Tips for taking a stress-free trip with extended family?

I will be taking two trips this summer with extended family (one with each side). I am sure this is a very common way to take trips but also can be a stressful one. I wanted to get your thoughts and tips on how to enjoy inter-generational and extended-family trips while avoiding little irritations or conflicts.

For example, do you try to stay in one big house or rent individual houses or condos so everyone has their own space to retreat back to?  (I would love to rent one giant beach house but I actually think in the long run we are better with individual condos so you can have some family alone time. It also makes it easier to get the kids to go to sleep.)

How do you handle:

  • Different bed times for kids or even adults (my dad likes to go to bed early!!?
  • Different expectations for lazy or quiet time on a beach trip?
  • Different expectations for activities not on the beach – do you all go crabbing, go to see movies, ride bicycles, play tennis, go to the water park or is it just part of the group goes? (Whoever is heading to the outlet stores during the hot part of the day, I am in!)
  • Different tastes in food or expectation of going out versus cooking in? (My mother in law is awesome to go to the beach with because she is so organized she already has her meals made. You come off the beach, shower, head to her condo and she feeds you a fantastic meal.  I want to try to be more organized with cold meals already prepared like pasta salads or rotisserie chicken. Or cook your dinner like a crab boil during the hot part of the day and chill it down and then come off the beach ready to eat.)

So what situations have you encountered when you have taken trips with extended family? How did you handle differences in the way the families operate? What did you find most stressful? What helped put everyone at ease and just enjoy each other’s company? (Did someone mention coconut rum? I think that would help.)

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. Follow me on Twitter (ajcMomania) and read what I am reading each day. Great stories on family health, family fun, parenting,  fashion, stars, and more. )

45 comments Add your comment

Julia

June 22nd, 2011
1:04 am

prozac and vodka

Home audio

June 22nd, 2011
6:37 am

You made some very useful and interesting points within your post. I like the way of your explanation. Very useful for all readers.

shaggy

June 22nd, 2011
7:12 am

I would rather stick pins in my left eye, rather than be confined on a so-called vacation with extended family.
If I had no choice, it would take beer, LOTS of beer, to ease the stress.
It’s not that we don’t love each other, it’s becauses we pi$$ each other off. I am not hungry at 4:30 in the afternoon, and I certainly don’t want to go to the Moo Cow Buffet. Plus, what, exactly up and died while you were in the bathroom? And, I told you…Leave my beer alone….

In reality, I am somewhat depressed, because I won’t be going on my annual Grand Tetons climbing trip this year. There is too much going on, and yes, even I have to pretend to be responsible once in a while. My boy is depressed too. This was his year to first attempt The Grand. Anyway, next year, it will still be there…unless Yellowstone blows.
I saw the comments on camping…if bringing a version of your whole house along on a trip can be defined as camping. Me and my big boy scout friends hardly ever use a tent. Last year, my climbing partner and best friend, slept in large garbage bag, on a small pad, for two nights backcountry. He said he got hot…there was still chest high snow in the mountains. I was in luxury. I carried a down bag and bivy sack but bacause of the extra weight, I was envious of that garbage bag. It was a glorious trip.

Betty

June 22nd, 2011
7:59 am

Great topic! Personally, I find extended family vacations very stressful. I also find it stressful to vacation with other families/kids (meaning friends not family). I love the idea of separate condos and know of people who have done that and it worked out great but I’ve never experienced it. We always end up in a big house with everyone getting on each other’s nerves and the kids fighting with each other and the adults usually in need a “real” vacation by the end of the trip.

But, you know what, somehow we all get together again and do it again the next year because in between all the stress there are always great memories made and wonderful pictures to remember it by and each trip starts with high expectations. Good Luck to you!

John Gault

June 22nd, 2011
8:13 am

Valium and Vodka.

I would opt for a vasectomy without anesthesia over vacationing with any family members.

motherjanegoose

June 22nd, 2011
8:17 am

No help from me TWG. We have never been on a trip with our family, HAHA…we rarely go to SEE our family and they almost never come here much less invite us along with them. My husband’s parents would think renting a beach house is like moving into a castle. I have never known them to go to the beach. My Dad lives in Florida and has never invited us to do this. WE have invited him to come out and spend the night with us at the beach or meet us somewhere halfway for dinner.

