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Challenges of Vacationing With a Large Family in Europe, and More!

  1. Idiots Abroad: Taking Small Kids on a Whirlwind Tour of Europe
  2. I Flew Ryanair and I loved it!
  3. Challenges of Vacationing With a Large Family in Europe, and More!
  4. German Castles, Ausfahrt Jokes and the Sound of Music
  5. Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Pizza Galore
  6. The Long Way Home to Belarus… Literally
  7. Searching for Bono and Licking Donuts in Ireland

When I first decided to give blogging  a shot, my plan was to never use photos of my family. When I added credit card affiliate links, it became even   more of  a no-brainer. I think “mom” bloggers who do it for profit (like me) are in a precarious situation. I would be shocked if this isn’t a tricky area for most of us. After all, you don’t want the post to come across as: “Hey, look at my cute kid! Now, go ahead and click  my affiliate link.”

As time went on, it became clear that it’s hard to write about my family  without actually showing the family. It’s kind of a package deal. I told my husband about this dilemma and gave him an option to veto family (specifically kids’) photos in the blog. He didn’t. So, I started to include them here and there, obviously, where the content calls for it. I’ll be honest, it still feels a bit weird, but I made my peace with it.

There is another corny reason I include the photos: I like to show off my kids! Yes, I said it. I’m a mom and obviously, I think my children are the best-looking creatures on the planet. Don’t try to convince me otherwise. Also, it’s quite convenient since my family in Belarus can just look at the post when I have a trip report ready. This site is really more of a personal creative outlet than a business blog.

Anyway, the post isn’t actually about that. It’s  about our recent family trip to Europe, and some challenges we encountered along the way. As you probably know by now, there were 9 of us, which made for 9 distinct personalities and unique ways of thinking. I was debating on whether to include this video (see my reasons above), but my brother-in-law has done such a good job of putting it all together. It starts in Madeira, continues in Germany and ends in Italy. I do look frumpy and dumpy, and at the end of the video even wipe my nose! Seriously, why did he have to include that part? What a jerkus maximus.

But what the hey! Here is the condensed version (only 4 minutes long)  of our trip on You Tube

Looks nice, doesn’t it? Now, here is what really happened. There were countless meltdowns (from adults and kids), arguments over sightseeing plans, and some saying they will never vacation with this many people again. I was one of them. And yet, we are all going to Alaska next year. Why? Because we are family. We love each other and most of the time, we like being together. Emphasis on “most.”

That said, it definitely requires work and willingness to put aside your own preferences for the sake of the common good. I admit, I’m not the best example in this respect. I have very strong ideas and logical way of thinking. But sometimes, you just have to shove logic aside and go with the flow. If you are like me, and contemplating doing a similar trip, I suggest you have a little talk with yourself. It goes something like this: If I see something that doesn’t make sense, I will make a suggestion ONCE, and then I will let it go. When my advice is disregarded and things don’t work out perfectly (just like I said they wouldn’t), I will not make a big deal about it.

Honestly, is it worth spoiling a (relatively) good time for 9 individuals just to make a point? Is that really logical? Vacationing with other people can be challenging, especially if there is jet leg involved. When I don’t get sleep, I turn into a passive-agressive monster. I’m sure I’m not alone.

Money, money, money

Of course, there is also a subject of money. I think this can get out of hand easily if you let it. When you have several families staying in the same place, you will most likely have to buy lots of groceries. Obviously, the expense can add up, especially if it falls on the same individual for one reason or another. That individual might be you. How should you ask others to contribute if no one is volunteering? What if some have a lot less money than you do, and they know it?

Also, you may be eating out in a restaurant and the server brings only one check and gives it…to you. Others say they will pay you back later, but then everyone is busy sightseeing and  the payback never materializes. Did they forget? Should you give them a gentle reminder?

My suggestion for you is to wait till you get home and then approach this subject. Or not. Consider letting it go, that is if you can afford the extra bill. Whatever you do, don’t make a big fuss about it while you are on vacation. It’s not worth it to ruin everyone’s trip over money. Yes, you may get shafted as far as expenses go, but try not to let it spoil your memories. Money can be replaced, family can not. Don’t attribute bad motives because it’s very possible your relatives intended to pay you back and just forgot.

That’s not what happened in our case (please, read comments), I’m just pointing out some potential issues to watch out for and ways to work around  them. Also, see my post Trading Miles and Points With Family and Friends

Overall, this was an incredible trip, and I have zero regrets. Still, keep in mind, what you saw is an edited version. In real life, there will be no cheerful  music playing in the background, and people won’t always be smiling. Still, I admit,  I kind of like the edited version. This is how I want to remember our 9-people Grand Tour of Europe.

