Summer vacation is something we all look forward to, but as the one planning for a large family, there can be many challenges most families do not face. Here are some tips on how best to budget for your big family’s vacation.  

1. Coordinate a Plan for Where and When  

When planning a big family vacation, it is important to nail down the location, and when you are going months in advance; the earlier the better. Being flexible amongst family members’ schedules can help you strategically coordinate to put a plan in place.  

A few things to consider when deciding when and where: 

  • Could you get a better deal in the off-season? 

  • Would a road trip to this location make for a better vacation? 

  • Is this a good place to go with a big group?  

  • What activities would you want to be doing?  

  • If you fly, would you need to rent a car at your destination? 

  • How much in advance would you need to book a place to stay and the activities?  

  • Would you need to consider bringing along another adult?  

  • How much spending cash would everyone need each day for activities?  

As you consider some of the obstacles you may face with a large group, use these questions as a guide to walk through your itinerary to see what is and what is not easily going to work to eliminate any hassles.  

2. Nail Down Your Travel Plan 

When nailing down your plan for travel for a big family, it is important to book well in advance. You can save a good chunk of cash to put back into your vacation budget if you are on top of booking your flights. Dependent upon where you are going, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of flying vs. driving with a large family. 

A few things to consider when deciding on flying vs. driving: 

  • How many vehicles would you need to take (consider space for luggage and equipment)? 

  • What would the overall expense be for gas, a place to stay and meals on the way to your destination?  

  • Compare this cost to the overall cost for plane tickets, food and luggage. 

  • If you fly, how much would it cost you for transportation – will you be renting a car or using local transportation (research costs to and from activities)?  

  • Will your family be breaking up into smaller groups throughout vacation frequently? What would your plan for transportation be?  

  • How far are the activities from the place you will be staying? 

  • What is the cost of gas where you will be vacationing?  

3. Consider Affordable and Inclusive Places to Stay  

Where you choose to stay on vacation with a big family can make or break your budget. Consider vacationing where you can book larger rooms and bring in cots or utilize couches. Another great option is to utilize Airbnb, HomeToGo or VRBO where you can have everyone together, instead of booking multiple rooms. These options will have a stocked kitchen which can lead to even more savings when it comes to meals and entertainment.  

When deciding where to stay, factor in the feasibility to get to other places you will be going such as restaurants, activities and convenience stores. Also, consider the cost of gas if you have to drive to these places or a local transportation cost. The more central you can be to walk to these places can really cut down the overall cost.  

4. Budget Your Meals  

Saving money on meals with a big family can add up! Stay somewhere where you can have your own stock of snacks and make some meals.  

Here are some tips on how best to save on meals:  

  • Research restaurants in the area and their prices 

  • Plan how many times you will eat at a restaurant 

  • Plan budget-friendly large meals to make from where you are staying 

  • Research grocery stores in the area – can you buy in bulk?  

  • When out on activities – can you bring in your own food and drink?  

  • Plan meals based on the activity you will be going to that day 

  • Budget how much you plan to spend on groceries  

5. Plan Time for R&R 

Planning time for rest and relief can help break up your planned activities and save a little money every day. Factor this into where you stay so there is functional space for people to relax and utilize the place you are staying. Give your family time to recharge or grab a snack, so they will have much more fun doing the activities.  

Make vacationing with your large family worth every penny. Factor in these tips as you begin the budgeting and planning process to eliminate any hidden costs with the larger expenses you must plan for. Remember, the more flexible and planned you can be, the more success you will have on your trip.