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Road trip with largish family


rjand6more
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I am stressed out even thinking about it. :)  About 2 weeks, 5 kids-ages at the trip-15,12,10,6,4.

 

We have been to Disney many times and love it.  I love that I don't have to rent a van and drag around carseats, etc.

 

We would like to travel and see some sights this year.  I would LOVE to just pay airfare and get picked up etc.  But, I know this is different.  Airfare where we want to go(Boston, DC, Toronto) is reasonable.  But,we would then need to rent a van, carseats...For a week, this could be $800-$1000 +gas.  And we would miss out on some stops.

 

It's difficult to find lodging for our family.  Not every hotel will be able to accommodate us.  At one vacation, I went into 3 hotels before I found one.  I know we can plan ahead, but on a super long road trip(2 weeks), I'm not sure how to do that.  When the 4 year old is done.  He is DONE.  We need to be somewhat flexible so we all are not miserable.

 

Our very rough plan:

 

Chicago to DC( a stop somewhere in between for a day)

DC for 2 days

Philadelphia for 1-2 days

NYC(one dd DREAMS of living here) for 1-2 days

Boston for 3 days

Maybe Montreal(many hours out of the way... but I would LOVE to go!)

Toronto 2 days-Niagara Falls

Head back to Chicago(some short stops along the way)

 

I KNOW it is hard to see any of these places in just a short time.  I just don't know how many times we will do a road trip.  

 

Those of you who do road trips...Does this sound reasonable?

Those of you who can chime in with larger families-How do you do road trips?

 

Thanks in advance. :)

 

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I do reserve hotels in advance, even if it is just the day before. I get stressed if I don't have a planned stopping place. Homewood Suites is a favorite because they serve dinner (free) on week nights.

 

I'd keep electronics (videos/games) and special snacks in reserve for when the 4 year old starts breaking down.

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Can you spend enough nights (usually 3) at one of the major cities to get an AirBnB or VRBO place? Then you have a base of sorts for that part of the trip, you could do laundry, get a break from the car, and maybe prep and/or cook some food.

 

When we drove through NYC last summer dh used SpotHero to find a parking place for the duration of our stay. It took a little investigating to find a garage that would accept our minivan. This eliminated the stress I'd trying to find on-street parking.

 

On long trips we often use Google maps on our phones to find and call hotels ahead on our route once we start driving after lunch. By then we have a good idea of how far we will be able to get, but we also have some flexibility if hotels are fill at our preferred stop.

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When we travel, we get two hotel rooms, preferably with a connecting door. IWe wouldn't vacation if we were crammed in one room because we would be miserable.

 

I love road trips with my clan. I try to find interesting, off-the-beaten path type of things to do along the way.

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I tried checking out some hotels on this site(I was so excited about it!) But, many(most) of the ones I tried would not let me book the last kid. So, 6 was fine. 7 was a no go.

Yeah, 7 is impossible. Two rooms are a must. Seven people (most of which are adult or near-adult size) in one room is not a pleasant time for us.

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I do reserve hotels in advance, even if it is just the day before. I get stressed if I don't have a planned stopping place. Homewood Suites is a favorite because they serve dinner (free) on week nights.

 

I'd keep electronics (videos/games) and special snacks in reserve for when the 4 year old starts breaking down.

 

We have stayed at Country inn and Suites.  Very nice.  I guess we can just plan on the same hotel at various cities.

 

I wish electronics would distract this little one!  He has the sweetest disposition, but when he wants out of that seat...he fights for all he's worth. :)

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When we travel, we get two hotel rooms, preferably with a connecting door. IWe wouldn't vacation if we were crammed in one room because we would be miserable.

 

I love road trips with my clan. I try to find interesting, off-the-beaten path type of things to do along the way.

 

We usually do , too.  But it makes it difficult to find connecting rooms without calling or stopping in.  IME hotels don't get that you would have that many people who are under age and only 2 adults. :laugh: I like to book online if I can.  Wish it were easier.  And I don't mind spending money on a destination hotel.  but, it hurts to spend a ton on a quick night's sleep...

