Long Weekend Away with Two Other Families
Who is doing it
My wife and I and our three kids have spent Victoria Day Weekend for the last six years sharing a rented house with two other families. Altogether we are six adults and seven children ranging in age at time of this writing from 2 to 11.
How we pick the home
Victoria Day weekend is in May, so we tend to start planning for it in September or October to be sure we have the greatest selection of rental homes available to us. Typically one of the adults will spur the discussion by doing some research at VRBO or Owner Direct, looking for houses that aren't too expensive but that are large enough to hold the 13 of us. The research will yield three to seven potential homes, and that list is then emailed out to the other five adults. Some back and forth takes place as we each review the homes, we each potentially also make our own recommendation and then finally we narrow it down to two or three. One of us then contacts the two or three homes to get the details as the pricing on these by owner homes is not always clear. Based on that information we generally pick one and then it is booked.
How we plan the weekend
A few weeks prior to the weekend, the women of the families get together to work out a meal plan where we cover all of the meals plus some snack food. Then the required shopping is split up by Costco, Alcohol and Fruit/Vegetable and each family does the shopping of that group for the whole weekend.
In addition to this a few of us would research what local activities are available to us that are reasonably close to the house we're renting. This has included tourist things and also shopping excursions.
This year we also tried to be better organized at providing kid activities and that made a big difference to keep them occupied. We've noticed that as the kids have become older they are becoming more self sufficient, so that has proven quite a benefit.
Why we do it
There are a few different key reasons why we do this. The most prominent reason to my mind is to create long lasting memories for the children. For most of them they have no memory of not spending this weekend away with their friends. I had no equivalent event that spanned my childhood and I can see this as being a benefit for them.
Another reason is to allow us adults to connect as normally throughout the year we only have short spans of time that we are all together, and often the children are around, or there are many others around. During this weekend we put the kids to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour, and then we stay up and play board games for another few hours which allows us to really connect like no other time during the year.
A third reason I can easily come up with is that this weekend provides the three families some time away from our busy schedules. With all of the sports and non-sport activities that all of the children are in, all of the driving them all over, all of the other things we do, this weekend offers us a break where we can just take it easy.