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Tips For Vacationing With Other Families and Friends

Updated on November 14, 2015

Joint Vacations Can be Magical.


Or They Can Leave You in Tears and in Need of Consolation.


Don't Risk a Meltdown

Good planning and good communication make all the difference.

Tips for Joint Vacations

Joint vacations with other couples or families can be magical or they can leave you in tears and destroy previously cherished relationships. This hub will offer tips that will ensure everyone in your group respects each other's needs, personalities and budgets and has the trip of a lifetime.

My husband and I started vacationing with other families when our son was young and now that we're empty nesters we still go on joint vacations. There are no longer any kids with us but it's still special to go away together.

In addition to spending time with friends and/or family, there are several advantages of taking joint vacations. It's generally more economical to rent one large vacation home or condo than separate hotel rooms, plus a house offers more privacy, a full size kitchen and may have a game room and/or pool.

Another good way to take a joint vacation, especially if you are going with more than 3 families, is to sign up for a cruise which includes meals and entertainment while on the ship. Unless your group is large enough to be eligible for a discount, each family can book their own cabins and be responsible for their own payments, decreasing the chances of discord over money.

Cruises also eliminate the need to spend any time doing housekeeping chores and meal preparation which means there'll be less stress for everyone and will help you avoid "The Odd Couple" syndrome if one family is neat and likes everything spotless and the other doesn't believe in doing any housework while on vacation.

Whatever type of vacation you take with other people using good communication skills and advance planning is very important. The rest of this hub will discuss five key points that we've found helpful when vacationing with friends or relatives.

Imagine your dream vacation.

Then share your dream with others and you may find a way to make it come true.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

5 Keys to a Great Joint Vacation

  1. Create a vacation budget and stick to it. Everyone needs to be honest about what they can afford. For example, when our son was little we invited my sister to go on vacation with us after her divorce and at first she declined because she felt bad that she couldn't afford to split the rent. We told her to come anyway because we were renting the same size condo regardless of whether or not she came. She insisted on splitting the supermarket food bill and also cut our son's hair (she was a beautician) and took him to the boardwalk one night so my husband and I could go out alone. The key point is that all parties involved need to be open and honest with each other in regard to how costs will be handled. That way creative arrangements can be made that work well for everyone.
  2. If your group lives near each other consider hosting a vacation planning party. Serve light refreshments while the group decides on a destination, type of lodging and mode of transportation. We did this when we planned an Outer Banks, NC beach vacation with 2 other couples and the party was half the fun of going away together. We chose to rent a large house with private pool and split the week's rent 3 ways. We created a list of food for each couple to bring so that we didn't end up with duplicates of things like ketchup and cereal. And we each took responsibility for making a special dinner one night during the week.
  3. Decide in advance whether all activities/outings will be done together, separately, or a combination of the two. We did a combination of the two and kept it very open. If special activities were planned it was understood that all could join in if they wanted to but it was also alright to stay back at the house or do something else and meet up later.
  4. Try to anticipate the unexpected such as what will happen if one couple needs to back out at the last minute after the unit has been paid for and there are no refunds from the rental agency available and/or no time for the remaining couple(s) to rent a smaller, less expensive home. If possible discuss this in advance and decide how it will be handled.
  5. Other special situations can arise when one family owns a vacation home or condo that's large enough for the group to stay in together. Here again, communication is key. Some owners, as was the case with our friends, may not be comfortable accepting "rent" and may insist that you be their guests. Our compromise solution was to pay for the week's groceries and treat them to a dinner out.

Creative Arrangements Are Key to Affordability and Fun

Good friends are a true blessing and vacationing together and/or swapping vacation units can be fun and more affordable than taking traditional vacations and staying in a motel. The key is flexibility and being open to creative arrangements.

My husband and I had the opportunity to stay in a lovely Orlando, Florida resort for a week this winter because dear friends had a timeshare they couldn't use this year and offered it to us. The only payment they would accept was the cost to cover the modest transfer fee. As the unit slept 6, my adult son who's single was able to join us and a friend who lives in another part of Florida was able to spend the weekend. So one couple's generosity allowed 4 other people to get to Orlando and Disney on a shoestring budget.