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Can you spend enough nights (usually 3) at one of the major cities to get an AirBnB or VRBO place? Then you have a base of sorts for that part of the trip, you could do laundry, get a break from the car, and maybe prep and/or cook some food.

 

When we drove through NYC last summer dh used SpotHero to find a parking place for the duration of our stay. It took a little investigating to find a garage that would accept our minivan. This eliminated the stress I'd trying to find on-street parking.

 

On long trips we often use Google maps on our phones to find and call hotels ahead on our route once we start driving after lunch. By then we have a good idea of how far we will be able to get, but we also have some flexibility if hotels are fill at our preferred stop.

 

This is what we would like to do in Boston.  Boston is my priority.  The other places are on to do list, too though.

 

Parking always stresses me out in cities.  That's one reason why I only want to stay in NYC for a day or so.  We visit Chicago often, my dd would just LOVE to see NYC.  No idea what we will do there! lol  Shops and city walking are something that is not new to us.  I would love to go to Ellis Island.  Is that a day?

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When are you going?  En route from DC to Philadelphia, I'd recommend stops in PA, either Gettysburg or Lancaster, because there are things that will likely appeal to the littler ones (mine think cannons are cool).  If you're coming when it's nice, there are some very nice campgrounds in that area that should work nicely with kids (some with cabins, although I don't know about how many people they can hold); PM me if you'd like specifics.  

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I have six kids and often I do road trips without dh because he's not into national parks and traveling the way I am. KOA cabins sometimes accommodate 8. If we are traveling as a family, we usually get two hotel rooms and each take three kids. If it's just me with kids, I look for six-person suites (my oldest opts to stay home with my husband).

 

Exactly one time we stayed in a hotel with two-room suite that accommodated eight people. It's extremely rare to find a hotel that books more than six to a room/suite. I frequently book an apartment through a vacation rental site because having a kitchen and living area is much better than just a hotel room with beds and a microwave.

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When are you going?  En route from DC to Philadelphia, I'd recommend stops in PA, either Gettysburg or Lancaster, because there are things that will likely appeal to the littler ones (mine think cannons are cool).  If you're coming when it's nice, there are some very nice campgrounds in that area that should work nicely with kids (some with cabins, although I don't know about how many people they can hold); PM me if you'd like specifics.  

 

It looks like we have many of the same ages.:)  

 

We have not been to Gettysburg.  We went to Williamsburg a few years ago.  It is exactly the kind of trip we like!  Don't know why i didn't think of that.  Thank you!

 

We are planning on the fall.  We have to get passports.  We were planning on it anyway.  My nephew lives in San Diego.  So we want to visit him in a year or so and take a trip into Mexico.

 

Cabins sound great!  I think it would be too much to pack camping equipment.  But, we do like state parks, so that is an option!

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We pre-plan hotels; we get connecting rooms or a suite if we're just staying the night, and then it doesn't matter much if they're not connecting b/c it's just get there, shower, sleep, wake up, go.  

 

For places we're going to stay for a couple of days we do VRBO if at all possible.

 

I know I will have to pre plan.  And I AM a planner!  But, a long trip with so many stops and variables worries me.  We rented from VRBO for our Williamsburg trip.  It was so great.  Unfortunately you usually are expected to stay a few days and this trip will be a lot of moving from place to place.

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I have six kids and often I do road trips without dh because he's not into national parks and traveling the way I am. KOA cabins sometimes accommodate 8. If we are traveling as a family, we usually get two hotel rooms and each take three kids. If it's just me with kids, I look for six-person suites (my oldest opts to stay home with my husband).

 

Exactly one time we stayed in a hotel with two-room suite that accommodated eight people. It's extremely rare to find a hotel that books more than six to a room/suite. I frequently book an apartment through a vacation rental site because having a kitchen and living area is much better than just a hotel room with beds and a microwave.

 

Can you just plan it for me???  Please???? :laugh:

 

It sounds like you are good at this.   Taking all the kids to the destinations=no big deal.  Finding places to stay,restaurants on the road, stopping enough to keep everyone in check=stressful

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It looks like we have many of the same ages.:)

 

We have not been to Gettysburg. We went to Williamsburg a few years ago. It is exactly the kind of trip we like! Don't know why i didn't think of that. Thank you!