I do go to the beach with my sister for a week but it is just us and then my husband joins us and she comes back to Atlanta. We have a great time. I have also asked my other sister to meet me in Minneapolis, a few hours away from her house, and spend the night with me on business trip. That is fun too. We did go to the beach with her and her husband, before we had kids.

I have friends who have complained that they have to spend the week with either parents or in laws at a condo that is being paid for by the same. Since we do not even get birthday presents from our parents, I cannot fathom being invited to go on vacation with them…in paid housing or even having parents who would cook for you during that time or pay for tickets to entertainment or take my kids anywhere ( when they were small) . Perhaps I am lucky? I do not see it this way but others may have horror stories today.

JJ

June 22nd, 2011
8:22 am

There should be NO bedtimes for the kids. You are on vacation, they have cousins there I’m assuming, and they should just “boop till they drop”. Vacation is about relaxing and bending the rules a bit…….

And I agree with Julia and Shaggy!! Alcohol, and LOTS of it!!!!!

I’m headed to PCB with my entire family in about 3 weeks. We all get along, so we end up just having a grand time. This is one reason why I love having a small family.

newblogger

June 22nd, 2011
8:38 am

We have gone on vacation with my husband’s entire family several times and loved it. (him, me, our two boys, MIL, FIL, brother/SIL, their son, sister/BIL) We rented a big house on St. George Island for a week each time and it was awesome! But, we all get along and enjoy each other’s company. Rare…I know. We do a lot with my family, but I’m an only child so it’s just my mom and dad. That can still be a little challenging, but we do it anyway because it means so much to them. That is so important to me, especially since my FIL passed away Christmas Eve and it is so sad that we won’t be able to do that with his family (the same way) like we’ve done before. Life can be short, and when family is gone-you might regret not time with them that you could have spent.

motherjanegoose

June 22nd, 2011
8:40 am

JJ..I know you will have fun…
Did your daughter ever find a job or is she going with you? I just saw someone who was hiring in Snellville but figured that was too far. Thanks for the tip about the Suwanee Farmer’s market, we have been two times and it was fun!

I would never have fun on a vacation where there is no bed time for the kids.
I know who would be doing the bopping…me :0 If the kids are cranky and fighting with each other, that is not restful to me. When you are on vacation with me, you still have to take a shower and brush your teeth too. Swimming in the pool or the ocean does not count for a bath. You also cannot leave your things out all over the place…I am fine if you toss them near your suitcase. Maybe this is why no one wants to go on vacation with me :)

My daughter’s friend from UGA says she wants to come again to the beach with us and my husband told her that we like her a lot but she has to stay friends with our daughter to get invited!

JJ

June 22nd, 2011
8:57 am

MGJ – we usually put the three girls on one room. They can trash that room so fast. Stuff comes out of their suitcases, and goes right onto the floor. You should see their bathroom, hair dryers, straighteners, makeup, makeup makeup…..We don’t care, just shut the door…..

My mom and I will share a room, the three girls are in one room, and my brother gets a room to himself….It works for us….

And No she hasn’t found a job yet. I’m not stressing about it anymore. There’s nothing I can do, so why borrow that worry/stress. One day, something will happen…….

Becky

June 22nd, 2011
9:05 am

I have been on a couple of family vacations where it was just the sisters..That’s ok, but for extended, H3LL no, ain’t gonna happen..Three of my brothers & one sister smokes, drinks and does drugs..I’m talking waking up in the morning and grabbing a beer first thing..It’s bad enough to be around them for holidays..Not to mention that they expect me to pay for everything when we go places..

