The Pros and Cons of Vacationing with Other Families

When the initial excitement of a relationship wanes, many couples start making plans with other couples. Similarly, when parents lose the momentum of organizing family outings, they consider going on vacations with other families. Some take bold steps, like co-purchasing a house in a village, while others opt for shared trips or renting a rural house for several days. The most cautious ones prefer a teaser weekend in a hotel, with each family having their own room.

My experiences with shared vacations have always been positive. I’ve traveled with several friends and their children, both within Spain and internationally, facing typical challenges like accidents, illnesses, car troubles, rude service at restaurants, and more. Despite these obstacles, we’ve always ended up happy, maintaining or even strengthening our friendships. However, to make this column useful for your vacation planning, I’ll outline the general advantages and disadvantages of vacationing with other families to help you avoid surprises.


  1. Sustained Enthusiasm: Throughout the vacation, enthusiasm remains high. Even if a couple of individuals are tired or in a bad mood, there’s always someone energetic and willing to navigate the way, make reservations, or entertain the children, reminding everyone of the privilege of vacationing and the importance of enjoying the moment.
  2. Social Interaction for Children: Your children will have friends (if traveling with classmates) or kids of similar ages (children of your pre-parenting friends) to play with at all times, preventing boredom during waiting periods for meals.
  3. Efficient Management: With multiple adults, tasks can be managed more quickly and efficiently, allowing for moments of relaxation or personal time, such as reading a book or using the restroom without having to juggle bags, strollers, and children.
  4. Cost Sharing: Group travel often allows for shared expenses, potentially making the trip more affordable by taking advantage of offers or purchasing items in bulk.
  5. Safety in Numbers: Traveling in a group can provide a sense of security, especially in remote areas that may feel eerie at night.
  6. Support during Conflicts: Other families may understand and support you during disagreements with your partner, offering empathy or at least a sympathetic glance that says, “I’m with you, but I don’t want to get scolded too.”
  7. Familiar Company: Instead of mingling with strangers at hotels or during organized tours, traveling with friends allows you to bring along familiar company and potentially strengthen existing bonds.
  8. Improved Photography: You can finally be in your own family photos without worrying about handing your phone to a stranger.


  1. Dealing with Other Children: When your own children act up, you may have to tolerate the behavior of other children, possibly with different disciplinary standards than yours.
  2. Interpersonal Conflicts: If conflicts arise between children from different families and aren’t resolved well, it can affect overall harmony and friendship.
  3. Differing Parenting Styles: Living together exposes different parenting approaches, sometimes with conflicting methods. There’s also the unspoken question of whether each adult can discipline all the children or only their own.
  4. Difficulty in Accommodations: Larger groups may struggle to find suitable accommodations, leading to longer wait times or the need for advanced reservations.
  5. Scheduling Conflicts: It’s nearly impossible to synchronize everyone’s schedules. Some wake up early and tire out by mid-afternoon, while others sleep in but stay lively late into the night, causing patience to wear thin as people wait for each other.
  6. Unequal Spending: Each family spends money at its own pace and according to its preferences, potentially leading to tension when splitting bills or expenses.
  7. Diverse Interests: With more people, there’s a wider range of interests. Some may prefer museums, others landscapes, and some may just want to watch TV. Balancing these preferences can lead to dissatisfaction for those who want to be elsewhere.


Vacationing with other families has its ups and downs. While it offers social interaction, shared responsibilities, and potential cost savings, it also brings challenges such as differing parenting styles, scheduling conflicts, and potential conflicts among children. Ultimately, the success of a shared vacation depends on open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to compromise. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages, families can make informed decisions and ensure enjoyable experiences for everyone involved.

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