How to have a jolly holiday

A friend asked me a couple of weeks ago ‘What’s your ideal holiday with the family?’ My response was to laugh because in my head, those two phrases ‘ideal holiday’ and ‘family’ don’t go that well together.

When I think ‘holiday’ I think sun, pool, a gripping book and good food. When I think family holiday, I think tents, noise, rough and tumble and cooking on a petrol stove (the operating of which requires I take my very life in my hands). Now, don’t misunderstand me, I like going away with my family, it’s just not the restful break that I look for in a ‘holiday’.

Holidays can change when we’re in a relationship, even if there aren’t children involved. Often we want something different out of the holiday than our partner does.

Quite often, on holiday, we operate differently to each other, tensions can rise. It can be really disappointing when we look forward to a break from work or just some time away from home and it ends up not being restful but stressful instead.

Well, here’s a few tips for having a ‘happy holiday’ with your partner…

  • Manage your expectations – if you are not realistic in what you are going to get out of a holiday, you will be easily disappointed.
  • Discuss what you both want to do while you are away – if the one thing you are looking forward to on your holiday is having a couple of hours alone to read your favourite book, your partner will need to know that!
  • Work to your strengths – if you’re great at packing and he’s great at loading the car, then do that (sorry for the stereotypes). Divvy up the jobs that need doing ahead of time and work as a team.
  • Agree on a budget – if you both have different ideas, this can be a source of tension while you are away.
  • Don’t play the ‘blame game’ – one of you is going to make a mistake, either you’ll forget to pack all the socks (this has happened on one of our holidays) Or he’ll drive the wrong way. Repeatedly. (This has never happened). You’re going to need to extend some patience and love, but the good news is, so will he.
  • WATCH OUT FOR DAY FOUR – my mother used to say day four of any holiday was always terrible. Everyone would bicker and things would go wrong. So if you have a day that’s a complete disaster, don’t worry. It’s your day four (whether it is actually day four or not!) and it’s normal. Maybe just knowing this will make it easier to laugh it off and enjoy the rest of your holiday.
  • Don’t forget the sun cream – it’s good to be optimistic!

Jo Arkell
July 2017

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