Everyone knows that vacationing with kids isn’t restful. It’s the work of home, away from home.
So might I suggest a way to make it more relaxing: Bring more kids (and their parents).
We’ve camped with friends and last summer we rented a beach house with another family. While adding more people means more opportunities for things to go wrong, it also means increasing the odds that everything will be just right. Here’s what we’ve learned from vacationing with other families:
The Work Load Is Divided
Our friends are more seasoned campers, so we struck a deal. If they’d bring the fancy gear and the know-how, we’d bring the tin-foil dinners and the smores. Because we’d divided up the To Bring list, one of the most arduous parts of any trip – the packing – wasn’t nearly as laborious usual.
Likewise anything that typically gets categorized as a chore was far more tenable because there was someone to share it with. Doing dishes, even dishes that must be washed in the great outdoors, is enjoyable when it’s done with friends.
The Expenses Get Halved
The house we rented was beach-front, making the water easily accessible but adding substantially to the cost. It would have been out of our price range as a solo family, but because we shared that expense, it was affordable. When other beach-going families schlepped past our deck lugging their gear and sighing as their kids whined about the long walk in the hot sand, we nodded to each other sagely.
(Another cost savings: Even if you forgot something, the other family is almost certain to have brought it reducing the number of “we forgot the…” runs to the store.)
The Fun Is Multiplied
While we’re big fans of family meals, we decided to do two dinner times at the beach. The kids, ravenous from playing all day, ate during the first shift. Then they watched a movie or played contentedly while the adults had a leisurely second dinner complete with good wine and easy conversation. It’s amazing how relaxing a meal can be when you don’t have to cleanup any spills or jump up repeatedly for more ketchup.
It wasn’t just meal times that were a treat. Because the kids had friends to play with, they were content to spend more time hanging out in the house swapping toys and trading chuckles instead of clamoring to hit the waves at 7 AM. This meant the big people got to linger over their cups of coffee rather than slurping it while applying sunscreen to moving parts.
More Hands On Deck Equals More Time Off For You
My friend and I called dibs on the beach house hot tub several evenings. We soaked in silence while the sun set. It was delightful.
Similarly, when our husbands went on an extremely protracted taco run, we didn’t begrudge them that time because there were two of us there to hold down the fort.
Had our kids been older, we would have swapped house duties for a night, giving each other a much-needed date night with our spouses.
Here’s to taking a trip that you don’t need a vacation to recover from!