Traveling with a Large Family

Written by: Lifestyle Network/Thursday, Aug 06, 2015 09:08 AM

We know how overwhelming it can be to plan a trip – from booking flight tickets to hotels to setting an itinerary. What more if it’s for a large group, like say, your family?

Angel Katigbak-De Guzman, mother of ten children (yes, that’s right – ten!), shares her experiences on traveling with a huge family, the challenges she undergoes, and what she loves most about it.


Planning is key.

Travelling as a family for us is a “major production.” Since we are all in different ages, there’s usually the conflict of the itinerary (which is usually pre-planned); but then gets changed when we are at the destination itself. To pick out a place to eat alone is already a challenge; each one would have preferences. 

For the first few years we travelled, I would be the one to plan everything. Now that I have older kids, they help out a lot.  And the good part is, they really research everything – budget, where to eat, how long we could be in a particular site, how to go around, where we will stay. As to destination; this is usually determined by voting, or we decide what is sulit for everyone. When we went to Japan, everyone’s interests were accommodated: theme parks, shopping, and of course, the food!


Be conscious of costs.

Any difference in price of, let us say, $5 would translate to $5 x 12 – that’s $60!  We always make a budget before we take the trip. For hotels, we always see to it that is near a public transportation system (mostly train). It’s a good thing there is AirBnB, which offers apartments that could fit us all. Since it is an apartment, we are able to save on taking breakfast (or sometimes dinner) in a restaurant. And since it is furnished, we can just buy food from the grocery and prepare the meals ourselves at minimal cost. And the cost of the apartment usually is half than that of a hotel (considering there’s 12 of us).


Lay down some ground rules.

We have rules: once you get lost from the group, stay put. When the group realizes you are lost, we will backtrack where we have been and will be able to find the lost one. Another rule is if we ride the train, and the group would go down and you are left behind, you’re supposed to go down on the next stop and wait until someone picks you up. 



Have “briefing” sessions throughout the trip.

Before we leave the hotel, we usually have a briefing. We explain to everyone where we are going, what station we are to take, which stop we will be taking. We also need to divide ourselves among different doors for trains because if we all line up in one door; chances are the one on the end would not be able to enter the train (this happened in Hong Kong!).


Establish a buddy system.

When we travel, we take the public transportation, usually trains. So once we leave the house, a buddy system is established – the older kids partner with the younger ones. When we went to Japan last December, we had a buddy system for the room accommodations, and a different buddy system for moving around. Then there’s the taxi buddy system: we need to divide the group in such a way that there are only four people in a taxi and in each group, there’s someone responsible, someone who can handle the situation when something goes wrong


Follow the leader.

There should only be one who will lead the group. Kahit naging palpak yung plano, walang sisihan. (Even if the plan fails, you can’t pin the blame on anyone). There can be an opposition, but always one conclusion or resolution. Also, assign roles to those who can help. 


Most importantly, have fun!

The best part of it is the memories it builds among us. Most of the family conversations we have would oftentimes refer to a time or a situation in our travel. I am grateful for the fact that my children are already taking on a lot of responsibilities for the family – especially when we travel together. I really feel that when we travel, our team work makes our “major production” a success.
What are your tips and advice for traveling with a family? Share it with us on the comments below!

Angel Katigbak-de Guzman is a businesswoman based in Manila, Philippines. She is no stranger to large families; she is the tenth child of a family of 11, and the mother of 10.

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