 

We are planning on the fall. We have to get passports. We were planning on it anyway. My nephew lives in San Diego. So we want to visit him in a year or so and take a trip into Mexico.

 

Cabins sound great! I think it would be too much to pack camping equipment. But, we do like state parks, so that is an option!

We have several friends who live in Mexico, and I've traveled there a few times. DH has lived there temporarily. It's not someplace I would feel comfortable driving to and in, though. My grandpa had his truck and all his belongings stolen when he went in to pay at a gas station not too far from the AZ border several years ago. Officials looking for bribes and general sexual harassment aren't uncommon. I have a scarier story that I'll spare you. Maybe there are some border towns near SD that are safer? I would feel comfortable flying to some places, for sure. Sorry to be such a downer.

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I tried checking out some hotels on this site(I was so excited about it!)  But, many(most) of the ones I tried would not let me book the last kid.  So, 6 was fine.  7 was a no go.

 

Personally I would just book the room for six and bring something for the 7th to sleep on the floor.  We do that pretty regularly, no one has ever questioned how many people were in our room.

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We have several friends who live in Mexico, and I've traveled there a few times. DH has lived there temporarily. It's not someplace I would feel comfortable driving to and in, though. My grandpa had his truck and all his belongings stolen when he went in to pay at a gas station not too far from the AZ border several years ago. Officials looking for bribes and general sexual harassment aren't uncommon. I have a scarier story that I'll spare you. Maybe there are some border towns near SD that are safer? I would feel comfortable flying to some places, for sure. Sorry to be such a downer.

 

No.  Really. It helps to hear personal stories.  I was NOT planning on driving.  We would take a flight.  

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Personally I would just book the room for six and bring something for the 7th to sleep on the floor.  We do that pretty regularly, no one has ever questioned how many people were in our room.

 

Our youngest does sleep with us often and would in that situation.  I am such a rule follower. Glad to know they don't really care.  I assumed they followed up?

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For another idea altogether you could rent an RV and stay in RV parks.

 

Be careful about trying to book more people in a room online. One time we booked in a motel 6 and were quite surprised that we could book a room for 8. When we actually got there though they told us that we couldn't do that. Our only choice was to get a second room. It was still pretty cheap though. I think that we paid $90 altogether.

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For another idea altogether you could rent an RV and stay in RV parks.

 

Be careful about trying to book more people in a room online. One time we booked in a motel 6 and were quite surprised that we could book a room for 8. When we actually got there though they told us that we couldn't do that. Our only choice was to get a second room. It was still pretty cheap though. I think that we paid $90 altogether.

 

An RV trip is an interesting idea.  I thought that would be great for out west, but I hadn't considered more congested areas.  Like NYC? :crying:   I feel like I drive a semi in Chicago on some of the side streets.(I drive a minivan)

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It's going to be hard to find a hotel room for that many in NYC. There is a Homewood Suites in Midtown that has a few rooms that can sleep 6. The Double Tree in Times Square has suites.

 

It's hard everywhere.  We might just have to have the littlest stack on someone. :)  Is there decent parking in Times Square?  Is it fairly safe?  Could we take a shuttle or other transportation(remember an Uber is probably out due to 7 of us, carseats, etc.)?  I would feel better if we could just get there, park once and take a bus or something.  We don't usually use public transportation.

ETA-- to see the Statue of Liberty

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Personally I would just book the room for six and bring something for the 7th to sleep on the floor.  We do that pretty regularly, no one has ever questioned how many people were in our room.

 

I have heard that they will not allow it if they know about it because of fire hazard/safety rules.  We have brought an air mattress with our own linens for it in the past because my kids didn't sleep well sharing a bed, but we never went over the room allowance (not saying you shouldn't...just that we didn't).  

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Call motels and ask for adjoining rooms with two queen beds in each.  Mom/dd room and Dad/boy room.  You can bring youngest boy into your room if you like. 