I’m always worried that if I went on an extended family vacation that I’m going to end up in jail for drugs..Drove once to visit a sister in KY, after we got home, I found out that another sister had bought pot for her son and brought it back across three state lines..Then got pissed at me, because I went balistic on her, cause I was the one driving..So again H3LL freaking NO..

esq122

June 22nd, 2011
9:50 am

My extended family has down big beach trips for years…we end up with somewhere between 20-23 people in one BIG beach house and it is always fun and chaotic. Here’s how we’ve handled it….1)its vacation…we try to stick to bedtimes but hey, you just have to realize that they are not going to bed at their normal time and go with the flow…whoever is the last one to bed turn off the lights; 2)we don’t plan group activities…some folks may be on the beach all day, some may be on the porch reading a book, some may go shopping, some may be watching movies, if someone wants to tag along they just need to speak up, but it’s not like we have a big family meeting every morning to plan the day; 3) Food – well we all usually bring a supply of beer/wine, sodas, bottled water and stock the pantry with that. Then, each person (including kids) puts $100 in cash in a designated drawer in the kitchen. Whoever is making a grocery store run for the house pulls from that drawer. We do one big shop on the first day when we check in and then folks will make runs during the week. If there is any cash left over we split it back up amongst us. As far as cooking goes, for breakfast my brother and I usually cook bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc. If you are up and ready to eat when the food is ready that’s great. If you don’t want that or aren’t up there’s cereal, etc. help yourself. For dinner, we draw names at the beginning of the week and you are in charge of planning dinner for that night. If someone doesn’t like what you are fixing, they can fend for themselves…we aren’t short order cooks. Fortunately we all pretty much like the same things and there are never any problems. Lunches – there’s usually sandwich meat, etc. Help yourself whenever you are hungry…don’t wait for everyone to decide to eat lunch.

I think the key is to not treat this like a group tour or cruise…you all don’t have to do/see the same things and you don’t all have to eat at the same time/eat the same things. Just relax and go with the flow – and yes a few adult beverages will help!

motherjanegoose

June 22nd, 2011
10:13 am

@esq122…are you saying that each person putting in $100 would be $2300 for 23 people during the week? Just wondering.

Mine always get mad at me since I take TP, paper towels, napkins, coffee, bottled juice, cereal and pop tarts in the car with us to the beach. Then, we just stop for milk when we get there at night and already have something for breakfast. We do a big shop the next day. I DO NOT like to leave here at the crack of dawn to get to the beach…if you wait until 7:00, you will be in the thick of traffic and so we leave around noon or so, after the traffic dies down and stop for dinner on the way. This is probably because we have to get up early most days ( husband 4:00 a.m.) and I hate being in the Atlanta traffic to start our trip.

Mattie

June 22nd, 2011
10:27 am

My large extended family (7 siblings with spouses and children) usually does a reunion every two years. The past couple have been to family weddings, so there was no major planning for most of us.

When we do have a destination vacation, one family chooses the location on a rotating basis. Otherwise, we do almost exactly what esq122’s family does, including throwing money in a kitty for groceries.

Nobody is pressured to do any activities they don’t want to. I am content to stay on the beach all week. Our kids are all young adults now, but when they were little, chaos ruled, and we loved it.

JJ

June 22nd, 2011
10:34 am

We will leave around 9:00a.m. to head to PCB. We usually stop in Dothan, AL for lunch, then get to the beach around 3:00. We hit a liquor store in PCB, then head to the condo. We will unload the car, and then we all go to the grocery store. We buy stuff for breakfast and lunches, and some drinks and snacks. we will plan which nights we go out for dinner, and which nights we will stay in the condo. Usually the last two nights we are there, we have “clean out the refridgerator” and we try to eat up everything we bought, so we don’t have to lug it home.

Any pool/beach toys we buy, we leave at the pool for someone else to use. That’s pretty common at the condos we go to. Someone is always leaving pool toys……

Uh, motherjane...

June 22nd, 2011
10:34 am

…$100 divided by 7 days = $14.28 per day, per person, for food and other “necessities”- not really a lot, so $2300 for 23 people seems about right. I know you did not say this amount was bad or seemed like a lot of money; I am just breaking it down so that the $2300 does not sound like a lot…

Hey, JJ...

