Monday, April 14, 2014

Vacations for Big Families

There is a lot of preparation that goes into any vacation, but that preparation is magnified times 10 when you have a big family. Vacations for big families are a great way to spend time together and visit new places; however, it's also a stressful time and nothing is ever easy. Even before you leave the house, the chaos begins as you try to get everyone packed and out the door. Over the years, I have discovered somewhat of a method to the madness to help vacations for big families run smother.

Planning the Vacation
Planning our vacations starts early, months before we even plan to leave. When you take a vacation as a large family, it can become quite expensive, especially if you're buying tickets some place or are going to be dining out a lot.

When we take vacations, we usually go to a lot of places in a very short period of time. Before we leave on vacation, we have each day of the vacation planned out, such as where we are going, who we will see, and where we will be eating or sleeping. Then, we create a budget for each day, which varies depending on the activity for the day. After we have the whole vacation well planned out, we then throw in a few hundred dollars more into the budget for extra gas, souvenirs, snacks, and any other expense that may occur. By doing this, we make sure we always have enough money on hand and don't have to worry about running out half way through the trip.

Packing for Vacation
After packing for a vacation, my house always looks like it has been dumped upside down as I scramble to get everything together, making sure not to forget anything. For me, packing is the most stressful part because there are so many people to pack for and you don't want to accidentally overlook anything. I found that my making a list of everything each person is going to need to bring makes the process much easier. I pack one person at a time and cross each item off of the list as we go. Since I have been doing this, I have yet to forget anything. Before I used this method, I always forgot things...like my shoes, my son's formula, and even diapers.

Saving Money
As I said before, vacations for big families are expensive. We look for any way possible to save money, starting with our tickets to shows, attractions, and amusement parks. We buy all of our tickets before hand if possible because you can often find better deals online than at the gate. We also find coupons to restaurants to help with meal costs.

We also save money while on vacation by taking snacks and drinks with us. We always load up the van with bottles of water, juice boxes, and snacks. With the snacks and drinks right there in the car, you don't have to stop as often to buy the kids food when they get hungry or thirsty because you already have quick snacks on hand.

A lot of work goes into taking vacations as a big family. How do you simplify the process? What tips do you have to share for those planning vacations for big families?

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