Soon after my twins were born several years ago, I moved to a new town where I didn't know a soul. After about a year of going it alone, I joined a local mother's center and hooked up with a group of women who remain my best friends to this day. We spend every New Year's Eve and Super Bowl together, barbecue at rotating houses, and watch each other's kids when we're in a bind. And last summer, we decided to take our friendship to a whole new level with a multifamily vacation.
Yes, that's right! We packed up five moms, five dads, and 10 children (all under the age of 9) for one super-size family trip. And apparently, we're not alone. Group travel has become one of the fastest-growing trends in the industry. It even has a name: togethering. According to a survey by Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, a travel-marketing agency in Orlando, 80 percent of vacationers took at least one trip with extended family or friends during the past five years.
Although traveling with 10 kids may sound more like a bad comedy than a holiday, there are lots of advantages to this type of trip. Group discounts is a big one, but vacationing with other adults also means you can take turns watching the children, your kids have built-in playmates, you can split up what you have to pack (toys, gear, food), and you can spend quality time with faraway friends and family you might not see otherwise.
But let's be honest: Planning a vacation for just your family can be hard enough. So the thought of doing it when lots of people are involved may seem impossible. Trust me, it's not. Here's what I learned from the experts and from my own trip.