Matthew O’Neil of Toronto is an attorney, who in his spare time, enjoys traveling with friends and family. In the following article, Matthew O’Neil of Toronto discusses everything that should be considered in the planning stages to make a vacation as fun and relaxing as possible when traveling with a group.
Setting out to see the world can be a life-changing experience but it’s not always the carefree adventure people expect it to be. Except for a few solo travelers, most people will have to balance the responsibilities of caring for kids and coordinating with friends just to set their plans in motion. Yet, as stressful as this may sound, most of the difficulty can be avoided with careful planning.
By taking time to discuss finances, logistics, and childcare, travelers can create clear plans of action and avoid unwanted tension everyone involved. The more detailed the plan, the better the trip.
Be Transparent About Money
Matthew O’Neil of Toronto says that before setting out on a group vacation, it’s always wise to discuss finances, budgets, and how the group should split expenses. If one family cannot afford as much as another, they may feel pressured to spend above their budget to keep everyone happy. To avoid this, the group should have a transparent conversation about how they plan to split fees, such as lodging fees, and side excursions that can add to the total cost.
If the group plans to share lodgings, such as in a shared apartment or villa, they should also mutually decide who will communicate with the landlord and handle the payments. The group can still divide up the costs but rather than having each family pay individually, it will be easier for the property manager and the group as a whole to allocate a single point person.
Matthew O’Neil of Toronto says that other expenses, such as daily meals and purchases, should then be the responsibility of each individual family. If the finances do get a bit jumbled up, keeping a basic record of who owes who what can prevent fights and friction over money.
Splitting Childcare Responsibilities
Traveling with young kids is never as easy as it seems, especially when it involves being around someone else’s children. There will inevitably come a time when someone needs a moment alone or some special time with their spouse, leaving the children in the care of others. While this usually isn’t an issue, it does introduce questions of discipline and equal sharing.
While mom and dad are away, how much oversight should the other guests maintain over the children? Can they confiscate toys or put the kids in time-out? It really all depends on the other couple’s parenting style. For this reason, Matthew O’Neil of Toronto explains that it’s essential for all couples to discuss how they should handle discipline during the trip.
It also means talking about how and when it’s appropriate to leave the kids with someone else. Everyone eventually needs some personal space but that’s not an excuse to make one couple the designated babysitters. Instead, parenting should be split equally so that everyone can have a peaceful and relaxing vacation.
Food and Destinations
Last but not least, Matthew O’Neil of Toronto says that it’s vitally important that everyone is kept up to date with day-to-day events. While it’s not mandatory for everyone to do the same thing together at all times, it’s common decency to keep each other in the loop about basic locations and when to expect each other back. This is for the sake of safety so that no one gets lost.
It’s also a good idea to plan a few joint activities that everyone can do together according to Matthew O’Neil of Toronto. Traveling with friends should be a bonding moment and there will undoubtedly be something that everyone is interested in. This could be as simple as a shared meal or going to the beach, or as detailed as a trip to a winery or a hike to a famous historical site.
However, don’t feel limited to eating the same meals, going to all of the same places, and being with each other at all times. That’s the quickest way to burn out on the friendship and reach a point when you both need some time apart.
The Bottom Line
Matthew O’Neil of Toronto says that traveling as a group with friends and children is certainly more challenging than going out on your own. With some basic planning and logistics, though, there’s no reason why the trip shouldn’t be fun, relaxing, and memorable. Just be as transparent as possible about finances, be equitable with each other’s time, and remember that not everything has to be a group activity.