Family Vacation Tips

Finding Vacations When You Have 3 Kids

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 28, 2012 4:00:00 PM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

Family of 5 VacationsTwo is company, three is a crowd! This is certainly true when it comes to planning  family of five vacations. Most hotels define a typical family as “two adults sharing one hotel room with two children under the age of twelve”. Hotels then use this definition to structure their prices and create occupancy rules. When you take the time to read the very small print in hotel brochures or on their websites you'll see a line that reads - “BASED ON DOUBLE ADULT OCCUPANCY”. This means the basic hotel room price is based on at least two adult people sharing one hotel room. Hotels also base their maximum occupancy rules on this definition meaning that each hotel room will only be allowed to hold a maximum of two large and two smaller bodies. Remember these two important points...maximum occupancy and pricing because their are very important as I explain later on....

When your third little bundle of joy enters this world, your family suddenly become a family of five. Your family now consists of two adult parents and three children. All is wonderful with the world until you all try to go on vacation together. Now your family of five suddenly doesn't fit the typical hotel's definition of what constitutes a family. When it comes to maximum room occupancy, your family doesn't fit into a standard room any more because now you have one extra kid. It doesn't matter whether you can all sleep in one king bed, bring sleeping bags for the floor or if your youngest can still fit in the dresser drawer. According to most hotel  and pricing rules, you are simply NOT allowed to all stay in one room....Sorry but this just ain't happening.

But wait - it gets worse...

Remember the fine print that reads “prices based on double adult occupancy” Again, this means each hotel room priced is based on TWO adults sleeping in one room. According to occupancy rules if 2 adults and 2 kids can fit into one hotel room, you're family is left with one extra person. According to the hotel pricing rules, your one extra person must now pay DOUBLE the adult rate for the additional room your family will need to "fit" the hotel definition...remember the hotel room is based on double adult occupancy even if only one person is sleeping in it. Just to confuse matters more this is called a Single supplement extra fee for only one single person using a hotel room that is priced according to double adult occupancy. Got that?...Just because you have one extra kid you now end up paying the extra single adult rate for the extra hotel room your family now needs according to the hotel rules. Often this makes the cost of a vacation prohibitive for many families of five. Perhaps you're the devious type and figure you'll be sneaky and save a buck and just sneak your third child into your room. Most legitimate travel agencies won't ruin their reputations or risk the penalties.  If you make your own reservations, falsify that reservation and are found out, the hotel can deny your reservation and you will simply loose the cost of your stay. You and your family may find yourself out in the cold.

For the sake of argument, let's say your family is well-to-do and money is no object. Rules are rules and you don't mind paying the extra fees for more space and two hotel long as your family can have adjoining rooms. Here's another rub...with most hotels, adjoining or connecting rooms are on a REQUEST ONLY basis. They can ask for adjoining rooms but that doesn't mean your family will get adjoining rooms. Travel agents or online travel companies CANNOT guarantee that your family will get to stay together. It totally depends on hotel occupancy on the day of your arrival and if you happen to catch the check in clerk in an especially happy mood that day. Instead of spending quality family bonding time, you find yourselves further apart from one another than you are every day at home. Not fun! Besides not being together, parents now have the additional worry of safety and security issues.

Families of Five everywhere...Rejoice comes to your rescue!

We've put together a list of  Family of Five hotels and resorts that will allow a family of five to share the same room together. Usually this means one room with two double or queen beds and a sofa, cot or crib for your third child. Every family of five hotel has their own unique set of requirements regarding their pricing and rules. Generally speaking most family of five resorts will allow 3 kids under the age of 12 to share one room with their parents. There are a few exceptions where older teens can qualify. In some cases, one, two or all three kids may stay for free, but of course they still have to pay for their plane tickets.

Many of our family of five resorts are all inclusives. This means all meals, drinks, hotel activities, non motorized water sports, Kids camps, tips, taxes, roundtrip airport transportation and gratuities are included. We can quote family of five packages with our without airfares. Some families want to use their frequent flyers miles for their airfare...that's fine, just let us know when you send your requests to us that you want a LAND ONLY quote.

Some family of five resorts and hotels will be listed as EP. This means you'll just be paying for your hotel room. Meals, drinks, activities, tip etc are all paid separately. There are even a few properties that offer guests a choice of either an all inclusive plan or an EP stay. If a resort is listed as just inclusive, it normally means food is included but no alcohol or limited amenities.

A few hotels are now offer guaranteed adjoining rooms. This is an upgraded room category, just like you might pay extra for an ocean view or a honeymoon suite. The extra price means your family will absolutely, positively get the two rooms you need, side by side, connect with a door. Guaranteed adjoining rooms generally means a king bed room for the parents, connected by a door to a room with two double beds for the kids. Many families prefer this scenario if they have young children that go to sleep early or if parents want privacy for romance. In some cases, guaranteed adjoining room categories allow more adults to share the rooms. This can be a great help if your family has teenagers or wants to bring grandparents along and still keep everyone close.Many of the guaranteed adjoining rooms will work for FAMILIES OF SIX.

Hoteliers are starting to wise up with their new construction. Many newer resorts are being built with one, two and three bedroom suites. These are premium suites with premium price tags but often if you average the math across all of your family members, it's often the joy of togetherness doesn't cost that much more. If your family needs even more space, Vacationkids also offers family villa rentals.

Cruise vacations are also an excellent option for families of five, six or more. Remember the cruise lines charge by the number of passengers sharing the same cabin...not by the AGE of each passenger. This is an especially great option for families with teens.

Many of the vacation options Vacationkids offers for large families are NOT listed in regular online reservation systems. It may take our staff a bit longer to check availability and secure reservations for your family through our private contacts and sources.

IMPORTANT - Compared to regular family of four rooms, accommodations for larger families are limited and in high demand. Most families prefer to travel with their kids are on school holiday. Options for family of five vacations sell out very quickly for December Holiday and Spring Break weeks. If you need larger accommodations, it's best to start planning your family vacation about nine months prior to your planned departure for the best availability and pricing. Because larger accommodations are in such great demand, you may be required to make larger deposits or even pay in full to confirm these type of reservations.

Connect with a Vacationkids Family Travel Advisor

Topics: family resorts, Family of 5 Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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