helpful tips when taking a large family on vacation.

So we are going on this big vacation as you know from a previous post.  I thought I would post some potentially helpful tips for any of you planning a trip this year.

First of all, make lists!  This is by far the biggest tool I use when it comes to vacations.  List out what needs to be packed for clothing, personal items, extras, bedding if needed, food if your gonna take it, kitchen supplies and the like.  Take some time, talk to your spouse try to be as thorough as possible and as specific as possible.   For example, when we went to the cabin last year, my list included things like bedding, towels, shampoo, soap, bug spray, suntan lotion, pudgie pie makers, roasting sticks.

I would write out on a piece of paper the old fashioned way:


3 pr pants

6pr shorts

7 shirts

2 sweatshirts

6pr underwear

7pr socks

2pr pajamas

2pr shoes


I make a list for everything I can think of that we might do or need.  If we are going on a long vacation like this one coming up, I will list things to go in the van to do while we are driving.   That would include craft projects that my mom has already, books, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paper, the nook, the kindle, my crocheting projects, cards, stuff like that.

I usually don’t take a lot of food because that ends up taking up a lot of space and there are grocery stores everywhere!   I just plan on grocery shopping when we arrive.  On the long road trip however, I will pack food so we don’t have to stop for more than one big meal.   There my list would include my half-gal water containers filled with water, tea or lemonade. Juice boxes,  granola bars, crackers, fruit, cut vegetables, sandwich makings, things like that.  I would also include on that list, paper towels, plastic ware and water bottles.

The kids have to pack their own bags.  We do check them over together, the younger ones anyways, and try to make sure we have everything.  It is there responsibility to pack their stuff.  If things are forgotten, they are forgotten and we deal without.  Sometimes, if its something they need anyway, and we find a good deal on it, we will replace the item.  Like a swimsuit.  Especially the girls swimsuits- they just don’t hold up like the boys suits do.

This time I will plan on doing laundry while we are on vacation.  Most of us don’t own enough clothes to last 2 weeks.  Luckily, there are washer/dryers in the places we are staying.  I will not take laundry soap with us but will pick up a small bottle once there.  No need to take that with us.  Again there are Walmarts and Targets everywhere!  Usually an Aldi’s somewhere nearby too.

The kids will also take their own backpacks with stuff for the drive down there. That is their responsibility not mine.  The backpacks then will be useful for the trip when we go out, in this case to Disney.  They can pack them with water bottles, juice boxes, snacks and lunches.  Then we will either go back to the room and eat a large lunch or dinner depending on our time frame or go out for that one meal.  It saves a ton of money that way!  Taking all these people out to dinner is expensive!!  (Thanks to my friend for giving me that tip about packing their backpacks with food for the day at Disney!!)

Taking a big family anywhere is expensive, but we have learned some things to help keep the costs down.  These are some of my secrets.  Another thing is that wherever we go, we keep an eye out for free things to do.  Walking or hiking is usually free and one of the best things to do anyways!

The kids are all old enough now to earn their own money for things they might want on the trip. They will be doing that.  They haven’t started yet but as it gets closer, they will!

Also, watch for coupons for whatever you are wanting to do on your trips.  Usually the place you are staying has a coupon book or flyers with coupons in it.   I have been watching the websites for coupons and deals for our Disney trip.  I will start buying those now so that they are paid for when we get there.

Do you have any tips or tricks to add??  Feel free to post them in the comments section!







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