Spring Break Is Coming Up! How To Vacation With Friends
I’m sitting on a patio overlooking the Sea of Cortez in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Heaven … no, seriously, I’m not exaggerating, it’s literally heaven. Never in my memory have I needed to feel the sun on my face more than this winter. Leaving approximately two feet of snow in NJ, we, the four couples, the eight friends, have arrived.
Paul, the concierge, otherwise known as St. Peter, opened the pearly gates when he met us, brought us up a few flights of stairs and showed us our home for the next seven days. Yup, definitely heaven.
We are lucky, indeed: lucky to be here, of that there is no doubt, but lucky as well to be here together. I find that it’s a rarity in this life to find four couples who all genuinely enjoy each other and look forward to seeing each other for this week every year for the past seven years. So far it’s been a little like the movie The Four Seasons without all the drama. So far ...
We came together through our husbands, which is unusual because I think women typically forge the relationships and tend to drag unwilling spouses into social settings they deplore. This group works because relationships cross all gender boundaries. I care as much about the men as I do the women. It’s quite a special and unique experience and is one I value greatly.
But even the best, oldest and strongest relationships are subject to difficulties, and any time eight people decide to travel and live together for eight days outside of their daily routines issues can arise. We’ve managed to avoid most of the trouble by being very careful. Here are a few rules we’ve adhered to over the years that have made our time together truly memorable.
Have a Plan, But Don’t Fall in Love with the Plan
A framework of expectations is key. Do we want to do a boat trip, eat out all the time, zipline? These are important to discuss, but if the group wakes up one morning and opts just to hang out at the beach, you go with the flow.
Be Yourself, but Be the Best of Yourself
You love these people, and they love you. Everyone knows who you are and has decided they like you, anyway. Your idiosyncracies and nasty habits are still there, and they know about them, but for this week, do your best to keep them in check. If you are typically outrageously competitive, when there’s one beer left, give it up. If you’ve never cleaned out the kitchen sink at home, do it here.
Focus on the Big Picture
You are here to spend time together and to relax and enjoy each other. Whether or not you get to go on the six-hour tour around the bay, get to the restaurant you had read about and so wanted to try, or get the best bedroom, remember why you are here and let it go.
Leave the Judgment at Home
In our group, we are the fortunate parents of 15 children ranging in age from 12-25. We live in different towns and experience different day-to-day lives. What was right for my kid at a certain age might not be right for their kid at this age. We may have different parenting skills and methods, but we know this to be true: We are great parents with great kids. We have already decided that we like and respect each other. Share advice when asked and provide support, but leave the judgement at home.
Keep the Couple Bickering to a Minimum
We’ve all been married for a long time. But whether you are newly dating or been together forever, no one wants to be dragged into or watch constant bickering within couples. You not only have to be your best self to your friends, but bite your tongue when dealing with your spouse. You can always spend next week screaming at him/her. The bottom line is to have a great time and create wonderful memories with people you really care about. I know that these weeks together will always be treasured memories, and it is my hope that we can do this for many years to come. And next year, I’ll sleep in the twin beds ... I promise.