Be open to offers that come your way and also to being the one to suggest creative vacation opportunities. Times are tough and many people can't afford traditional vacations. If you have a spare bedroom consider inviting friends who live a few hours away to come and stay for a weekend or a week and act as tour guide to your community. Most likely they will reciprocate and it will be a win/win situation.

Rate Your Experience of Vacationing With Others

Have you gone on vacation with other couples or families?

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Submit a Comment

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Janexx,

    Welcome to HubPages and thanks so much for your very insightful comment.

    I think it's great that you and your husband recognize the fact that vacationing with other couples would impinge on the spontaneity and privacy that the two of you so look forward to. You both seem to have a clear priority and agreement on what's important to you and also have many friends whose company enhances your lives during other occasions.

    As you say, joint vacations are not for everyone and good friends will respect the wishes of friends for privacy and alone time, while finding plenty of other occasions and activities to do together.

    Thanks for adding to the content of this hub with your detailed response. Your input is greatly appreciated.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I respect the fact there are many couples who enjoy the company of other couples when on vacation. Having read this thread,I felt compelled to add my thoughts on the topic. My husband and I enjoy the company of friends and family on loads of occasions throughout the year.We actually look forward to our special time together when on vacation. It is the times in the year we can more or less do what we want,when we want and neither of us would trade that in. We do know couples who go on vacation with other families every year. Personally speaking,we also like to be very spontaneous during vacation, in every way! Lol, Which just wouldn't be possible with others around! So for us it's a big no!

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Mar,

    Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment.

    It was really great having my sister with us and she enjoyed spending extra time with her nephew!

    I appreciate the vote up.

    Hub Hugs,


  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Dear Gail,

    I also missed this when first published but am glad to happen upon it this evening.

    Your personal experiences give many wonderful tips to us when thinking of a collaborative vacation. Like an awesome nurse, you stress the value of direct, clear communication.

    I love when your sister contributed in ways that were unique to her talents as a beautician and also gave you quality time with your hubby.

    Very thoughtful and comprehensive writing -- Voted UP & UABI. Hugs, Maria

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Danette,

    Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing some interesting stories about your personal experiences vacationing with others. How wonderful that your family and Denise's family were able to enjoy Disney when the kids were growing up.

    Larger family reunions can be a lot more challenging. I think you're right that expectations do need to be clearly spelled out beforehand.

  • Danette Watt profile image

    Danette Watt 

    6 years ago from Illinois

    Hi Gail, I wonder how I missed this hub? No matter, I'm glad I came across it. You give very good tips here and I think the most important one (which you mentioned a couple times) is COMMUNICATION!

    Denise and her family met my family at Disney back in the early 80s and that was a lot of fun. At the time, my husband and I had a timeshare so we were able to use that. We had a lot of fun. Contrast that with the family reunion in the early 2000s - too many different personalities, too little communication of expectations! Dear oldest brother is suggesting another one....

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Oceansnsunsets,

    Thanks for leaving an insightful comment. There definitely is a lot to consider when going on vacation with other people as there's always the chance for causing hard feelings in an otherwise good relationship.

    My own experience has been mostly positive and we've regularly gone away with friends for many years but there has been a few times when tensions did occur. One time the tension got worked out by talking through the issues and the other time it got worked out by spending more time in separate activities and less time in shared activities.

    Thanks for the vote up. It's greatly appreciated.

  • oceansnsunsets profile image


    6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

    Hello Gail, I love the idea of going on vacation with other people, but when it comes down to it, we tend to not ever do that. It is a little bit scary, because no one is perfect and everyone has different wants and desires. Add to that the complexities that come with all the excitement and anticipation of a long awaited trip, vs the let down of a disagreement, less than normal sleep, etc.

    What a great hub with great ideas. Thank you so much for sharing them. There is definitely a time and a place for such things, and planning ahead certainly can't hurt. Voted up, useful and more.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Denise,

    So glad that you enjoyed it and thanks for the feedback. I know your family has done this as I remember reading a funny story about it a while back.

    I appreciate the vote up.

