Do you travel with other families? While I usually like to use our vacation as a time to getaway and reconnect just with my family of five, at least once or twice a year, we join up with another family or two to vacation together. And there are lots of benefits! This summer we headed to Telluride, Colorado with two other families – thirteen people in total! Here are a few of the ways we saved money, time, and stress by traveling as a group.
Disclosure: VRBO covered part of our stay. Opinion expressed are our own.
Stay Big – For a Small Price
Since we had a total of six adults and seven kids, staying in separate hotel rooms would have been expensive and cut down on the time we got to spend together. Instead we opted to rent through Vacation Rental By Owner, VRBO
While we looked at a number of houses and condos in the Telluride area, we ultimately ended up booking a four bedroom/four bathroom condo at the Bear Creek Lodge in Mountain Village through VRBO. Since we were splitting the cost between three different families, we were able to afford a big gorgeous condo that had enough rooms, bathrooms and common space to accommodate us all – without leaving us feeling like we were stepping on each other’s toes.
Feed A Crowd For Cheap
Food costs can easily add up when our family travels, so I love when we have the option to prepare meals at home – another benefit of renting a place that has a kitchen and cooking necessities. Instead of trying to get 13 people out the door every morning, we opted for easy DIY cereal and fruit.
While cooking for 13 might seem a bit daunting to some, it’s actually not that much more than cooking for a family of five. Think about it – whether you’re making burgers or spaghetti, cooking for a group just involves adding a bit more of the same stuff you’re already making – opening another jar of sauce, another bag of buns. Plus you are more likely to actually use that whole bag of noodles or that entire bottle of ketchup instead of having half a bottle left over. Another benefit? When you cook for a group, that also means you have more hands to help with shopping, meal prep, dishes and kid wrangling.
Our summer trip usually involves 2-3 weeks on the road in our VW Westfalia camper van – which means that my three boys spend a LOT of time together in close quarters. In general, they do very well, but when we travel with or meet up with other families, it gives my boys a chance to mix it up, spent time with other friends, sometimes even do part of the trip in someone else’s car!
Plus, there’s nothing like a positive peer pressure to encourage someone to try out mountain biking or another new activity for the first time!
If we had been staying in a hotel on our trip, our boys would have woken up and started talking in bed, likely waking us up, and then begging to watch cartoons. Instead, at our VRBO rental, when the adults sauntered down from their individual rooms, we found the kids cuddled on the couch reading or playing board games – another benefit of renting a home that is stocked with activities for kids.
And it goes without saying that if you travel with kids who can count as babysitters for younger kids, the adults can all get a night out! Woohoo!
Divide & Conquer
Whether it’s grocery shopping, watching the kids, or planning the next activity, when you travel with other families, you can divide up the work of a vacation to make life easier for everyone.
Like when one parent offers to take all the kids down to the condo pool. Or another offers to plan and cook an early dinner for the kids. If everyone does something, no one has to do everything.
Finding families that you can travel with easily is not always easy. You need to find families with kids and adults who get along, families that have similar travel goals (relaxer? go-getter?), and personalities that can work together over many days or in small spaces. But once you DO find those families, you can experience all the benefits of family travel with other families.
Kate Bayless is a travel lover and freelance writer based in Southern California who loves exploring everywhere from remote BLM campsites to luxury beach resorts to international destinations with her husband and three sons. Follow her adventures on Twitter, Instagram or Contently.