Tuesday, 14 March 2017

One Holiday + Two Itineraries = Happy Family

When you plan anything for a large group of people, you half-expect that you won’t be able to please everyone. It’s more or less inevitable. If you’re smart, you’ll be upfront about it - make compromises here and there, take account of any red lines, and find a way to move forward.

( Photo by: jill111 )


Booking a holiday for your family is a perfect example of this scenario. First, you have to pick a destination. This is where the first cracks tend to begin to appear. Say you’ve decided to go to France. Although everyone may accept it, there may be one resigned voice muttering: “well, I said Spain, but I guess my opinion doesn’t matter…”

The more specific that your choices get, the more likely it is to happen.

This can make choosing an itinerary to suit all very difficult. If you’ve decided on a trip to Scotland, chances are you’ve pencilled in Edinburgh Mall to experience. And then the voice starts: “oh, we have a day to spare to wander some random street, but not a morning to go to Bannockburn? I suppose I’m just talking to myself!”

It’s exhausting.

It’s time to accept that on any holiday with a group of four or more people, a secondary itinerary is the best idea. This way, parts of the trip which are age-inappropriate (or others in the party may dismiss as boring) can be reserved for those who want to go on them. A second itinerary may take more planning, but it makes a better family break - as long as some rules are followed.

Rule 1: A Minimum Of One Adult Per Party

Our imaginary touring party is now in London. Mum is a true crime addict and wants to go to Whitechapel. While some of the kids also want to experience a Jack The Ripper tour, some of the parents feel it would be inappropriate for the entire group to experience. So Mum and the older kids can head to Whitechapel, while Dad (or an adult son or daughter) leads an expedition to Harrods and Hamleys. The whole family can then meet up again for a jaunt on the London Eye.

Rule 2: The Schedules Should Overlap

Humans are tribal in nature and this can even be the case within families. If Group 1 are going on their expedition and Group 2 are heading elsewhere, it can become a bone of contention. While split itineraries can save a holiday, there should be some common ground where the whole family is together.

So, on a trip to Berlin for example, Group 1 may want to see the Wall while Group 2 take a more kid-friendly trip to the zoo. This is fine as long as everyone reconvenes for an excursion to a both-group-friendly-spot like Grunewald Forest.

Rule 3: No One Gets “Stuck” Babysitting


A split itinerary should not mean that one parent is always the one doing the babysitting, relegated to nothing but kid-friendly activities. Imagine going to Florence with an art lover and them not being able to go and see the David because it was deemed “too boring” for kids. Rotate each party based on people’s interests and you’ll keep everyone happy.



**This is a collaborative post.