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 

    6 years ago from North Carolina

    Gail, what a great angle to take regarding a vacation topic. Wonderful information here on the subject of joint vacations. Voted up/useful/interesting. Enjoyed.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi thebluestar,

    Glad you enjoyed the hub. Interesting that you enjoyed going with Craig and Rebecca but Gordon had a rough time of it. Some men find it hard to share their partner even if it's with family! Don't know if that was the issue but that's what popped into my head.

    I do find it fun going with friends but we've been traveling with them for so many years that it's gotten very easy. We know each other's schedules and allow time to do things apart. With cell phones it's easy to link up later in the day.

    Take Care and thanks for stopping by.


  • thebluestar profile image

    Annette Donaldson 

    6 years ago from Northern Ireland

    Hi Gail, this is such an informative hub on a subject dear to my heart. I have only been on vacation once with friends and it was a total disaster. Four years ago I bought Craig and Rebecca a joint holiday for their birthdays (21 & 18), Gordon and I went to, and I loved it. Gordon hated it because he maintained that I couldn't settle for worrying about the kids!!

    Now that I am getting older, I would love to go on vacation with friends. I think it makes all the difference to sitting and staring at each other over a cup of coffee. :)

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Prasetio,

    So glad you enjoyed it and feel like you learned something.

    Thanks for your kind feedback and the rate up. I really appreciate it.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Tlpoague,

    Wow, that sounds like it'll be a great vacation and how cool that it's part of a family tradition that involves several generations. Sounds like you'll have a lot of experiences to write a hub or two about it!

    Thanks so much for your kind comments and ongoing support which are greatly appreciated.

  • prasetio30 profile image


    6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Very informative hub. I learn many things from you and I really enjoy your advice. I hope our vacation more meaningful. Thanks for writing and share with us. Good job and rated up!


  • tlpoague profile image


    6 years ago from USA

    Great tips! I come from a large family that can only get together once every couple of years, so we try to plan family trips for a shoe string budget. This year we plan to get together in North Dakota for a fishing trip that we haven't done together in twelve years. Everyone is excited and looking forward to it since this started out as a family tradition when we were younger. Even in a situation like this, I agree, communication is the key. I am looking forward to reading more as I get time. :)

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Nell,

    Thanks for sharing your own experience with taking vacations with a dear friend.

    I agree that carving out some "alone" time to do your own thing for awhile is key. I know I definitely need that sometimes even when I'm at home with my husband.

    Thanks for the vote up. I appreciate it and also the time you took to leave a comment that added to the content of this hub.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    6 years ago from England

    Hi, I always went on vacation with a friend, just the two of us, but the rules were the same as you mentioned, in fact we got on so well we went 5 times! it just took a bit of give and take and it worked out fine, in the mornings we went sightseeing, and in the afternoons we sat on the beach, but we did go off on our own sometimes, and I think that's key to a happy vacation, having time on your own to do your own thing, voting up! cheers nell

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Lesley,

    So glad you enjoyed the hub but I'm even happier that you had such a great vacation at Disneyland Paris with your children and grandchildren! That's awesome.

    Thanks for leaving such a lovely comment.

  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    Hello Gail, we normally holiday on our own or visit Cloverleaf in Canada, but we did holiday in Disneyland Paris last year with our children and grandchildren, 9 in total and it was a huge success!

    A wonderful hub as always, very enjoyable with lots of excellent tips and advice.

    Voting up and best wishes Lesley

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Dear Lyricwriter,

    I pray that some day soon you get to take your beautiful wife on a much deserved and needed vacation.

    Thanks for your kind words and ongoing support of my writing. Your friendship on Hub Pages means a lot to me.

  • thelyricwriter profile image

    Richard Ricky Hale 

    6 years ago from West Virginia

    Voted up, useful, and interesting HBN. I didn't realize that there was so much info to review, but they are. These are really quite helpful tips. As always, a very greatly written article my friend. It has been 12 years since I had a vacation, way past due if you ask me. I will be going soon enough though:)

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Peggy,

    Thanks so much for adding an insightful comment to this hub. I've always enjoyed viewing your travel hubs, especially the vacations you took with family.

    I appreciate the vote up and share and your ongoing support.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    6 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Hi Gail,

    Your suggestions about traveling with friends or family are good ones. This will give people an idea of what to discuss and arrange ahead of time so that once the vacation begins, there are no surprises. I have gone on several trips with my German girlfriend and my husband and I have gone on a trip with another couple. This, of course, does not count all the trips that my mother and I shared. We always had such a great time together!

