While some of the people we meet while travelling might be more about the fun than friends for life, making new acquaintances can be very rewarding. Two years ago, while on a 2 week retreat in Margaret River WA, I met a French woman who I felt a connection to. We shared a very special moment when she discovered she was pregnant during that time, and although I’ve not seen her since we still correspond regularly and exchange gifts for our children’s birthdays.
Spending your holiday in a rental house or a swanky hotel may not give you and your children the same opportunities to met new friends as perhaps around a resort pool, in the kids play area or BBQ area or while camping. So choose your venue carefully with the kids in mind. Find a campsite with kid friendly play areas with giant inflatable pillows or GymBus like play areas.
Do however; check out potential new friends thoroughly from a distance before jumping in to ask them around for dinner. The kids might get along swimmingly, but Mum might never stop talking and Dad might like a beer or 10. Once you befriend another family you might find it harder than you think to avoid them if you decide they are not really your type. Maybe, let the kids become friends first, while you suss out the parents.
We once invited a couple to afternoon drinks when our children became friends with theirs. They left at 2:30 in the morning and we were left with an empty fridge. We politely declined when they asked if we were up for a repeat performance the next day. Tip: don’t befriend anyone who carries a personalised stubby holder in his or her back pocket!
Don’t worry if your friendship does continue after the hotel checkout or the campsite. For better or worse you and your children’s lives have been enriched by the experience. Perhaps invite your newfound friends to exchange details and contact them if they are ever in your neck of the woods, and leave it at that.
The children might be broken hearted temporarily, but remind them that a new BFF could be as close as the next campsite or the next holiday.