When we traveled with four kids ages 12ish, 10, 8, we got a room with two queens and a sofa bed that allowed five...and one of the twins did not go through check-in with us,. but came in a tad later.  Only got caught on last night of our 2-week road trip :-).  

 

If you have AAA, it is worth asking them for a Triptik to help plan it.  Plus if something comes up AAA can help you get a tow truck, or alter reservations, etc. Ask me how I know this.

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I have heard that they will not allow it if they know about it because of fire hazard/safety rules.  We have brought an air mattress with our own linens for it in the past because my kids didn't sleep well sharing a bed, but we never went over the room allowance (not saying you shouldn't...just that we didn't).  

 

The thing I worry about is a booked hotel and they can't let you book another room on site.  So, you are out of luck...I have never tried to stay in a smaller room.  We once went to a Hampton Inn.  They had 1 room left.  They offered it to our family of 8.  I was ??????  They said they would have to add on for the "free breakfast" though.  Like $25.  I said no thanks.  8 of us in a room for 4?  No way.

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Call motels and ask for adjoining rooms with two queen beds in each.  Mom/dd room and Dad/boy room.  You can bring youngest boy into your room if you like. 

 

I just wish it were easier to do online.  And more times than not, we get there and the rooms are not connecting.  My dh sleeps like a ROCK.  A kid could leave the room and he would not know.  So, I do like us all to be together if at all possible or connecting.  I hear them roll over. lol  Sometimes the hotel can make changes, sometimes not.  If not, I can't sleep all night. Tired grouchy mommy is not a good travel companion.

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I tried checking out some hotels on this site(I was so excited about it!) But, many(most) of the ones I tried would not let me book the last kid. So, 6 was fine. 7 was a no go.

When we traveled with 5 kids I was fine with booking 6 people and just fitting the extra child in. I don't personally think small children count as full people for hotel room purposes and yes safety dictated we were all better off together :)

These days we mostly have to get two rooms.

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I tried checking out some hotels on this site(I was so excited about it!) But, many(most) of the ones I tried would not let me book the last kid. So, 6 was fine. 7 was a no go.

Try calling instead. Tell them you will bring an air mattress and see what they say. The Hilton website won't let me reserve six for embassy suites even though I've booked direct for six plus a crib

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I have heard that they will not allow it if they know about it because of fire hazard/safety rules.  We have brought an air mattress with our own linens for it in the past because my kids didn't sleep well sharing a bed, but we never went over the room allowance (not saying you shouldn't...just that we didn't).  

 

I'm sure if they knew they would have to say something due to liability stuff but I don't feel the need to advertise.  Typically our check in goes like this, one adult goes and gets the room key, we drive and park go in the closest door.  Even if we have to go in through the front desk we end up going in in stages.  Not because we are being deceptive but because we are usually our unloading lots of stuff and we don't want little ones getting under foot. So one adult heads straight to the room with littles and the rest are still pulling things from the vehicle and loading the cart. I really don't think the staff cares unless you are being and obnoxiously loud or destructive.

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Our youngest does sleep with us often and would in that situation. I am such a rule follower. Glad to know they don't really care. I assumed they followed up?

I've never had someone count heads and call me out for going 1 over with littles. I do usually check in alone then park by whichever side door is closest to out room.

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I'd make Canada another trip at another time and spend more days in the other places. Have you looked into a residents inn? We stayed in one that was like a townhouse with a full kitchen and upstairs master. It had a king, a Queen Murphy bed, and a sofa bed. They also have big breakfasts. My next choice would be a condo. Some hotels rent condos by the night or week. I'd also leave one or two days unplanned in case you hit traffic, construction, or a little kid needed a day to not be in public.

 

I also wouldn't trust the online booking. I'd call each location and confirm with the on-site staff that the room(s) has what you need.

Edited by KungFuPanda
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I've worked in a hotel. In some places it is fire code rules that determine occupancy rules, in which case the hotel needs to have those numbers posted and not be intentionally ignoring them (doesn't mean guests can't).

 

In other places the numbers are really just arbitrary and dependent on the number/size of beds in the room and no one really cares at all if you want to sqeeze in an extra or two as long as you're not obnoxiously loud or trashing the place.

