Plan A Multi-Family Vacation Everyone Will Love
Jun 19, 2020
A multi-family vacation is a great opportunity to save money and have more fun. These are some ideas for planning your time away and putting together an adventure that your family and friends of all ages will love.
A multi-family vacation could be constructed of extended families, like a family reunion in the destination of choice. It could also be sets of friends and their children, where everyone decides to go on vacation together to make sure that everyone has fun, kids and grownups alike.
Planning Your Trip
- Test your compatibility. Living together for a week is very different from an occasional lunch date. First, take a day trip or go on a weekend outing together. Make sure all the kids get along, especially if they are going to be sharing quarters.
- Form a planning committee. Pick one or two well-organized people to be the trip leaders. They can assign duties to the rest of the group. If you live close by, meet in person, or meet on zoom if you all live farther apart.
- Select your destination and accommodations. Some places can accommodate large groups easily. Rent a beach house, take a cruise, or camp out. If you’re creative, you can adapt just about any place to suit your needs.
- Pack as a team. Traveling light becomes even more essential when you’re sharing a bathroom and kitchen. Let people sign up to bring a hairdryer per bathroom or one set of kitchen utensils to avoid duplication.
- Outsource the work. Some travel agents specialize in planning large group vacations. Shop around and ask for references to find someone you’ll be confident working with. We worked with a travel agent when we planned our trip to Australia. She helped us rent a camper, get our airline tickets, theme park/zoo/aquarium tickets, insurance, visas, and so much more. We spent a lovely month down under, thanks to her help.
How to Pay for Your Multi-Family Vacation
- Pay upfront. Non-refundable deposits can strain any relationship. Let one person act as the banker to collect all the funds in advance from each party and make the reservations after. The banker gives everyone the dates and deposits, makes all the phone calls, collects the funds, and cancels rooms if a party doesn’t pay when due. Some venues, like cruise ships and hotels, will accept separate deposits from each individual but many do not.
- Pool your money. Depending on where you’re staying, you may want to create a joint fund. Ask each family to make a set donation for groceries or a debit card that you can use at restaurants.
- Shop for good travel deals. See if you qualify for price reductions based on the size of your group. Cruise ships give a minimum of 10% off for five or more cabins. Speak to hotel managers directly and let them know if it’s a special occasion.
- Check out discounts on local activities. Places like parks and museums may also cut admission prices if you’re bringing a large group of people. Email or phone ahead to ask.
Getting the Most Enjoyment from Your Vacation Together
- Designate some quiet time. You’ll enjoy each other’s company more if you remain well-rested. Schedule free hours each day and find a quiet spot to read or meditate while smaller kids take naps.
- Buddy up. Even the closest friends usually have a few separate interests. Split up into couples or small groups if some people want to play tennis and others want to swim. Make a checklist of activities and see who is interested and who is not. Let everyone know about excursions but allow each to opt-out if it’s not their cup of tea.
- Expect delays. Everything is bound to take longer. Be prepared to spend more time at the airport and experience delays when getting ready in the mornings. Large groups tend to take a bit longer to load and unload. Be patient and allow for longer times at restaurants, pulling tables together for your large party. Phone ahead whenever possible.
- Agree on childcare. One big advantage to going on vacation together is having built-in babysitters and playmates for your kids. Take turns so every couple can have a night out on their own. Don’t stick grandma and grandpa with the little ones every single day. Be courteous and think of others.
- Divide chores. If you’re doing your own cleaning and laundry, figure out how you’re going to handle it. You may want to create a rotating schedule for the common areas or hire a service to take care of it. Compromise if your housekeeping styles are miles apart. I’m meticulously clean and my sisters each know how to push my buttons. I know what’s coming each time we get together.
- Strategize your meals. Good food makes happy memories. Decide how meals will go. You may want to handle breakfast on your own and get together for lunch and dinner. Maybe everyone wants to splurge one night at a fancy restaurant and do casual dining otherwise. Get everyone’s input and everyone's budget for this one. Not everyone can afford to eat the way other families do. Don’t add monetary stress to anyone if you can help it. Plus, meal planners need to know about dietary needs and restrictions. Everyone in the party should be aware of life-threatening food allergies so no accidents occur.
If you believe in the old saying about the more the merrier, a group vacation is for you. Share good times with your loved ones with a group vacation. Some of our family’s most cherished memories are group cabins down in the Ozarks or group camping at the Grand Canyon. Great memories last a lifetime.
Combined authors with Michelle Russell
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