    Voted useful and will share with followers + tweet.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Vinaya,

    So glad you enjoyed it and hope you do get to travel with friends in the future.

    Sorry it took me so long to respond to your lovely comment but my computer access was down.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Extended-stay,

    Thanks for leaving such an comment. I agree that it's fun to travel with others, especially if they're good friends who share your interests.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi b.Malin,

    Thanks for sharing your cruise experience- it sounds like the friendship you made on it was meant to be. It's always such a delight when you not only have a great vacation but make new friends.

    Sorry I took so long to respond to your comment but my internet access was down.

    Hope your condo renovations are starting to go more smoothly. I'll be stopping by to read some hubs later.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Mckbirdbks,

    I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Sorry it took so long for me to respond to your lovely comment. My internet access was down.


  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Eddy,

    Sorry it took me so long to respond to your lovely comment. My computer access was down.

    Am so glad you enjoyed the hub and appreciate your feedback.

    Take care and hope you have a blessed day.


  • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

    Vinaya Ghimire 

    6 years ago from Nepal

    Having a great vacation lifts our spirit. Thanks for your wonderful tips. I hope to consider your advice next time I go on a vacation.

  • b. Malin profile image

    b. Malin 

    6 years ago

    Very Enjoyable read, Gail. We went on a Cruise last year and met a Wonderful couple who it turned out, lived 45 minutes from us in New Jersey! We are now Friends and would probably take a trip together. I guess everything has it's pro's and con's. Thanks for all the useful Info in your Hub.

  • mckbirdbks profile image


    6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

    These are some great examples. Thanks for the useful information delivered with such cheer.

  • Eiddwen profile image


    6 years ago from Wales

    Thank you so much Gail;your hubs are always so beautiful and well informed each and every time.

    I have to vote up here and also bookmark into my Armchair Travelling slot as well.

    Take care my friend and enjoy your day.


  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Melovy,

    Your feedback was very interesting and insightful.

    I think Orlando is one of the easiest places to visit with other families as there are so many options for lodging and a plethora of great things for kids and adults to do together. How wonderful that you've already been able to go there twice with your family and others!

    Yes, good old-fashioned, honest communication is vital when planning and executing a joint vacation. Sounds easy on paper, but like in marital and other relationships, it can be hard to put into practice.

    Cruises can be surprisingly economical and we know some people who have gone with very large groups and loved it.

    Thanks so much for your ongoing support.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi CreateHubpages,

    Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the comment.

  • Happyboomernurse profile imageAUTHOR

    Gail Sobotkin 

    6 years ago from South Carolina

    Hi Hoteltravel,

    I agree that flexibility and the reciprocal ability to accommodate the wishes of other families are both extremely important in this type of vacation.

    You make a great point that for those with small families kids can learn a lot about sharing when travelling with another family.

    Thanks so much for leaving an insightful comment and the vote up. It's very much appreciated.

  • Melovy profile image

    Yvonne Spence 

    6 years ago from UK

    Very interesting hub, with some great tips.

    We’ve been on trips with others a few times and in most cases it worked out really well, the time it didn’t was largely due to lack of communication, not being clear enough. I also travelled with others in my youth and again any difficulties that arose were due to not feeling able to discuss things. So I’d say it’s very important to go with people with whom you’d feel able to discuss any issues that arose. If we had followed your advice to plan these aspects in advance then we could probably have saved some heartache!

    Though your cruise idea would also be a very easy way to vacation with others. (I keep wanting to write holiday since that’s we say it in the UK!)

    I thought it fun that you chose photos of Disney to illustrate the hub as we had 2 great vacations in Orlando with others!

  • CreateHubpages profile image


    6 years ago

    Thank very much for posting a helpful tips.

  • hoteltravel profile image


    6 years ago from Thailand

    Vacationing with friends is a great way to know them better. Each family need to be flexible enough to accommodate the wishes of other families. These joint vacations are most enjoyed by kids. In this age of nuclear families, this gives an excellent opportunity for kids to experience the joy of sharing. Thank you for presenting this idea in hubpages. Voted up and shared.


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