June 22nd, 2011
10:37 am

…I would love to go to the beach with you – you may drink more than I do (not that there is anything wrong with that), actually, a LOT more, yet you sound like your vacation is how a vacation is supposed to be – fun and unassuming, with fun being the key component…

Jeff

June 22nd, 2011
10:55 am

Julia, will you marry me? LOL

esq122

June 22nd, 2011
11:07 am

@motherjanegoose – yes $2300, but as @uh,motherjane noted…when you break it down it’s really not that much. For breakfast alone we need 4 dozen eggs and 3 packs of bacon and 2 loaves of bread for toast…and who knows how many bags of chips, bread for sandwiches, sandwich meat, gallons of milk, juice, etc. etc. we go through in the week.

LM

June 22nd, 2011
11:12 am

Not quite the same as going on vacation… But We had a issue this spring where my Brother called to tell my Mother he and his family (Wife & 3 Kids, 19, 14, 8) were coming for a visit. We have not seen them is 7 years.

It is not that we don’t want to see my Brother. But that by their coming to visit, my Mother who is 78 and not going great will be under a lot of stress. She does not know how to talk to the kids since we have not seen them in so long. My Brother is not one to keeping in touch with our side of the family. They are very close to his Wife’s side of the family.

Also it feels kind of like he feels guilty for not being a part of our Mom’s life. Since she is not in the best of health and more things seem to be going wrong, thankfully she is the personafication for “mind over body” and is still active (driving and doing yard work).

I also was not really looking forward to the family visit. We live such different lives, if always feels like there is a competition between his family and mine. His wife has made some ugly comments about being divorced, also my Daughter is not perfect and has a really un-pleasent attitude, where their children are wonderful angels and blah blah blah.

I think my Mom made the right call by being honest about not wanting them to visit. I suggested that maybe she could go out and visit with them. (would take the pressure about making the house perfect, and planning meals, also trying to entertain 3 children who she does not know)

OT – my husband thinks working around the house is a vacation. He hates going to the beach, though his parents have a condo in PCB. We have not been on a vacation in years, we have done working vacations but someone (ususaly me) ends up in the hospital I am such a klutz. lol

shaggy

June 22nd, 2011
11:28 am

If we are doing the beach thing, it ain’t going to be PCB, Daytona, or practically anywhere there is a pool. The last beach trip we (me, wife and boy) did was Cumberland Island…In late January or February 2009. We camped for a week…sweet solitude, fishing, miles of pristine wilderness beach, and we took all of the necessaries with us in wagons and backpacks. Yes, you can pack plenty of beer into a wagon. You can get ice, and practically everything else on the island.
My boy made friends with another couple of boys his age that were there. They did boy stuff for 5 days, and their parents were seeking the same experience as us, so there was plenty of time for me and my sweetie to beach combe…nekkid when we walked far enough up the beach. The temps were mid 70s that week, so it was perfect, and no bugs. If that doesn’t relax your soul, nothing will.
Maybe that’s the reason “the extended family” thing just doesn’t work for us.

jbm

June 22nd, 2011
11:38 am

Shaggy, that’s my kind of vacation although I would have to bring me house on wheels lol

jbm

June 22nd, 2011
11:38 am

Betty

June 22nd, 2011
11:39 am

@esq122–When I read $100 per person/per week that seemed awfully low! Does that actually include most breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the group? I’d say you guys have a great plan and I’m going to suggest that our group do the same next time we plan a big family trip!

No Way

June 22nd, 2011
11:50 am

Trying to avoid getting roped into one of these in the future, so curious to read other responses!

newblogger

June 22nd, 2011
12:26 pm

@JJ-that was neat to hear you say you stop in Dothan to eat on the way. I’m from Dothan (parents still live there) and when I tell people that, the thing I hear most is “oh-that’s on the way to PCB and we usually stop there to eat on our way.” Hope you enjoyed it!

