they find they’ve been tasked with things they didn’t sign up for!
- Tailor to taste
You can’t please everyone all of the time, but you can do your best and make a concerted effort to do so! In the age of social media, the more tech-savvy members of your group will appreciate an online poll that allows them to see which activities are being considered and lets them weigh in on what they’d prefer to do. Find a way to check in with those who are less whizzy on a computer too. Be sensitive to people’s needs: your little cousin might start to sizzle within five minutes of being in the sun, and your dad might not be a fan of taking long hikes on his bad knee. Plan optional activity tiers to allow everyone to get what they want out of the holiday, but be sure to include at least one crowd-pleaser for the whole family at least once a day. Ensure the itinerary is flexible though, allowing for new discoveries and last-minute changes.
- Take the trauma out of technicalities
How is everyone travelling? Are they taking their own cars or hiring when they get there? Where will everyone park? Does everyone know where they’re going? Who will need to be in which room? Who is taking care of the money? Are there any special requirements in terms of access or diets? Who are the emergency contacts – both within the group and back home? It may be a depressing job, but take time to think of everything that could possibly go wrong, from lost passports to allergic reactions to flat tyres, and know what can be done in each situation.
Each member of your group will have different expectations when it comes to expenditure. Pre-paying for as much as possible can often be the safer option in order to escape any hidden costs, so all-inclusive holiday packages may be something to consider. It is sometimes a sensitive issue, but it may be worth asking each adult member of the group for a hypothetical budget; what would they spend on a holiday if it was just them and their partner, or them and the kids? Factor it all into your plan and make sure you decide on something that is affordable for everyone. It’s also advisable for everyone to donate a little something to serve as an emergency kitty for unforeseen costs, and taking note of how much of it is spent, and by whom.
- Their own space
If your group is made up of a number of individual family units or couples, ensure that they are all able to escape to spend some quality private time together when needed. Some people thrive in large groups, while others may need a little me-time every so often. Perhaps ensure that your itinerary includes a few hours of empty time each day where people can pursue activities of their choice or relax in their own space. That way, everyone can return to the group refreshed and positive!