Travel Tips for Large Families

Published On Tue Jun 01 2010
The Toronto Star

Beaches Italian Village Suites in the Turks and Caicos offers up plenty of family room. The pool's pretty cool, too.Heather Greenwood Davis/For the Toronto Star

Beaches Italian Village Suites in the Turks and Caicos offers up plenty of room for families of all sizes.

Big family, less options?

I’ve only got two kids so it wasn’t a problem that immediately occurred to me, but a few years ago my neighbours who already had a daughter had twins when they were banking on a single. It was all good until they went to book a trip.

Turns out some hotels and cruise lines are working on a four-is-a-family rule that means this family of five would have to buy a second room to accommodate their plus-1 brood.

The cost, debate (who was going to sleep in the second room?) and headache weren’t worth it so they – gasp – skipped the trip!

We only have two. It works for us. I never wanted to be outnumbered by little people and this way the hubster and I can unite forces against them and have a 50/50 chance of gaining the remote in a battle. (Who am I fooling? It’s always three against one.) But what if we’d decided to have three? Or four? Or more?

Doesn’t seem fair.

It’s why on a visit to Beaches in Turks and Caicos, I was so impressed with their Italian village. Suites sleep six comfortably and larger options that extend the rooms into multi-room suites mean you can go as big as your libido and tolerance for Teletubbies allow. The rooms aren’t cheap but occasional specials bring the price down a good bit and the quality of the experience is definitely worth the cost if you can muster it.

Other options?

Consider a rental home in the area you’re visiting (or a house swap if you’re game) that offers you proximity to local markets and neighbourhood playgrounds.

Find hotels that aren’t so limiting. Six Suitcase Travel is a great site that boasts links to almost 3,000 hotels across North America that cater to bigger-than-four families.

Hit the open road. An RV means never having to worry about where you’ll sleep and the latest options mean you can go no frills or all-out superfly.

Check into a Family Camping Resort. A few summers ago my family visited Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort in the Finger Lakes region of New York. What’s not to love about a campground that has roomy cottages, a spa and Wi-Fi? Oh … and plenty of things for the kids too.

Looking for more? Meagan Francis’s book “Table for Eight: Raising a large family in a small world” might help.

Heather Greenwood Davis is a Toronto-based freelance writer.

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