April

June 22nd, 2011
12:26 pm

Alcohol, and more alcohol! I wish I could spike the iced tea to loosen up some of the t-totallers a little.

justmy2cents

June 22nd, 2011
12:35 pm

To avoid the high probability that I will kill my F-I-L if I have to spend too much time in his presence, I have perfected the vacation issue. I send my husband and kids out to visit his folks, and I stay home with the dogs. :o) Problem solved.

esq122

June 22nd, 2011
2:03 pm

@Betty, since we bring most of the beer/wine with us, it generally works out fine and does include most meals. Some of the family may go out for lunch or a dinner, but generally the entire group is at the house for meals. Also, we don’t do fancy dinners…the traditional first night meal is a couple of the party size Stouffers Lasagna, french bread and salad, someone during the week will make homemade spaghetti sauce/noodles/salad, hamburgers one night, etc. Instead of buying sandwich meat, we have in the past bought a large turkey breast and a large roast and cooked them on the first night…ends up cheaper than deli meat.

It definitely works for us because it always seems like it’s the same couple of people making the grocery store runs and keeps them from footing the bill or trying to collect later.

catlady

June 22nd, 2011
3:59 pm

Well, we had a short try at this at my daughter’s wedding in Puerto Rico and at Thanksgiving, and it worked out okay. Depends on how many control freaks you have, I am guessing. I was very sick on the PR trip, so I wasn’t much fun.

My kids and spouses and 4 grandkids and one large dog are going to the beach for a week. There will be stresses and strains, I am sure (see dog, above). We are staying in one house. I have made it known that I am NOT doing all the cooking, meal planning, or dishes. We will have food for breakfast, snacks, and lunch in the house, and dinner will be rotated. I am thinking because of the great love of seafood, we will eat out at least once a day. I am also not interested in a lot of go, go,go, so everyone will be on their own there. I like early walks and never go out when the sun is high, and with the coloring of most of the family, they will probably take it easy at midday at well. They will go fishing or crabbing. I will read and listen to the waves. 3 of the 4 grandchildren are walking, so that will keep us busy. We are staying in an area with no amusement parks, etc, which is quite fine for me!

I am really hoping this works out. A week is a long time, but my kids love each other–I may have to remind them of this. It is the first real vacation I have been on in at least 8 years, and I am looking forward to fresh grouper, sweet corn, and peanuts boiled correctly! Actually, eating, watching the dolphins, and playing with the grands while breathing the salty air will be good enough for me.

Old Grump

June 22nd, 2011
4:04 pm

@Shaggy

Climbing the Grand.. in 1972, I put that on my bucket list. I was leading 5.7 then and knew I could do it. Never made it and now am too old, too out of shape and have had too many heart attacks to make the walk in. I’d like to think I could still do the climb.

Thanks for the memories :)

catlady

June 22nd, 2011
4:19 pm

JJ: We generally stop in Eu–fa-la Al-a–bam-a beside the lake for lunch but this year I will be riding with elder daughter, SIL, 2 kids, so we will go at night. I am a little freaked out about it, traveling at night, but since I won’t have to drive, maybe it will be okay. We will be at SGI, where we have spent a lot of time since 1988.

I am the only who doesn’t at least drink beer but I can get very drunk off of water, so we should be okay. The kids and I will probably be the first ones to bed, but that should be okay also, as long as everyone is QUIET after I go to bed. I will also be up early, but I will be quiet for them as I go walking on the beach.

Just need to encourage everyone to be thoughtful to everyone else, I think that is the key. It was easier when they were little.

Kar

June 22nd, 2011
4:55 pm

Honestly, a smile plastered on my face and a “sure, if you want” attitude. Also a lot of cash and directions to the closests movie theater/blockbusters.

Followed by a long stacation at home. Alone.

djm_NC

June 22nd, 2011
7:31 pm

downFLAway

June 22nd, 2011
8:00 pm

hey esq122, are y’all really renting a house that is _supposed_ to sleep 20-23??? or are you cramming people in there just because that’s what you do when you rent someone else’s home for the week?

