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Briefs | Travel

5 tips for sharing vacation time to keep it fun

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A family on vacation poses for photos at the golf club in Varadero, Cuba.

Traveling with multiple family members and friends can be fun and festive. Or, fraught with complications. Proper planning can go along way toward keeping relationships and expectations intact. Here are five tips to consider:

1. Choose wisely

Give careful consideration to the families and friends with whom you choose to share your precious vacation time. Your favorite cousin is a great storyteller at the Thanksgiving table but are you game for an extended visit? Parents you know from the sidelines of the soccer field might show different colors in a holiday setting away from your hometown. Consider hosting a casual planning party to discuss specific destinations and details before making final plans.

2. Sharing

Family groups often choose to share a ski cabin, beach house or urban condo. That can mean divvying up expenses, transportation, room assignments, cleaning and cooking. Be sure to have a clearly defined plan before your holiday gets underway to avoid misunderstandings about how time and resources will be allocated. If you sense close quarters could be uncomfortable, suggest staying in a resort or hotel where individual rooms will provide each family more time on their own.

3. Bring reinforcements

With many kids under one roof, bringing along helping hands can save sanity. Your favorite neighborhood teen might jump at the chance to help out in exchange for a few dollars and the opportunity to experience your chosen destination. Trade time off during the day for evening duty, so that grown-ups can enjoy a quiet dinner or a night on the town. Check with your resort or the local visitors’ bureau for childcare recommendations.

4. Style matters

Not everyone’s vacation attitudes and parenting styles are in sync. Before departure, discuss issues ranging from bedtime and use of technology to strategies for handling meal time and cleanup with the other adults. Then share expectations with your family before the fun begins. If your children typically make their beds, minimize TV time and eat what they are served, it can be awkward if their travel pals are watching cartoons while waiting for a parent to create a custom waffle and squeeze special orange juice.

5. Plan private time

No matter how much you are enjoying your vacation buddies, carve out private time for your own family. Whether you take walks on the beach, shop, grab a sandwich or visit a local museum on your own, don’t head for home without catching up with your clan. You’ll be glad you made the special effort once your regular routine resumes.

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