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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...

Ayutthaya Toy Museum, Thailand travel with a large family
Our Big Family, Barefoot at Million Toy Museum
The answer to this question, for a big family, should generally be:  YES!  Here are our reasons why your big family will love its trip to the nearest toy museum...

Do they serve food on trains?
Our big family enjoying some delicious takeout
we got from an underground Migros inside a train station in Switzerland
If you are frugal travelers like us, you probably aren't too keen on purchasing pricey airplane food. But we have found that in many situations, it can be the best option. Here's why...

Traveling with a big family to Athens, Greece
Gorilla Riding Mustachioed Gerbil in Greece
- Street Art in Athens Neighborhood

Today, just a quick note to say thank you for reading!  At about the 4-month mark since launching our website, we've reached another minor milestone:  2,000 visits!  Here's where our visitors are from...

Visiting Florida beaches during a red tide event
Florida's Beach Warning Flags Are Not Used for Red Tide

The night we returned from our recent Florida beach trip, I couldn't stop coughing long enough to catch a breath. I could hear my daughter in the other room coughing non-stop. Finally I gave up on sleep, and climbed out of bed to figure out what had caused all this. Now, after a great many hours of research on the matter, I'm going to share what I've learned. My hope is that you will use this information as a starting point for your own research, to help you make an informed decision about when, and whether, to stop at any beach on the Gulf of Mexico...
Eating with a Big Family CentralFestival Phuket Food Court
Eating with Kids in Thailand
If you have kids that are picky eaters and you're planning a trip to Thailand, you may have the same concern we did: what in the world are they going to eat? Read on for our tips for many happy dining experiences with kids in Thailand...

Getting around without renting a vehicle while traveling with small children
Photo taken from the front passenger seat of a
car driving on the left in Krabi, Thailand

"Rent a car!" is what everyone and their uncle is going to tell you, the moment they hear that your big family is taking a trip out of the country. But do you really want to do that? We don't think so. We avoid renting a car in other countries for several good reasons. Here are 6 reasons why you might want to skip the car rental too...

Solo travel in Mexico
Traveling solo from Mexico to El Salvador

In this, the the third and final installment of the series, we'll provide some background info on the prior travel experiences that informed our methods as parents who travel extensively with young children...

Visiting Arizona on a cross-country driving trip across the USA
Scene from one of my Great American Road Trips
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
In this post, I share some of my pre-Dad Era travel experiences, to provide some context to all these travel posts...

Traveling with kids to Athens
Our Big Family in Athens, Greece
As you know by now, we are a family of six:  Dad, Mom, Big Sister, Big Brother, Little Brother, and Little Sister. That's all of us (so far)!  We have traveled extensively in the U.S., South America, Asia, and Europe. Along the way we've learned a lot of lessons for how to travel as a big family, which we are turning into a series of posts containing our travel tips. We want to share our experiences with you, to help you plan your big family's next big trip. In this post, I'll tell you a bit more about myself, to provide some context to all these travel posts...

Relaxing near the beach in Thailand with a large family
Relaxing in Krabi, Thailand
When traveling with a big family, one of our hard-learned travel rules is what we call the “Do Nothing Day” Rule.  Here’s why you may want to use that rule when you travel with your family…
Traveling lightly with one bag per person, with a big family
Half of the luggage for a family
of 6 is featured in this picture
Here are our 8 reasons you should only bring one small (carry-on sized) backpack per person when traveling as a big family, plus our tips for helping you make it work...

Arriving to Hong Kong after dark on the airport shuttle bus
Our exhausted son arriving to Hong Kong
late at night after a full day of travel
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 stranded somewhere? What if something someone promised just doesn't happen? What if you were given bad information? What do you do? There we were, standing on the sidewalk with our big family and all our luggage, late at night, on our first night in Hong Kong, locked out of the apartment...

Should I brush my teeth on an airplane?
The Airplane Fanny Pack Effect

Should you use a fanny pack when traveling? I mean, should anyone, really? Personally I despise them. But, after my wife and daughter persuaded me, I have to admit that they do come in handy, at least for one thing...

Large family traveling to Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Our Big Family at Angkor Wat in Cambodia
So you're planning to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World with your big family? It'll be a challenge - particularly the heat - but you can do it! Here are our 10 tips for seeing Cambodia's awesome Angkor Wat temple complex with your big family...

