25 Jun 2022

How to Homeshare on Holiday

It’s summertime and our summer holidays are just around the corner. For many of us, the fantasy of enjoying a week or two in a holiday cottage or villa with a few close friends is extremely seductive. But remember, the undoubted benefits of sharing your holiday space with a convivial crowd of people can all too often be offset by petty disputes and ill-feeling.

You should be able to head off any potential difficulties by following our simple advice – it’s just a matter of being observant and aware of everything that is going on and ensuring that chores are equally divided between all the guests:

Division of Labour

If you are the prime mover, you will have probably found the property, rounded up the guests and taken charge of all the administration associated with the rental. This clearly represents a lot of work, and you should be rewarded for your diligence. You are entitled to choose your own bedroom, and other guests should recognise this and give you priority.

If the rental is a cooperative venture, you might find that you’re racing your fellow guests, trying to get to the property first and secure the best accommodation. This undignified land-grab can ruffle feathers at the outset and cause a poisonous atmosphere. It is better if you sit down your fellow guests beforehand, look at the property brochure or website, and try to allocate rooms on the basis of need. For example, a couple with a baby might need a larger bedroom; an elderly relative might prefer a room on the ground floor and so on. If there are no obvious priorities, why not have a lottery for rooms?

Cooperative Living

Discuss catering arrangements at the outset, preferably while you’re still planning the holiday. It’s pointless to impose a one-size-fits-all regime on a random collection of people with different tastes and proclivities. Presumably you will know your planned household very well, and will be able to adapt to their individual foibles.

It’s unnecessary to set up a rigid cooking rota if one of your guests is a passionate cook, who loves nothing better than visiting markets, sourcing and preparing local produce, and resents every minute he or she is shut out of the kitchen. In this situation, it would obviously be wise to make way for the enthusiastic cook – other guests could compensate by acting as sous-chefs when needed, and taking on full responsibility for washing up and clearing the kitchen.

If, on the other hand, nobody is stridently demanding kitchen privileges, then it is sensible to take it in turns to prepare the main meal, and it is obviously easiest if the person who is cooking is also responsible for shopping. If you’re adamantly anti-cooking, or resent being expected to prepare meals on your holidays, then you should treat your fellow guests to a meal out.

It might be that, as a group, you decide to eschew the whole home-cooking routine, and you plan to enjoy the food in the local pub, trattoria or taverna every night. If that is the case, you could all contribute to an eating out kitty at the outset; alternatively you could each take it in turns to pay for an evening meal. Whatever method you choose, you will need to be relaxed and laid back about ordering meals and paying for them – quibbling about who had what will definitely erode the holiday spirit.

Shared Responsibilities

You can be sure that nobody will want to take total responsibility for washing up, tidying and cleaning, so this is an area where it is essential that everybody shares the chores, and this should be made clear at the very beginning. We’re all grown-ups and are unlikely to appreciate a washing-up rota, so you will need to be observant and pro-active. If one person is washing up day after day, while fellow guests blithely loll on their loungers, then resentment is inevitable, and holiday good spirits will evaporate. Watch out for guests who are turning into drudges and stop the rot.

Remember it’s not just about preparing dinner. Throughout the day, drinks will need to be made and offered, and perhaps a light picnic lunch will need to be assembled. These countless small tasks can add up, so it is important that you’re alert and ready to jump up and offer to help.

Don’t look at a shared holiday rental as a chance to palm your children off on your unsuspecting friends. Your children remain your responsibility and, if you need help with them, this has to be negotiated on an ad hoc basis.

Respect the Rental

Leave everything as you’ve found it, dispose of your rubbish and maintain basic cleaning standards while you’re in residence. Report any spillages or breakages to the landlord before you leave.

Think about your neighbours: while you may only be in residence for a week or two, your landlord may have to mollify them and pick up the pieces if you’ve annoyed them during your stay.

Be aware of noise nuisance. Treat the place with respect and don’t pollute a quiet county neighbourhood with loud music, screaming kids and roaring engines. If you’ve brought your dogs, control loud barking and make sure they don’t stray into private property.

Drive carefully; you may be tucked away down a narrow country lane, so don’t enrage the locals with crazy driving antics. If parking spaces are not provided, be very considerate about blocking drives or obstructing passing places.

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