Growing up in a family of seven always made family vacations a little interesting. Everything from making travel arrangements to coordinating restroom breaks was challenging. We eventually learned how to make our family vacation cheaper and run smoothly. Planning ahead can save a lot of headaches when traveling with a large family.
Think Beyond Hotels
Renting separate hotel rooms or suites can be pricey if you don’t use a coupon or get an online discount. The constraints of staying in a hotel might not work when traveling with babies. There are only so many bottles that can fit into those tiny hotel refrigerators.
Consider other forms of lodging the next time you hit the road. Rent a cabin, cottage, apartment or stay at a camp ground. The best option for your family depends on your routine and budget. House swapping is also a growing trend for large families. Websites like HomeExchange.com and HomeLink.org will give you an idea on how to swap homes.
Invest in an Air Mattress
Some hotels do not guarantee roll-away beds and will run out quickly during peak travel season. My family didn’t plan ahead one summer trip to Mexico and booked a suite that didn’t have enough beds.
The hotel was all out of extra roll-away beds and I was stuck sleeping on the floor. To make things worse, my younger sister rolled off of her cozy bed and fell on top of me just as I started to fall asleep.
Book Early to Save Money
According to Lots of Kids, booking your vacation months or even a year in advance can make a big difference. Popular destinations like Disneyland offer a discount for early bookings. While this tip is applicable to small families too, the savings could be substantial for larger families.
Theme park meals are overpriced and the cost of food can easily rack up to half the price of an admission ticket when you consider all of those $4 water bottles. Most theme parks let you go in and out of the park as long as you stamp your hand before exiting. Large families can save so much money by packing a lunch and keeping it in an ice chest in the car.
Some theme parks even have picnic areas near the parking lot so you don’t have to eat in your car. If packing lunches just makes things more stressful, then look into buying a meal plan. Universal Studios Orlando has a Meal Deal and unlimited soft drink plan.