On several occasions during discussions on the milesopedia Facebook group, the voice of parents with three or more children was heard.
Like the other members, they like to travel with their children, but sometimes need to look harder to find their place in the sun in a world where services and bargains are mostly tailored to families of two adults and two children.
These parents have, as you will see, developed “common sense” tips and strategies for some of them and worthy of approval for others. And everyone will be able to benefit from those ideas, no matter if they have children or not.
These large families need us to take a closer look at the challenges they still face so that we can reflect on them together. They too aspire to access small and big escapades, near or far.
Let us hope that this four-part file will enable them to do so a little more.
We recruited 11 mothers from the group (although fathers were also welcome) to form a panel to discuss the topic:
The organizational and economic challenges of traveling with a large family of three or more children.
The total number of respondents’ children is 41! Some have been members of milesopedia for as little as 3 months, while others have been members for 3 years.
- Six of them have three kids.
- Three have four.
- One has five.
- One even has half a dozen.
Ages range from a few months to 17 years.
They also want to see increased earnings by switching from a less profitable credit card to a more profitable one. But you still have to know about those cards.
They are not looking for luxury, but simply to travel more often while respecting their budget and the needs of the children.
They hope to pay with their points and miles, at least in part, for:
- car rentals
They want tobe kept up to date on news and promotions regarding miles and points.
This is the leitmotif of their participation in the group and panel discussion.
Travelling with three or more children complicates the choices and increases the costs.
The flights should be direct, and their timing should be optimal to reduce the effects of jet lag. If flights are purchased with points, it was particularly complicated to find more than two or three seats at a time before the new Aeroplan program arrived.
Rented cars or minivanswill be required to have three car seats in the backseat when children are old enough to sit in them. And if the family consists of eight people, consider renting two cars or a 10-passenger minivan, which in some countries may require an additional license. Anyway, it can quickly become a real puzzle.
Hotel roomswill have to accommodate the whole family without ruining the parents. It’s starting to get pretty serious with seven people. Suites are still expensive. When camping, you may have to pay for the extra children. Some sites even refuse families of seven or more.
When we then think about activities, we must recognize that they often offer packages for families with two children.
And the food..! Kids are always hungry. And even more so if they’re teenagers.
So let’s explore with our members and our loyalty program expert the best avenues to support our large families. Some are known to more experienced members, others will be entirely new.
Four cross-cutting strategies are to be applied according to our panel, regardless of the service or product sought.
- Targeting and meeting the family’s needs rather than trying to maximize the value of miles and points at all costs. Sometimes it’s not possible. And the needs of your family must come first.
- Shopping, shopping, comparing. This is the best strategy found for airline tickets, car rentals and accommodations.
- Book products with the no charge cancellation option. Often, new lower prices are posted online at the last minute.
- Don’t spread out, focus on one project at a time (e.g. Marriott points for hotels or Cobalt card for Airbnb)
A word from the expert
When traveling with children, especially with more than 2 children, every dollar counts. Before applying for any credit card, it will be useful to analyze current expenses and travel needs.Jean-Maximilien Voisine - Président-Fondateur de milesopedia
Routine expenses are usually substantial for a large family:
It will therefore be a matter of finding the credit card that allows you to earn the most points in these spending categories.
As for travel needs, they are often similar:
- Airbnbtype apartments are preferred to hotels (except when these also include kitchens and living room with sofa bed)
- We will try to reduce the cost of plane tickets, which are inevitably expensive since the flights take place during the school vacations
- Finally, you want to be able to use travel points without being dependent on the availability of certain programs.
In our series of articles, you will see that there are solutions for both of these aspects.