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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13 thoughts on “Challenges of Vacationing With a Large Family in Europe, and More!

  1. Wow, I love the video! The scenery looks spectacular–I hope you will post more photos from your trip!

    My thoughts on traveling with extended family on vacations: I hope to never do it again! LOL And I’m going to post under a different name here to ensure that I don’t offend any of my family members in case they read your blog.

    Our first several family vacations were always with extended family and they became just too frustrating for me. We shared a condo in Orlando (10 of us) but my kids were on a different sleep schedule from everyone else, which made things difficult. Some family members are good about splitting costs, but one of our relatives never offers to chip in for condo or car rental costs even though she is much wealthier than we are. I always get stuck paying for my nieces and we have never been reciprocated. And my husband and I don’t get even a minute to ourselves.

    I put so much heart, soul and research into our vacations that I really just want to enjoy them with my husband and kids. So now I try not to mention our trips until we are just a short time away from leaving so that nobody invites themselves to go along. We still make 4-5 trips per year to visit our family, and I much prefer seeing them in shorter doses without a touring itinerary. (Am I terrible for admitting all this?!?!)

  2. The internet just ate my really long comment! So I guess I’ll condense this one.

    I loved your video! The scenery looks spectacular!

    I don’t enjoy vacationing with extended family and hope we never do it again. We make 4-5 trips per year to see family, and I much prefer seeing them for a short “trip” than going anywhere on vacation with them.

    • @Travel Chick Sorry about the comment, it had to be approved in my WordPress account. My apologies! I totally hear what you are saying. It is definitely a challenge vacationing with a big family, especially if you have many kids involved. Honestly, I would not want to do it unless we stayed in separate rooms in a hotel. Sharing one condo can get crazy when you have several over-excited children.
      I can’t believe your relative didn’t offer to chip in even though she is in a better financial shape! That is ridiculous and would annoy me as well. I don’t think you are terrible at all for feeling the way you do. Trips take a lot of money and planning, and you want to enjoy them. That was actually the gist of one of my meltdowns in Europe: “I paid a lot of money for us to come here, I don’t want to deal with all of this crap! I’m getting a hotel etc.” Now it seems funny, but at the time, I wasn’t laughing at all. It can get dicey when you involve so many personalities.
      Oh, and I do plan to do more detailed reports when I’m not so lazy! 🙂

      • @Travel Chick I hear you! I don’t for see myself going on trips with some of the extended family either. A few of my cousins are well-off, but whenever we eat out together as a big group, they would never pick up the tab. My two very generous (but less well-off) aunts (not the parent of the cousins) or my family would end up taking turns to pick up the tab . My cousins’ money would go towards their designer brand purses which they took along to our meals. They are still family and can’t avoid them altogether.

  3. I hope you and your husband are not the ones paying for most of the grocery/meal, but you probably are since you are the most generous. I have never vacationed with this many people. The last weekend trip I went with my family, my sisters and I (all out of school and working) take turns to pay for meals and activities. Our parents went too, and we thought it’s only right that they don’t need to pay. I think that works perfectly. With family, we don’t always divide up the bills equally. As long as the burden is not mostly on one person it’s all good. I can’t imagine picking up most of the bills at a big trip like Europe! If you haven’t already, you really need to ask them to pay for something at your Alaska trip. They can’t get too used to you paying for most of the spend!

    • @Katye I think, unfortunately, I conveyed the wrong message with my post. For the most part, we took turns with my MIL and my husband’s sister when it came to paying bills. My brother-in-law is poor, so we didn’t actually ask him to contribute. He can’t at the moment. I feel bad because I should have made it more clear. I’m afraid it came off as a rant, unfortunately. Actually, my sister-in-law is the generous one in the family, not me! I simply helped her with some dormant miles for Alaska trip, so she wouldn’t have to pay for flights.
      I was mostly trying to point out some potential issues and ways to work around them. We did OK (I think) as far as splitting expenses is concerned, but I believe things could have gone south in that department if we let them to. So, I was hoping to encourage readers to not let that issue get out of control. Things can get tricky when you involve money and family.
      I’m really glad you got to spend weekend with your family. That must have been fun! You are absolutely right, it’s not fair for one person to pick up the tab.

      • Got you! My misunderstanding. Now I realize that your family may be reading this blog too so I should apologize if my previous comment offended anyone. Looks like you have got yourself a great family there!

    • @Katye No need to apologize! It was my fault for not making the post more clear. Believe me, I’m not saying that everything went 100% smoothly in that department. Like I said, money and family can be a disastrous mix.

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