The Unmumsy Mum – Holidaying with Extended Family, My Hopes and Fears!

This summer, we’ve decided to employ the safety-in-numbers logic and have opted to travel as part of a larger family party when we go to Portugal.

We’re not talking a gigantic family party like you sometimes see at the airport, where Great Granny Ethel is joined by her children, her grandchildren and all her great grandchildren, collectively occupying the first ten rows of the flight. Rather, we’ve decided to double up and stay in a villa with my brother-in-law, his wife and their two boys, who are eight and five.

Though we have previously stayed with wider family in the UK (including a holiday cottage in Cornwall with my sister and her brood, which was glorious until the rain came), we have never ventured abroad as an extended family unit before and there are several reasons why we have decided to do so this time.

The four of us lounge around the poolside looking glamorous 

Perhaps the most obvious reason for us to go on holiday with my husband’s brother and his clan is that we all like each other. We get on well. Or at least we do at the moment (ask me again when we’ve returned). With kids of a similar age, all boys (ours are five and nearly three) we’re thinking it’s quite the treat for them to go on holiday with their cousins where they’ll be able to play football in the garden and splash around in the pool all day. With any luck, the four of them will keep each other entertained as the four of us lounge around the poolside looking glamorous (I am chuckling as I write this as just supervising the four of them in our garden usually requires fight mediation and the distraction of an iced lolly to defuse the tension over somebody being ‘left out.’)

 I’m usually zonked out in my PJ’s by 7:30

Even if they do bicker, one of the chief advantages of having four adults at the property is that we will be able to do shifts. My husband and I, for example, may take advantage of the live-in babysitters and go out for an evening meal as a couple while the other two hold the fort (returning the favour when they wish to do the same). Earlier in the year when we set the holiday date I had even started fantasising about having a proper night out – a really late one! – complete with drinking and dancing (not something we do very often these days!) However, the trip has been made slightly more interesting by the fact that I am now four-and-a-half-months pregnant with baby number three (a boy – there’s definitely a theme in this family!) and am usually zonked out on the sofa in my PJs by 7:30. So realistically, I can’t see there being any clubbing on my part and there definitely won’t be any cocktails but I do think I will get more of a chance to relax with other adults around.

I’m looking forward to us heading out in our larger family tribe on some day trips and, alongside meals out and going to the beach together, we can hopefully employ the same shift pattern as above and sneak in half an hour’s sunbathing or even shopping without worrying about where the kids are and whether they are about to break anything.

 I could run and hide in a wardrobe

I suppose my only fears are that the kids will spend the whole week trying to rugby tackle each other to the ground (they do this a lot) and rather than ending in the tears and injuries of two children like it does in our living-room it will end in the tears and injuries of four. There’s also a chance that the combined chorus of four shouting boys will start to do my head in but as the villa is approximately five times the size of our house I reckon I could run and hide in a wardrobe in the east wing without anybody finding me for a while (OK, it’s not quite that grand but it’s a darn sight grander than what we’re used to!)

 Fun, laughter, silliness and spending quality time with relatives

I strongly suspect that holidaying with extended family will bring a whole new level of chaos but it will be chaos in the best sense – fun, laughter, silliness and spending quality time with relatives we otherwise only really see for a few hours here and there when it’s someone’s birthday. For the boys, I am almost certain that long sunny says spent playing with their cousins are the sort of days they will remember and it’s for this reason that I’m already obsessing over camera chargers and memory cards. I’m not sure we’ve ever managed a decent snap of the four of them and all being well it won’t be too long before the fifth member of the five-a-side team makes his appearance, so this will be the end of the dynamic as they know it!

 Bring on the noise, bring on the madness and bring on the sunshine. I will report back in a few weeks with an honest rundown of how we found it and whether I felt the urge to kill anyone. To be continued …

Have you been inspired to holiday with family?

Take a look at these fantastic options…

Option One

Share a large luxury villa – Casa Anna in Perugia, Italy

Sleeps up to 12 guests in 5 bedrooms








Option Two

Book two cottages in a gite complex – The Berry Farm, Northern France

Cluster of 6 separate properties with 2 communal pools








Option Three

Occupy 2 villas in a resort – Green Garden, Tenerife

121 properties, 2 restaurants, 2 communal pools

Sarah Turner
Sarah Turner

Sarah Turner aka Unmumsy Mum is a wonderful friend, Sunday Times bestselling author, blogger, freelance writer and inspiring mum of three boys; Henry, Jude and Wilf.

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