Year Without Disney

Combining Family Trips

Are you looking to get out this summer and do something really fun with your family? If you’re anything like me, it can be really difficult to find something new and affordable that the kids will want to do. Even further, if you’re trying to plan something totally new that you haven’t done before, it can be extremely difficult to spend any free time that you may luckily have on researching travel plans, accommodation, activities, etc.

I have very recently made a discovery that has helped with a lot of these issues, and that discovery is the potential for success in planning a trip or activity that involves multiple families. I should probably back up first and state that I’ma ware this is something that in itself can be stressful, but to use this strategy once or twice a year can lead to some amazing times and important memories with your family. Here is a list of pros and cons about organizing outings with other families.

Pros

  1. Your kids will get to play with existing friends, or if they haven’t met the other children, they can socialize and make new friends!
  2. While you love your family, sometimes a little relaxation with other adults can be necessary. If you go somewhere where you can keep an eye on the kids from afar, or depending on their age allow them to go have some fun somewhere else for a bit, having a moment to kick up your feet and enjoy a drink with the other parents can be very relieving.
  3. You can take advantage of new services like Air BnB to find comfortable and affordable accommodations for any size of group.
  4. Splitting the planning work across families can make a daunting task almost easier than a normal family vacation.
  5. You can brainstorm with other families and potential go do something that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

Cons

  1. Everybody, adults and children alike, all have some sort of needs that they are required to tend to in their daily lives or when on a trip. Whether it’s a medical condition, requirements to be connected to work still, allergies, etc, finding something that works for everyone can be tricky depending on the group.
  2. Interests can be different, which is good or bad. For example, I recently took short hiking trip with another family. The parents considered themselves overweight and they did have quite a few problems with their knees. However, simply being forced to decline the invitation pushed them to create a lifestyle change, as they didn’t want to miss out on these sorts of activities, especially for their kids. They gradually incorporated exercises into their daily lives, and with the support of some plus size knee braces, they were able to ease their way into hiking as well, and now they are one of the most active families I know! One thing the fellow mentioned is that he was initially embarrassed to seek out a knee brace for hiking because he thought they were restricted to athletes and highly active individuals, but he was surprised to learn that XXXL is one of the most common sizes for knee braces, so if you’re a larger individual looking to get active, don’t be afraid to seek out advice and potential fittings for larger knee braces!
  3. If you haven’t spent much time with the other families you are planning with, it can be a bit of a gamble. If they have highly annoying habits, then your long weekend could be made even longer. On the other hand, maybe you’ll find that you really enjoy their company and everyone hits it off great. Only one way to find out!

That’s About It!

There isn’t much else to it! If I can give one more piece of advice, try not to force a combined family outing. Let these develop naturally when you are talking with other parents, and once you feel good about the people around you, casually pitch the idea. Some people get intimidated by many formal plans that appear out of the blue, so a simple “do you guys think this would be fun?” might be even more effective. In any case, you know best, especially when it comes to your family, so just keep this in mind as a potential option and you’re already well-equipped with some new ideas for fun times!