Here’s an article I wrote for the Toronto Star about travelling with a large family. With two kids, it isn’t a problem I come up against but I know a lot of families who have struggled to plan the right trip to match their “larger than average family. Here I share the tips I gathered.
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.
- 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.
Do you have a large family? What are some of your travel tips?
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