I’m in the PCB / So.Walton area frequently for beach time, and see some packed houses and condos that surely have too many people staying in them. i’ve not really seen too many homes big enough to truly sleep that many people in that area, but maybe i’m just not looking in the right places, right on the beach, or close to it, even though i ride my bike all around over there…

if you’re packing them in, i sure hope one day a kind neighbor alerts the owner and gets you and the mob booted out after a day or so – that ish is not cool.

and i gotta ask: “esq122″ is that referring to lawyer in your handle – seems funny if some of the things i’ve inquired about are true of a sworn to uphold the law esquire, but maybe that’s just your initials…

the Emerald Coast, I will not see you again soon enough…

CH2

June 22nd, 2011
9:04 pm

My extended family just got back from a week long stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. My husband and I went up a few days earlier, to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. We called ourselves the “scout team”. A few days later, 16 other members of our extended family, including our daughter and my mother-in-law arrived. The youngest family member was 23 months old, the oldest member in their early 60’s. Several of the couples stayed in separate hotel rooms, and there were two large hotel suites, one for men/boys and one for the ladies/girls. The group of 16 were transported from the Buffalo/Niagara Airport by a private owned transportation bus, but my husband and I also had an 8 passenger car for errands to the grocery stores. All in all, it worked well, with plenty of activities and games for the kids. A daily itinerary was also helpful, although most folks and the teens/preteens did their own thing when they wanted to. All in all, the trip was great, besides a misplaced passport, and a soggy cast!

CH2

June 22nd, 2011
9:25 pm

P.S. The hotel we stayed in served a great breakfast, somewhat like those on the cruise ships, which was no extra cost, i.e. a super continental breakfast with made to order omelets, etc. All attractions were essentially within a mile walking distance. And, for me, there was a Starbucks and TGI Fridays in the hotel, and a nearby I-Hop and Applebees, along with multiple spots serving a $5.99/$6.99 breakfast buffet, or $16.99 dinner buffet, again, all within a 5 minute walk. Our big problem in the suites, …running out of bath towels during the day, due to the kids swimming in the hotels pool, or riding the Maid of the Mist near the actual falls. Some family members went to the Casino one night, and I sat and watched the Presidential Debate on TV while catching up on office work.We are a big loving family, and for the most part, we have a great time during these trips. On other trips in the past, with even more participants, people of all races have come up to us and said we had a “cool” family, and wished they could be part of our family That’s kinda cool for an African American family!! We are planning trips to Alaska and the Grand Canyon in upcoming years, trying to make sure the kids see the top 10 ten vacation spots that kids should see in America before they go off to college.

Julia

June 23rd, 2011
12:50 am

Yes Jeff, I got quite a giggle out of your comment too.. just dont take me on family vacations :)…

shaggy

June 23rd, 2011
6:55 am

Old Grump,

WOW! 1972 huh?…the equipment was much different then. Alpine climbing is much lighter now. Leading 5.7…I am impressed, even though you didn’t make it, it takes real courage to lead anything, much less something like The Grand…13770 feet of vertical madness. I was guided, by my much more experienced partner, up the Owen-Spalding route. They say that’s the easy way up. I say bull____! There ain’t no such thing as “easy” on the Grand. I have never been so scared or felt so alive in my entire life. Did you make the “Belly Roll”…4000 feet of exposure below that ledge?
I really miss going to The Tetons this year. That place calls me. My buddy is hoping to do Mt. Owen this year…the only Teton he doesn’t have under his belt, and the hardest of the hard. He has already tried Rockchuck peak this year, a nice little climb that took us 12 hours in waist high, rotten snow, in 2008. This year Rockchuck has chest/neck high, and yes, rotten snow. I was actually glad he didn’t make summit again. He would have if I had been there ;)
As far as age goes. I know a climber that didn’t start climbing until age 50. By age 60 he had done all of the fourteeners, and many in The Teton Range. He is 74 now, and is not even thinking of slowing down. I hope to have the same spirit and determination, when I get that old.

Stella

June 23rd, 2011
9:08 am

Big beach house, bedroom for each adult couple, kids get a bedroom if they’re lucky. Otherwise, they crash where ever. Each family picks a day to be responsible for feeding the crowd dinner…buy it, cook it, clean up after it. Or, chose to take everyone out to a restaurant, if you want to pick up the tab. Going out for dinner is tough. Everyone is not hungry at the same time, nor are they clean and ready at the same time. Everyone is on their own for breakfast and lunch, but somehow we have a few that fix breakfast for everyone happily.

