When it’s just you and your spouse or partner, traveling is easy. You do what you want when you want. There are few restrictions – at least logistically. But once the children start piling up and the family grows from two to four to six (or even more), travel becomes much more challenging. You can’t just buy a plane ticket and take off. What do you do?
5 Secrets for Large Family Travel
No matter if you have a family of six, eight, or even 10 people, traveling is a logistical challenge. It can also be quite costly. But with the following tips and tricks, you’ll discover that it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or financially ruinous. Take a look at our best travel hacks:
1. Set a Daily Budget
Income, net worth, and personal financial beliefs aside, you need to create a budget for your trip in the planning stages. More specifically, you need to set a daily budget.
A daily budget might seem over-the-top and unnecessary, but it helps to keep you grounded. It prevents a situation where you accidentally blow through 90 percent of your planned spending in the first three days of a seven-day trip. It allots the perfect amount for each day’s activities so you can enjoy a balanced, stress-free experience.
2. Get Creative With Accommodations
One hotel room is expensive enough. Try getting two or three hotel rooms for a weeklong trip. (That’s 14-21 nights!) But thankfully there are other options.
Perhaps the best option is to rent a house from a site like Airbnb or Homeaway. Not only can you find cheaper accommodations for a large family, but they’ll almost certainly be nicer. You’ll also get things like a kitchen and refrigerator, which means you can cook meals.
3. Consider Taking an RV Trip
There is another alternative to hotels and Airbnb houses. And it can be especially cost-effective (and fun) if you’re traveling a long distance. We’re talking about an RV, of course!
By combining your transportation and lodging costs into one nice bundle, All Star Coaches reports that a family of six can rent a luxury RV for seven days and six nights for less than $2,000. That leaves the cost of groceries, gas, and campsite rental fees.
When you consider that an out-of-state vacation for a family of six can cost, on average, $2,600 for airfare, $2,686 for hotel stays, and $530 for a van rental, it’s easy to see the savings. Plus, it’s a unique experience that your kids will talk about for years to come.
4. Eat In Whenever Possible
Want to save some serious money in one fell swoop? Resist the temptation to eat meals out at restaurants while traveling. To give you an idea of how much you can save, let’s run the numbers for a family of six eating at moderately priced dine-in restaurants over the course of one week:
- Breakfast: 7 breakfasts X 6 people X $7 per meal = $294
- Lunch: 7 lunches X 6 people X $9 per meal = $378
- Dinner: 7 dinners X 6 people X $13 per meal = $546
- Total: $294 + $378 + $546 = $1,218
We’re talking more than $1,200 for eating at very middle-of-the-road restaurants. If you want to eat at nice, local places, you could easily double that number.
But when you rent an RV or stay in an Airbnb, you have your own kitchen. This allows you to buy groceries and cook most of your meals. Going this route, you could probably slash that number down to just $600 to $700.
5. Let Each Child Have a Say
When you have a bunch of kids, it’s impossible to please them all. They all have unique interests, wants, needs, and moods. If you try to plan a trip on your own, you’ll almost certainly ostracize one or two of your kids at the expense of the others. This isn’t on purpose, it’s just the way it goes. But there’s an easy fix: Let each one of your children have a say in the planning process.
Give each child a day (or an afternoon) and let them pick an activity or sight that they want to do or see. By giving them ownership over part of the trip, they become more invested.
Plan a Vacation That Works for You
Who says your vacation has to look just like everyone else’s? In fact, if you have a large family with a bunch of little kids running around, it’s not going to look anything like a trip that a family with one child would take. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just important to acknowledge the reality of the situation.
Plan a vacation that works for your family and enjoy the things that make it unique!