We like to travel as much as possible. This summer, we’re tagging along on several of my husband’s work trips around British Columbia (and we can’t wait!). So I wanted to share some travel hacks for families of 5.
Traveling with a family of five though is no joke. Hotels, packing, gear, vehicles, it’s all more challenging than with a smaller family.
We have often faced challenges specifically because we’re a family of five. Hotel room restrictions, costs and even just space for all our stuff in the car!
So here are some travel hacks for families of 5!
When I book a quick getaway, I always use HOTELS.COM on Groupon. I always check if the hotels I’m looking for offer suites versus a larger room allowing a rollaway / cot bed. If I can only find a room for four in our budget, I book it and bring along our single mattress (more on that below).
If we are talking about a longer holiday, I am way pickier about accommodations than if it’s just a weekend or one-nighter.
Many of my friends on Facebook mentioned that timeshares and short-stay home rentals provide a bigger bang for your buck with traveling with a big family and swear by those accommodations because of the added convenience of having a kitchen and laundry access.
TRAVEL BEFORE YOUR YOUNGEST TURNS 3
Flights are free for two years and under, and most hotels won’t count that third child until they’re three! (Plus if you’re doing Disney, parks are free for 3 and under!)
USE PACKING CUBES
I have never done this, but a recommendation from one of my travel expert friends, Renee (Renee Tsang Travel), uses packing cubes colour-coded by family member to fit more in LESS luggage pieces! Genius!
Amazon carries a whole bunch of different sizes!
DO LAUNDRY HALF-WAY THROUGH YOUR TRIP
Try to book accommodations that offer laundry service. Timeshares and home or condo rentals often include access to a laundry room. Doing laundry means you can all pack half as much stuff which can be a huge space and time saver with such a huge family.
USE AN AIRLINE POINTS CREDIT CARD
Several people have sworn by the WestJet credit card where you can earn free flights and also earns companion fares annually. I will be checking this out!
PACK AN EXTRA BED
When we do a road trip or are in hotels for just a short trip, we always book for four and bring our own fold-up single mattress. A Facebook friend of mine likes the bring-your-own-bed from Canadian Tire.
FLY OUT OF A U.S. AIRPORT
We often fly out of Bellingham, Washington as it’s less expensive to fly on US airlines than Canadian ones, for the most part. If you live close enough to a US airport, be sure to compare prices for your flights. Amy (Click The Mouse Travel) recommends Southwest Airlines because you don’t pay for baggage and get 2 allowed per person!
PRE-PACK OUTFITS BY CHILD
When my girls were younger, I would package individual outfits in large clear sealed plastic bags and write their names on the bags. They could then dress themselves easily and quickly and the luggage would not get overly messy. My friend who is a single mom of four young children also offered this same tip to
survive enjoy traveling with them on her own!
Travel is an amazing way to stay connected as a family. Keep traveling, families of 5!
*Sponsored by Groupon.