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Our youngest does sleep with us often and would in that situation.  I am such a rule follower. Glad to know they don't really care.  I assumed they followed up?

 

Well I'm generally a rule follower too but I've gotten to the point where I get tired of entering every piece of information about my family.  Its gets old and repetitive (for instance I have to fill out a health form once a year for the kids at the dentist.  I'm suppose to list child's address, my address, my husband's employer, all the insurance information - and each kid has two of them etc on each form, in additional to actual health stuff.  I'm suppose to duplicate it all 6 times when nothing has changed from the last time and it's all already in the computer.  Anyways because of things like that, I no longer feel the need to itemize information when it isn't truly necessary).  So when I make hotel reservation, I put in 2 adults and 2 kids to ensure that we get a room with 2 beds and call in good.  We've had up to 8 in a standard room.  Yes it's tight but if we are only there to sleep and then move on, we make due. But we have 3 twin air mattresses plus sheets that can be put down on the floor depending on how much space there is.  I'm sure others would disagree with us but it works for us.

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Try calling instead. Tell them you will bring an air mattress and see what they say. The Hilton website won't let me reserve six for embassy suites even though I've booked direct for six plus a crib

 

I will have to do some calling.  It sounds like they can make some exceptions.

Thanks!

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Well I'm generally a rule follower too but I've gotten to the point where I get tired of entering every piece of information about my family.  Its gets old and repetitive (for instance I have to fill out a health form once a year for the kids at the dentist.  I'm suppose to list child's address, my address, my husband's employer, all the insurance information - and each kid has two of them etc on each form, in additional to actual health stuff.  I'm suppose to duplicate it all 6 times when nothing has changed from the last time and it's all already in the computer.  Anyways because of things like that, I no longer feel the need to itemize information when it isn't truly necessary).  So when I make hotel reservation, I put in 2 adults and 2 kids to ensure that we get a room with 2 beds and call in good.  We've had up to 8 in a standard room.  Yes it's tight but if we are only there to sleep and then move on, we make due. But we have 3 twin air mattresses plus sheets that can be put down on the floor depending on how much space there is.  I'm sure others would disagree with us but it works for us.

 

I totally get your post.  I do.  I sometimes wonder why can't you just copy and paste this info?  

 

I have not thought to travel with air mattresses.  Why not?  Especially in less busy times(we almost always travel  when school is in session.)  If the hotel is not booked, why can't they make exceptions for a couple more kids?  There are MAX fire code numbers.  But I *think* it is for the entire building, not by room.

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I'd make Canada another trip at another time and spend more days in the other places. Have you looked into a residents inn? We stayed in one that was like a townhouse with a full kitchen and upstairs master. It had a king, a Queen Murphy bed, and a sofa bed. They also have big breakfasts. My next choice would be a condo. Some hotels rent condos by the night or week. I'd also leave one or two days unplanned in case you hit traffic, construction, or a little kid needed a day to not be in public.

 

I also wouldn't trust the online booking. I'd call each location and confirm with the on-site staff that the room(s) has what you need.

 

Thanks for the suggestion.  I thought it would be fun to go to Toronto and try out new passports. :)  And it's only an hour or 2 out of the way.  But, maybe you're right.  I'll have to give that some thought. 

 

I have never looked into Residence Inn although I have heard of them.  We have 1 locally.

 

The unplanned days are what I worry about.  But, you are right.  We need to be flexible.

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I totally get your post.  I do.  I sometimes wonder why can't you just copy and paste this info?  

 

I have not thought to travel with air mattresses.  Why not?  Especially in less busy times(we almost always travel  when school is in session.)  If the hotel is not booked, why can't they make exceptions for a couple more kids?  There are MAX fire code numbers.  But I *think* it is for the entire building, not by room.

 

We travel with air mattresses, crock pots, electric frying pans and a plug in cooler that passes for a fridge.  Anything that makes my life easier is fair game. 

 

But I do recommend getting a battery powered pump for the air mattresses, at the end of the day, no one wants to spend time blowing them up.

