Three tips to keep your sanity on a multi-family Vacation

two girl s walking on the beach side
Photo by Amber Morse on

There’s nothing like family time at the beach for unwinding and connecting with your children, grandchildren, siblings, or the entire extended family.   The long summer days with no schedule except to bask in the sun while watching the kids play in the waves at the ocean or swim in the pool make for lots of relaxing time and long, interesting conversations.    Yet several families under one roof for a week can prove stressful no matter how much you love each other if you’re not careful to plan properly and avoid surprises.

We have been taking family vacations to the beach or the mountains for years with our children and grandchildren and it’s always one of my favorite times of the year.  In our busy lives where everyone is working hard on their careers and raising their family, it’s a blast to get together for a time of relaxation and just enjoying each other.  Here are some simple tips that have worked wonderfully for us to make these vacations low stress and high fun.

Allow for privacy

Each married couple gets their own bedroom.  It can get crazy and loud with 10-20 or more people talking, children running around, etc. Having a private place where one can retreat to at night or during times when you just need to chill is a must.  Kids can sleep anywhere, but adults need their on space and a comfortable bed.  We usually get a house or condo with enough bedrooms and baths for each couple.  Private space is more important than luxury here.

Plan your meals

Have a plan for your meals before you go.  The best way to create hard feelings is for Mom, Grandma, or Aunt Susie to be stuck in the kitchen cooking every night or one family ending up footing the bill for most of the food.

There are five adult couples in our family.  Usually breakfast  and lunch are on our own and then we have dinner together.  Each couple takes one dinner for which they are responsible for planning, purchasing, cooking and cleaning up.  While it can be a big project for some to cook for that many people, it’s only one night and the other four nights you get to enjoy someone else’s food.  And  there are always some that offer to chip in and help with tasks or cleanup.

Two nights we usually eat out. This plan has always worked well for us, but every family is different Some like to go out to eat every night, however, we found that gets stressful because there are so many of us and the wait for a table can be extremely long.  Breaking into smaller groups on eating out nights is more manageable and enjoyable.  Create a meal plan that works for you.   The main thing is to have a plan before you go.

Talk about the money

Set clear expectations on who pays for what before you go.   For years my husband and I paid for the condo and even a lot of the food for the vacation and we loved doing that.  Now that the family is much bigger it’s getting harder to do that.  A condo or house for a week can cost $7,000 to $10,000 or more for large families.   The secret to happiness here is to ageee on how much each family pays before you book.

Other things to consider are incidentals and entertainment. In our family each pays for their own entertainment.

Strong family ties are important for the health and wellbeing of everyone.   Studies show that people who are close to their families are healthier and even live longer.  So get together often  even if it’s just a picnic in the park.  Family time is always time well spent.

”Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love in honor, giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:10

two women with man hugging by the sea


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