Every year I am the one in charge of planning my family’s beach trip. I love the beach soooooo much that I can’t imagine going a year without a trip there with my family!
Topsail Beach, NC ~ 2013
Emerald Isle, NC ~ 2014
In addition to our immediate family, we always take at least one set of grandparents and one our siblings’ families. This year we are taking a vacation to Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina.
We’re sharing an oceanfront beach home with my parents for the whole week with my sister’s family and my in laws rotating in and out half way through the week. We’re here right now!
Ocean Isle Beach, NC ~ 2015
Family Beach Trip Planning Checklist
While I am now well versed in planning our family beach trips, the first couple years were tough. I never realized just how much goes into coordinating that many family members into one location at one time.
It takes a lot of organization, as well as negotiation skills! Everyone will have a preference on everything from location to dates, certain people will have dates they absolutely cannot make, and every distinct family unit will have different financial capabilities. Striking the perfect balance is like walking a tight rope 20 feet in the air! 🙂
I came up with a fairly standard checklist anyone can use to plan a family beach trip that includes a mix of immediate family, grandparents, and aunts/uncles/cousins. Feel free to adapt this to your own needs, and let me know if you have any questions!
- Who Will Go – Sounds easy enough, but it’s always tricky for us. There’s one constant in our trips – my family of five always goes. But who goes with us changes each year depending upon everyone’s availability. As much as I would like to take everyone in our extended family on one trip, I am only prepared to coordinate up to four families. More than that is beyond my capabilities. If you are able to coordinate more people than that, I say go for it!
- Decide on a Location – Choose a location that makes sense for your family. Have several people within driving distance to the coast and one couple who lives 12 hours away? Perhaps you should choose a location nearby the majority and make the one couple travel. Or maybe you have a family split between the east and west coast….a middle-point like Texas OR alternating between coasts one year to the next might be in order.
- Money – Consider what everyone involved will be willing and able to pay. Will they all want to stay for one week? Is one family in a more precarious financial situation (recent job loss or newborn expenses, etc) than others? Finding a middle ground is key here. The family members with more money to spend will need to meet other family members half way. Some family members may be willing to cover a larger portion of costs, so that is a consideration as well.
- Accommodations – Based on your location and budget, your accommodation options will start to fall into place. You may find that your combined budget can get you a condo for a week or it may very well allow you to stay beach front for the same amount of time. We typically have enough to get a beachfront home if we pack in the rooms (no extra room to spare!). 🙂 Beach front is important to us, so we sacrifice on the house size. If your family prefers more room, a second row home could be a nice option, as you can get more home for the same amount yet still have a great view and access to the beach.
- Deposit & Payment – If you rent a beach house like we do, one half of the rental price is typically due upon booking with the second half due 30 days before your trip. I usually pay these amounts with a single check and tell my family I need their payment portions one week before each payment is due. This gives me plenty of time to deposit their checks in my bank account before mailing in a check.
After the planning formalities are over, all that’s left to do is figure out who will bring what supplies (beach chairs, umbrella, towels, linens, etc) and how you will split up food costs. We usually put one family in charge of a large meal each, then eat out a few times and fill in the blanks with leftovers or easy foods like cereal and sandwiches. Vacation is my low-stress food time, so no big vacation meal planning tips from me here! 🙂
No matter how much preparation I put into each beach trip, it’s all worth it when I can see my family relaxing and having fun together. Here’s a picture of my brother-in-law hanging out in the gazebo with my kids plus my nephews one evening.
Discover it Miles® Credit Card
As a financial professional and manager of our household finances, I like to use many techniques to keep our travel costs low. In addition to budgeting ahead of time for vacation expenses, I like to use reward credit cards to cover travel expenses whenever possible.
Just using a great rewards card throughout the year can really rack up the savings come time to go on vacation. I personally LOVE getting air travel covered by rewards credits.
The Discover it Miles® card has features I look for in a travel rewards credit card, including the ability to redeem rewards for travel dates that work for you, no annual fees built in, and the ability to redeem unused rewards for cash. The Discover it Miles® credit card has these features and more, including:
- 1.5x miles for every dollar spent on purchases
- An annual credit up to $30 for in-flight Wi-Fi charges
- Miles never expire (they will credit your account with the rewards balance if your account is closed or rewards go unused within 18 months)
- A $0 fraud liability guarantee where you are never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card
- Discover it Miles® cardmembers can redeem miles at any amount for cash, or as a statement credit toward their travel purchases, including commercial airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, commuter transportation and taxicabs.
- Fly any airline any time – just buy a ticket and use Miles to credit your statement
As an introductory offer, Discover it Miles cardmembers will now receive double the amount of miles they’ve earned at the end of their first year – with no spending cap. That gives travelers using the Discover it Miles Card the opportunity to determine for themselves the amount of bonus miles they receive in that first year.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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