 

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I totally get your post. I do. I sometimes wonder why can't you just copy and paste this info?

 

I have not thought to travel with air mattresses. Why not? Especially in less busy times(we almost always travel when school is in session.) If the hotel is not booked, why can't they make exceptions for a couple more kids? There are MAX fire code numbers. But I *think* it is for the entire building, not by room.

Yeah, get the kind with the built in motor and the storage bag. You can stuff a fitted sheet right in the bag with it. Buy a thick blanket meant as a throw instead of a bed and your 4yo will be good to go.

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We travel with air mattresses, crock pots, electric frying pans and a plug in cooler that passes for a fridge.  Anything that makes my life easier is fair game. 

 

But I do recommend getting a battery powered pump for the air mattresses, at the end of the day, no one wants to spend time blowing them up.

 

 

I have been known to pack a crock pot. :)

 

We just have so little room in the minivan after suitcases, toiletries, shoes. etc.  Each child is allowed to bring a backpack that sits next to him/her.  The rest needs to be unseen by me.  I start to feel closed in if there is too much stuff in the car. 

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I just wish it were easier to do online.  And more times than not, we get there and the rooms are not connecting.  My dh sleeps like a ROCK.  A kid could leave the room and he would not know.  So, I do like us all to be together if at all possible or connecting.  I hear them roll over. lol  Sometimes the hotel can make changes, sometimes not.  If not, I can't sleep all night. Tired grouchy mommy is not a good travel companion.

 

I found the rooms on-line - and then phoned the places, said I needed the rooms adjoining or across from each other since family. 

 

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I've worked in a hotel. In some places it is fire code rules that determine occupancy rules, in which case the hotel needs to have those numbers posted and not be intentionally ignoring them (doesn't mean guests can't).

 

In other places the numbers are really just arbitrary and dependent on the number/size of beds in the room and no one really cares at all if you want to sqeeze in an extra or two as long as you're not obnoxiously loud or trashing the place.

 

This is really good to know.  thanks!

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We have also had to squeeze in extra little kids many times.  We never count the kid in the pack-n-play, for example.  When we only had 5 kids, we would book a suite room with sofabed and use the pack-n-play.  Now with 12 of us, we always get 2 rooms (connecting if possible, but if not the boys go in one room, since my oldest kids are boys, and the youngest 2 boys sleep in sleeping bags on the floor), and the girls are in with my dh and me (the 3 older girls still all sleep in the same bed together, plus a pack-n-play for youngest).  When we have 2 rooms, and there are just a bunch of kids milling around, obviously in the same family, no one tends to say anything.  We usually send dh in to check in, and then we gradually go in as other big family moms have said, not to be deceptive, but just because it works better with little kids.

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An RV trip is an interesting idea.  I thought that would be great for out west, but I hadn't considered more congested areas.  Like NYC? :crying:   I feel like I drive a semi in Chicago on some of the side streets.(I drive a minivan)

We drove our 40ft school bus through Manhattan! Now that was a special evening. We thought that Sunday evening couldn't be that bad but apparently Monday morning rush hour starts the evening before!

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We are a family of 7 and doing a month long road trip in the fall so I'm taking this all in! I have researched hotels in areas we are likely to stay in and will be making reservations in the suites that accommodate 6. We have a small cot we will bring with us but in the past our littlest always fit perfectly on the cusions we pull off the sofa bed. With some sheets and blankets put around them it works great.

 

I would love to hear about those who travel with a crock pot. Advice? Meal ideas? I am thinking about doing this to save money on eating out but haven't wrapped my head around it.

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We've done several long road trips with our family of 6.  We usually just get one room and take a single air mattress.  An air mattress is definitely helpful, and if you get two rooms or a suite room you should have floor space for it. 

 

Some things that have helped us:

* We always stay in hotels with free breakfast.

* As much as possible, we get a room with a refrigerator.  I pack snacks and lunch food, so we can eat wherever we are - on the road or seeing sights.

* We usually eat out at night.  I have cooked in a hotel room, but it's a lot of work and extra stuff to pack.  So for us, one meal out a day.