Stick an umbrella or two in the ground, bring out the toys/boards/floats, keep them at relatively high tide area and let everyone come and go as they plese. We kind of treat the beach as the extended living room.

Don’t get fussed over TV shows. If that’s your “thing”, bring a personal TV to keep in your room. Don’t get fussed over meals. If you’re picky, bring your own stuff. If the kids are video game kids, please get them their own TV and keep it out of the living room.

Works for us and we’ve been doing it annually for the better part of 20 years.

motherjanegoose

June 23rd, 2011
10:11 am

CH@….love the hotels with breakfast. We alternate between a beach house and those hotels as it is nice to be able to go down and eat whenever you want with NO cooking or clean up.

We then eat a big breakfast….fruit or yogurt for lunch and and cook a big dinner or eat out.

I have found that if I leave $5 for the maid, I can get whatever towels/ coffee/ soaps I want. $10 would probably work for a group!

I must be the ultimate cheapskate….$14 per day times 4 in my house is $56 daily. I have NEVER spent nearly $400 for a week of food and necessary items here nor at the beach. Is that what most folks spend? I use coupons when I can and watch the sales and stock up. We eat pretty good too: steak, salmon, pork chops, fajitas, chicken etc. We do not eat 3 heavy meals per day. We stop at Costco, even when we went to Hawaii. We stayed in a condo there. That was the most crowded Costco I have ever been in. We bought their flat of muffins for a couple of days of breakfast with juice/coffee and then hubby decided he wanted to eat out. A Denney’s was about 2 blocks away and we could walk. I mentioned that it would be pricey. DENNEY’S? How bad could it be? UMMM… $75 for the four of us to eat breakfast with the tip. Makes having breakfast included in the hotel rate A BARGAIN!!!!

Truth

June 23rd, 2011
10:57 am

Definitely aim for separate condos and then meet on the beach or in someone’s condo for dinner as needed. Let everybody do their own thing and don’t try to control what others do/let them control what you do. Plans = stress.

If the in-laws are paying, you will probably feel obligated to go with the flow, for better or for worse.

This is a great example of why, when choosing a spouse, it is important to look at the family too.

esq122

June 23rd, 2011
1:27 pm

@DownFLAway – No – we always rent homes that are designed to and advertised to hold the correct number of people. We are not one of “those” groups that you refer to. The last house we rented had 10 bedrooms/10 bathrooms and a sleeping loft with multiple sets of bunkbeds.

new mom

June 23rd, 2011
4:27 pm

concerning the $100/person/day subject:

That amount would be way too high for our family, especially taking into account that someone would be having to go to the trouble of cooking it all! Now if that $100 included a dinner out a day, it might be reasonable, but cooking three meals a day is certainly not my idea of a vacation. And with a 3 and a half and 1 and a half year old, they would honestly not get their money’s worth. Now if we had two teenage boys, they could probably make up for the other folks who have little ones or babies!

(and I can’t imagine the idea of that much cash just sitting in a drawer, and that many people coming and going…sounds like a bad idea, in my opinion.)

Danimal

June 24th, 2011
12:23 pm

Terrific subject! I have taken several trips with my inlaws & in fact the best trip of my life was with my late wife’s 2 sisters & brother & their spouses. No kids however. The 8 of us rented a trawler out of St Thomas & spent 2 weeks traveling the Virgin Islands. Not as expensive as staying in a hotel & renting cars. Enough room for the kiddies too? Absolutely. If they like exploring, swimming, snorkeling, & stargazing. Each couple had their own cabin & some stayed behind on the boat when others might be taking the dinghy to explore shore. Wear matching t-shirts & ball caps in a distinctive color so that you can spot your group whenever in a town. Being your own captain is better than trying to escape those annoying people who want to be your “friends” on a cruise ship. The islands are all in sight & you really don’t need to know much about boat operation. No docking. Just pick up a mooring bouy & shut those engines off. Death defying rides of 30 minutes at 10mph in calm protected seas. You’re never far enough away from your rental/repair people than 45 minutes. Help is on the way & in the meantime, you’re in paradise!