Monday, May 28, 2012

Large Family Vacations

Yeah, large family vacations are fun, busy and different from small family vacations. I think my husband and I need a vacation just by ourselves after our large family vacation, even though we do have a blast : )

We just returned from a week vacation at the beach with our crew plus a few friends.  So while everything is still fresh in my mind, I thought I would share some tips on traveling with many kids and also some things that are just different when you are traveling en masse. 

1. Anyone over 5 should be able to pack themselves. Yes, the mom will still need to check the suitcase to make sure they have packed what is needed, but it helps when they can do the bulk of the packing.  Also, last year I invested in each child over 4 their own little suitcase with wheels.  This has helped tremendously, especially if you will be staying in multiply sights and having to unload everything.  It helps so much just to tell the kids to grab and roll their own suitcase.  

2.  Enjoy the trip and even the packing-up.  Bring snacks for the car ride, games, story CD's, books and if the trip is longer than 4 hours I would recommend a good family movie.

3.  Plan your meals and grocery trips as soon as you get to your destination.  Write it down if you have to, but have a plan on what and where you will eat while you are vacationing.  Then you can enlist the teens to help with the shopping and cooking.

4.  Have everyone unpack as soon as you get to where you are going and make up the beds if need be.  Also, plan ahead of time where everyone will sleep.  I usually am the first one to go into the rental house or condo and assign rooms. There is no "running in and grabbing a room" allowed. 

5.  Plan "down-time" for all and also some time just to spend with your husband.  Even if it's just a late night walk on the beach : )

6.  Bring lots of fans.  This help tremendously when you have 4 or 5 kids sleeping in a room together.  I love "white noise" and you really need it with 14 people crammed in a 3-4 bedroom beach house. 

7. Most of all remember that it doesn't have to be perfect. Children remember the fun times together even if it's crazy or stressful for you.  My children still talk fondly of times when we ran out of gas on the way to Disney World, lost electricity at the beach, had a screaming MK with an ear infection on a crazy trip out west, etc.  You're making wonderful family memories, and it really is worth it!

 One of the few times we ate seafood out.  Tip, have everyone order waters and kids share platters.
 Free entertainment......races on the beach.
 Matthew's first crab (we caught 20 plus meal : )
Ron and I had some time to ourselves one afternoon (teens can babysit!) and rode our bikes out to the end of the was beautiful.


  1. I love your tips. You have a beautiful family!

  2. I love that u MADE time with ur spouse!!!

  3. My husband bought all the kids their own suitcases for the last trip and at first I was like "why? we don't need that!" but at the next trip, I realized he was a genius.

  4. What a fun trip. And to the beach no less! I love everything you said, especially needing a "just the two of us" vacation after your family vacation. So true! Love the picture of you and your husband.

    You are so right, kids remember the feeling of the trip. Happy trip. Emotional trip. Hard trip. I like what you said....enjoy it all, packing, loading, unloading, driving, being there....every bit of it.

    I never thought of the fans idea. Good one.

    We always bring along computers (for learning games) or mp3 players, card games, audio stories that we listen to over and over. Snack....oh yes, lots of them!

    A great breakfast on the go.....yogurt with fruit. Or how about donuts for everyone. Yum!!

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.


  5. Thank you.Your ideas are great. I only have 4 kids and I used to think that we are too big sometime

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