* I always plan out and reserve rooms in advance.  If I am a bit unsure about a night, I will make sure I can cancel & get a refund.  I figure out where we will be by looking at the driving hours from place to place, and deciding how many days in each place.  

* Before we leave on the trip, I try to have a list of potential activities in each place.  Ideally I'd have a rough plan for each day, but I don't always have time to get that done in advance.  But my goal is to cut down on decision making while we're on the trip, because a lot of big decision making on the go can make it really exhausting.  

* I try to plan in some margin, for sleeping in, relaxing a bit, and especially for things like doing laundry.  For example, I know that I need to do laundry about every 4-5 days, so I make sure I have laundry facilities and time available when needed.

* If we are moving from hotel to hotel, I assign responsibilities to all family members for getting in an out of the hotel.  So, for examples, unpacking the van, cleaning out the van, putting food in the refrigerator, getting ice for the cooler, pumping up the air mattress, etc.  This has made a HUGE difference in my workload and stress level on trips.

 

You trip plan looks pretty ambitious with a lot of stops, but it's a bit dependent on your total time and what kind of margin you can build on.  I would suggest that you might enjoy the trip more if you don't try to do quite so much, and then you might be more likely to do it again in the future.   :)  I hope it all works out well for you - looks like a fun trip to take!

Edited by Denise in IN
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We are a family of 7 and doing a month long road trip in the fall so I'm taking this all in! I have researched hotels in areas we are likely to stay in and will be making reservations in the suites that accommodate 6. We have a small cot we will bring with us but in the past our littlest always fit perfectly on the cusions we pull off the sofa bed. With some sheets and blankets put around them it works great.

 

I would love to hear about those who travel with a crock pot. Advice? Meal ideas? I am thinking about doing this to save money on eating out but haven't wrapped my head around it.

 

Wow!  A month!  I thought 2 weeks was soooo long!  Have fun!

 

I took a crock pot to Williamsburg when we stayed in a condo there.  I went to Trader Joe's and bought some of their premade frozen things.  Also frozen chicken and TJ's sauces.  I wanted to buy something for dinner we didn't eat at home.  Crockpot meatballs with sauce on rolls with cheese is a favorite.  

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We've done several long road trips with our family of 6.  We usually just get one room and take a single air mattress.  An air mattress is definitely helpful, and if you get two rooms or a suite room you should have floor space for it. 

 

Some things that have helped us:

* We always stay in hotels with free breakfast.

* As much as possible, we get a room with a refrigerator.  I pack snacks and lunch food, so we can eat wherever we are - on the road or seeing sights.

* We usually eat out at night.  I have cooked in a hotel room, but it's a lot of work and extra stuff to pack.  So for us, one meal out a day.

* I always plan out and reserve rooms in advance.  If I am a bit unsure about a night, I will make sure I can cancel & get a refund.  I figure out where we will be by looking at the driving hours from place to place, and deciding how many days in each place.  

* Before we leave on the trip, I try to have a list of potential activities in each place.  Ideally I'd have a rough plan for each day, but I don't always have time to get that done in advance.  But my goal is to cut down on decision making while we're on the trip, because a lot of big decision making on the go can make it really exhausting.  

* I try to plan in some margin, for sleeping in, relaxing a bit, and especially for things like doing laundry.  For example, I know that I need to do laundry about every 4-5 days, so I make sure I have laundry facilities and time available when needed.

* If we are moving from hotel to hotel, I assign responsibilities to all family members for getting in an out of the hotel.  So, for examples, unpacking the van, cleaning out the van, putting food in the refrigerator, getting ice for the cooler, pumping up the air mattress, etc.  This has made a HUGE difference in my workload and stress level on trips.

 

You trip plan looks pretty ambitious with a lot of stops, but it's a bit dependent on your total time and what kind of margin you can build on.  I would suggest that you might enjoy the trip more if you don't try to do quite so much, and then you might be more likely to do it again in the future.   :)  I hope it all works out well for you - looks like a fun trip to take!

 

These are great tips! Thanks!  We love free breakfast too!  And it saves soooo much time!

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