Vacation Planning for the larger family

  The leaves have already changed decorating our neighborhood with brilliant reds, bright oranges and beautiful shades of yellows.
Earlier last week I began packing away all of the kids summer clothes and have started to dig out everything we will need for fall.  As we wait for the bus each morning I am reminded with the crispness in the air that it won’t be long now before I am going to have to pull out the winter hats and mittens to keep the little ones warmer at the bus while we wait.
We are days away from Thanksgiving and already my thoughts have turned to the cold and snow.
We decided months ago that we would do something different this year and we would go away for a winter vacation when the weather takes a nasty turn here. 
We thought about Mexico or the Dominican.
Somewhere warm and near a beach.
When your land locked like we are vacation planning usually includes tropical weather and drinks with umbrellas and meals that are exotic enought that even though your not sure what it is you will try it anywhere.
So honestly that’s along the lines of what I was thinking we would be doing.
Have you ever noticed that Vacation planning has this uncanny way of taking on a life of its own.
Daydreaming turns into hours scouring the internet looking and dreaming and planning.
Big daddy and I went on our first cruise in ’09 to Hawaii.
You can see the cruise ship we were on pictured above.
I fell in love with the ocean.
Watching the dolphins play in the wake behind the boat.
The harbor seals watching the boats as we pull into port.
The smell of the fresh ocean air, the sun on my face.  
Watching the stars at night plus the gentle rocking of the boat as we drifted off to sleep at night. 
I would go for another cruise again in a heartbeat but that’s not the trip we have in mind this time.
Vacationing is so relaxing right?
So, why can vacation planning be so challenging?
If it were just the two of us I could do most of the booking by myself without the help,of a Travel agent.
Point and click!
Bada bing bada bang bada boom!
But when you have a large family that’s where it gets tricky.
By large I mean 2 parents and 4 children.
Three children they are anticipating but four {gasp!} and suddenly you have too many people per room and that just won’t do!
You could split up your family but then you will be charged for two rooms and then somehow your 8 year old becomes an adult over night and your charged full fees.
Seriously the big hotel,chains would rather rent out a room to two,adults and one child then one adult and one child.
Plus the rooms might not be beside each other either.
The family suites aren’t “big enough” to accommodate even though two children could happily share a bed and not have a single issue.
I tried on my own for days and either the package I look at was ridiculously overpriced or because of our family size unobtainable.
We could rent a condo but when you add in flights and meals it was frustrating to say the least!
 It was looking like our winter trip wasn’t going to happen this year until we changed our focus.  There is a place a little closer to home that will have almost all of what we are seeking.  
Sun, sand and surf plus the sticker shock isn’t as drastic.
So, where are we going?
We have booked our vacation to the sunny shores of California and will be spending 6 nights in Anaheim.
We have already set a date with the mouse. 
It’s a huge family secret and we wouldn’t have been able to book this trip without the help of our air miles travel agent.

Not only did using our air miles save us almost 3k but all the stress I was feeling lifted and now we can enjoy our upcoming vacation!

By using a travel agent We snagged a 3 day park hopper passes plus three character meals. We have transfers from the airport to the hotel so we don’t have to rent a car at the airport.
Talk about savings!

This trip is huge for us.

Tons of “firsts” for the monkeys.
First air plane ride. 
First time leaving the country.
First time seeing palm trees and the ocean.

When we leave here there will more than likely be snow on the ground and I for one am looking forward to feeling the sun.
We have kept this entire vacation under wraps so the kids are in the dark.

Now the only thing I have left to do is pack. 
Without the kids finding out.

Having a large family can make vacation planning harder but not impossible.  
Now to figure out how to keep costs down while we are Gone.

Have you struggled in the past with vacation planning?

What’s your best money saving vacation tip?

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