General Interest

My Big Fat Family Vacation – Holiday with a Large Family

Family Holidays

A holiday is meant to be a time of fun and relaxation. But, it does take planning and preparation. Sometimes, with a holiday with a large family in tow, it can become a little overwhelming to undertake all the preparation required. It is not uncommon for families to avoid holidays altogether just to escape the logistics of planning one for so many different family members. Don’t despair. Where there is a will, there are many different ways to ensure that you and your family get to enjoy a relaxing time together, no matter how many members make up your clan.

A large family can mean that you, as a couple, have many children of various ages. Or, it may be the case that your family includes grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and so on. This is especially true in South Africa, in which it is common for extended families to continue living and vacationing together.

Accommodation is often the biggest challenge when planning a holiday for a large group of people. Hotels, lodges and guesthouses will work out to be very costly, and are often limited in terms of the space available. Camping is a great option as it is far cheaper, allows the family to stay within close proximity to one another and is perceived as a huge adventure to little ones. South Africa has a number of stunning camping facilities along the coast and inland (such as in the Drakensberg Mountain Range, the Cedarberg or the Baviaanskloof). If roughing it does not appeal to you, but the convenience and fun of camping does, try the new fad, “glamping” (glamorous camping). Although the offering varies from one place to another, this usually means that the permanent tent is sheltered, beds and luxurious linen are provided and there is electricity and hot water available.

Backpackers (and the more upmarket version, “flashpackers”) are also fabulous options for large families. These provide a communal kitchen and bathroom, safe parking, social centres (such as lounges) and the comforts of home. They are usually quite affordable, and provide the opportunity to meet travellers from all over the world.

Another option is to hire an entire house with multiple bedrooms. This may be costly, but splitting the bill amongst you should work out to a much smaller end amount (depending on the profile of your family, of course).

Here are some more tips to planning a Holiday with a Large Family:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  • Elect one person to be in charge of the arrangements so that everything is orderly. Choose someone that will take everyone’s needs and desires into account and who is, generally, a well-organised person and a good communicator.
  • Ask every member of the family what they would like to do on the holiday, including even the very young ones. Try your hardest to incorporate something for everyone based on their wish list. This gives everyone an opportunity to feel like the holiday was for them.
  • Commit to bookings early to benefit from discounts and special deals.
  • Do as much planning online as possible and keep proof of all bookings and transactions.
  • Plan activities, but do not be pedantic about how every minute of every day will be spent. Allow space for flexibility. It is usually the spontaneous activities that are the most fun.
  • Agree on financial issues right from the outset and stick to what was decided.
  • If there are children in your holiday party, the outdoors is always the safest choice. Beaches, mountains, forests and bush are sure winners.

Most of all… Have Fun!