10 tips for surviving a group holiday
You've saved all year for a fun fortnight in a villa, but beware! These tips will help you avoid the pitfalls that could turn your holiday into a Hell-iday ... (Weak, I know. Forgive me.)
1 Choose your holiday companions carefully
If they're horrible at home they won't suddenly improve in the sun. That friend of a friend who always mispronounces your name, the guy who addresses your breasts instead of your face - they'll be just the same when transplanted to a resort.
2 Even though it will make you unpopular, work out a chores rota
Look on your break as a short term flat share. When is it your turn to cook? Will that bin ever be emptied? Somebody's got to set the terrace to rights after a long evening of bingeing on the local vino. Showers don't clean themselves.
3 Hire a car
At some point you'll need to escape the villa. And the people inside the villa. With a car you can roar off into the distance, and while away an afternoon sipping Fernet Branca by the harbour or haggling over espadrilles you'll hate as soon as you get home.
4 Choose the villa carefully
There are obvious must-haves such as a pool and a barbecue, but what about the less obvious but just as vital facilities? You'll need sanctuary - make sure there's somewhere you can escape the endless rolling game of Trivial Pursuit. You'll need wifi, for all those texts home, asking how the weather is and hoping desperately it's raining. You'll need somewhere to stash your private cache of gin/Lilt (insert your favourite tipple here).
5 Make sure you have your own room
You'll need a bedroom to yourself. Sharing with a slob if you're a neat freak (or vice versa) can harsh your holiday mellow. Plus, if your roomie is the, um, friendly sort you might find yourself trying to sleep through rampant naughtiness in the top bunk.
6 Either take control of the kitchen or stay away from it
If you're a foodie who photographs her breakfast and 'sources' organic ingredients, then make like Napoleon and colonise the kitchen. Otherwise you'll be horrified at what passes for dinner with some people. Late, burnt food or - even worse - no food at all will ruin your fortnight, so make it clear early on that you're in charge and it's gonna be heritage tomatoes and good olive oil all the way.
7 Remember we are all beach body ready
Don't set even a toe on the slippery slope of comparing yourself to the other women around the pool. The blokes don't punish themselves in this way, so why should we? Pixillate those thongs, disregard those itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikinis and stretch out like the Queen of Sheba in all your wibbly wobbly glory.
8 Be Switzerland
Cliques will form in the villa. The pro-staying-up-all-night-shrieking-on-the-terrace faction will fall foul of the crew that power walks before a breakfast of marinated tofu. There will be skirmishes. There may even be all-out war. You must stay neutral. Slink away when voices are raised, because otherwise you'll be sucked in and the whole holiday will be spent in pow-wows planning attacks and counter-attacks.
9 No snogging
If you're single, look further than the confines of the villa for your holiday romance. Chances are he's an ex of one of the others, or he's been invited along specifically to get off with one of them. With the temperature rising and the sangria on tap, you might shimmy out of your panties quicker than you would at home. This could land you in a mess if your feelings aren't reciprocated; you still have to stare at him from your lilo every day. Worse still, he could fall for you but without your tequila goggles you'll realise he reminds you of your nana. (This has happened to me.)
10 Ignore all of these tips
The preceding nine tips will ensure a calm, pleasant holiday but frankly wouldn't you rather have a series of booze-fuelled dramatic rows with people you don't know very well? Isn't it more in the spirit of foreign travel that you have pointless noisy sex with a man you wouldn't look twice at back in your own postcode? Is a holiday truly a holiday without at least one plate of calamari being thrown at the wall? Go rogue. Be the villa companion from Hell. Because what happens in the villa, stays in the villa.