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Traveling with a big family to Mexico
So Many Places, So Little Time

Your help is requested!  Tell me, Dear Readers: Where should our big family travel next? Can you, our readers, make a suggestion or three? Some of the best trips we've ever had have been to destinations that were suggested by others. My friend (who was at least half-joking) suggested Switzerland when I said we wanted to see "snow in summer."  I was thinking Colorado. But he said, "Why don't you go to the Swiss Alps?" and, well, a few months later, we did!  So that's what I'm hoping for here - a great suggestion, whether you're serious or half-serious, then I'll do some research and take it from there....

Is Airbnb Illegal in some cities in Southeast Asia?
This condo in Southeast Asia warns tourists 
that they might get arrested for staying there

According to my wife, the single most important question to consider for any rental property is:  "Do guests have to sneak in?"  Now, I wouldn't want to write anything in a blog post that might potentially incriminate anyone regarding a short-term rental in a place where it is frowned upon. So, this story is about a friend - a friend who travels with his big family around the world. These friends of ours found themselves in a very uncomfortable situation with a prepaid short-term rental in a place that doesn't exactly welcome tourists. Apparently, in some cities around the world, there is a movement against short-term rentals. So how do you book one safely, without having to risk being reported as a trespasser?  Read on for our tips...


Seeing Macaw parrots with children at zoo in northern Thailand
Macaw Parrots at the Chiang Mai Zoo

By the time we got to Chiang Mai, our fifth city stop in Thailand, we had seen just about all the temples we could see in one trip. We still saw some of Chiang Mai's temples too, but starting on our second day there, we began to cast about, looking for something else to do. Then, the zoo was recommended as an activity popular with children. If you're considering seeing the Chiang Mai Zoo with a big family, here's our take on whether that visit is worth it...

Staying in a penthouse near the airport in Bangkok, Thailand with a big family
View from Roof of our Bangkok Apartment Rental

When we're planning a trip for our big family, we keep in mind that every potential home or apartment rental has its own unique surroundings of some sort, which can be a major factor in whether it's the right place for us to stay. Before booking a rental, it's wise to consider not just what the apartment or home has to offer on the inside, but what the neighborhood is like. Does the advertised "quiet neighborhood" mean it's a one-hour walk to the nearest restaurant? Does "fun area" mean that the downstairs nightclub's bass thumps will keep your children awake until 3am? Does "local residential area" mean it's against city laws for you to book a 2-night rental? In our travels we've discovered the secret ingredients to finding the perfect location for a big family to stay, and we'll share them with you here...
3 Tips to Avoid Getting Lost


Picture of Swiss Train Station in Switzerland
This Swiss train station is "just minutes" from the apartment - supposedly

You research and plan for weeks, but you can't plan for everything. What do you do when something doesn't work out, and you get lost? What if you were given bad information? What do you do? There we were, panting and sweating in the steep hills of Switzerland, looking for lodging in all the wrong places. We ended up sitting on the sidewalk, utterly lost, on our very first afternoon in a new city...

Visiting Ayutthaya Historical Park with a Big Family
Visiting Thailand's Ayutthaya Historical Park with a Big Family
Wat Ratchaburana

So, you're planning a visit to Thailand with the family and are thinking of visiting one of the great historical and cultural destinations close to Bangkok. Ayutthaya is a great choice! It's easily accessible from Bangkok and serves as a great introduction to Thailand for a big family. In fact, for a family with children, it's a much better introduction to Thailand than Bangkok itself. Here are our tips for making a great family visit to Ayutthaya, Thailand...
8 Tips on Using Tuk-Tuks with a Big Family


Visiting Ayutthaya Historical Park by Tuk-tuk
Riding Tuk-Tuks with a Big Family
Wat Thammikarat, Ayutthaya, Thailand
 

Surprisingly, our family of six - four of whom are young children who really don't take up that much room - was easily able to fit into a single tuk-tuk!  In this post, we'll give you our tips for how to hire a tuk-tuk without paying triple, while avoiding scam artists, and we'll share one of the best pieces of travel advice we ever heard...

Riding elephants with children in Thailand
Our Big Family with Elephants in Thailand

At some point you're going to hear that one of the "must do" experiences in Southeast Asia is riding an elephant. We were actually planning on that, too. Elephants can be rented for a ride near certain temples in Thailand, or Cambodia, or various other places across Southeast Asia. But then we told one of our hosts in Thailand about our plan prior to the start of our trip. He told us his honest opinion of the practice, and then we did our own research on it.  Based on that, we decided...


Photo tour of traveling in Thailand with a big family
Aliens Vs. Predator Sculpture, Bangkok, Thailand
This is at the entrance to a random office building

As the person in our family who is most often holding the camera, I used to be a bit annoyed when one of our kids would say for the tenth time in a day, "Hey Dad, you should take a picture of that!" But then it hit me:  while honoring these requests pleases the children, it costs me nothing because digital cameras don't need film. And I've learned that the photos the kids ask me to take sometimes turn out to be some of our favorites. In this post we present a pictorial tour of Southeast Asia, as seen from the photos that our children suggested needed to be made...

To Our Readers

Nightly water show at Florida condo
Our Big Family Enjoying the Nightly Magic Fountain Show in Florida
We owe you another big "Thank You!" Amazingly, we've already reached 3,000 views on our little blog written about our Big Family's travels. We started small with a readership of...well, none, I guess. However, within two months, we had readers in 40 countries! Readership has continued to grow...

10 Tips for Saving Money on Food While Traveling
Top tips for saving money on food while traveling in Europe with a big family
Family Style Dining in Barcelona, Spain
After lodging and airfare, the largest travel expense for a big family is the necessity of eating. We've traveled extensively with our four young children, and over the years we've learned a few ways to avoid blowing the trip budget just to solve those annoying hunger pangs. Here are our 10 Tips for Saving Money on Food While Traveling...

Seeing the Kung Fu show in Kowloon Park with a big family in Hong Kong
Free Kung Fu Show in Kowloon Park, Hong Kong
One of the most memorable places we’ve ever visited with our big family is Hong Kong. We thoroughly enjoyed almost every moment of our time here. Here are our tips for seeing Hong Kong with a big family…

Visiting Areopagus with children
Athens: "Take a picture of those pigeons!"
Areopagus rock near the Acropolis

As the one in our big family who is usually holding the camera, I used to be mildly annoyed when one of my kids would urge, "Hey Dad, take a picture of that!" numerous times per day while we were traveling. But then I figured out:  honoring these requests pleases the children greatly, and costs me nothing since digital cameras don't need film. And, I've been surprised to find that the shots often turn out to be some of my favorites. In this post we present a pictorial tour of Europe, as seen from the photos that our children suggested needed to be made...


Our children testing the icy waters at one of Florida's cool natural springs state parks
Our Big Family Swimming at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park

We have now swam in the coldest water we've known. It's a frigid 68 °F (20 °C), which might be a little more bearable in summer - but we were there in October! This post tells about our experiences with swimming at one of Florida's beautiful, chilly, natural springs...


Walking to the End der Welt Restaurant in Switzerland with a big family with small chlidren
Finding The End of Civilization on Foot
I'd always wanted to know what exactly is at the End of the World. Does the ocean just fall off into space? Is there a vast, black void that swallows lost explorers? Turns out to be different than I thought it would be. In this post, we'll tell about our big family's trip to the End of the World...