Big family trip to Mt. Titlis Glacier Park, Engelberg, Switzerland
Visiting the Snow Play Area at Mt. Titlis Glacier Park, Switzerland
Engelberg is an awesome place in Switzerland to visit with a big family. There are a lot of great activities for kids and adults to enjoy together. Here's our idea of a great itinerary for 3 nights in Engelberg...

Top things for a big family to do in Milan, Italy
Visiting Milan, Italy for a Night with a Big Family
Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan
So, you're passing through Milan with the family for a night and by now you've figured out maybe there isn't exactly a TON of stuff to do there. No worries, we've got enough family activities to fill the time very enjoyably. Here's our suggestion for how your family can spend its limited time in Milan...

Robots preparing food in Thailand
Robots in Thailand?
This flower-wielding Samurai robot greets diners

 at a Japanese chef robot restaurant in Thailand
Today I just want to share a quick note with you to say:  Wow, thanks!  We’ve reached a minor milestone at our site. We just launched not quite two months ago, and have reached 1,000 page views, with readers in over 30 countries!  Here's where our visitors are from...

Travel clothes may be as near as your own closet
Our old school clothes made great 
trip pants for camping in Tennessee!

For a big family that wants to travel and remain frugal, how do you pack for a trip without busting your budget? Over our years of traveling around the U.S. and around the world with four children, we've developed several money-saving strategies for trip clothes.  Here are some of our favorites:

Taking the whole family hiking on vacation in Europe
Taking the Kids Hiking in Switzerland
Hiking in Switzerland is a great activity for big families. It's gorgeous, fun, healthy, and: it's free! We highly recommend it for your family's trip with children. Here's more about hiking the hills of Switzerland with young children...

Walking vs taking the metro in Europe with kids
Our Big Family Finally Returning to Our Rented Home
in Athens, Greece, after a Long, Hot Walk

The main thing I did wrong when traveling in Europe with my big family was using our feet as transportation when we should have really been in a vehicle (a big one, arranged in advance). In this post we'll explain why the "walk everywhere" plan is not always a great idea when traveling with a big family...
What do I need to bring on a family vacation?
Packing Lightly with a Big Family:
Our boys in Spain, shown with all the luggage
our family of 6 used for 3 weeks in Europe
Ah, the least fun part of traveling: figuring out what to pack! Our big family with 4 young children has made a lot of trips over the years, and we've refined and shortened our packing list until we now bring only the essentials. Here are our Top 10 Tips on What to Pack:

Traveling with a big family by rail in Switzerland
Train station with a view, in Montreux, Switzerland
Using the website of the national railway company of Switzerland is definitely the cheapest and best way to get your train tickets for journeys in Switzerland, but, it's not as easy as it one might hope. Here are our 9 Tips to help you get the right train tickets, for the best possible price, for your family's journey through lovely Switzerland...

Traveling by train in Europe with a big family to multiple countries
Our Big Family Took the Train 
Everywhere We Went in Switzerland
Trains in Switzerland are fast and easy, and can be a great value. Figuring out how to use them in an affordable and frugal manner is not very easy, however. Luckily, we've done the research work for you. How would you like to get FREE TICKETS for your kids?  (Well, actually you buy a certain travel card for a few Swiss Francs, and then the tickets are free for one year, but it's still an awesome deal.) And how about also getting a 50% discount for the adults in your group? And did you know you can do all this without purchasing a rail pass?  If that sounds like a good deal, read on...

Tips on going to Hong Kong Disney
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in Summer
(Dig that full-face visor / robot look - they're everywhere at Disney!)
We saw a lot of confusing and contradictory reviews about Hong Kong's Disney park, and we decided to give it a chance.  We were very pleasantly surprised. Here are 10 Reasons You Should Go to Hong Kong Disneyland...

Big family trying to see too many sights every day
A Day Spent on the Move.  Our Big Family in Barcelona's El Prat Airport.
One lesson we learned the hard way is:  if traveling with young children, stick to the One Thing Per Day Rule.  In this post, we'll explain why...
How many days should you plan to stay in each destination with your family?
Our youngest kids touring Thai temple-ruins at night by tuk-tuk
One thing that significantly affects your big family's trip enjoyment is how long you plan to stay in each location. Here are our 7 tips for how to decide...

What is The Perfect Arrival Time?
5 Ways to Find the Golden Hour

Kids from a large family, very happy to arrive in Athens
In Athens:  Our Kid Was So Happy to Be off the Plane that She Ran
the Wrong Way on the Moving Sidewalk, on Purpose!
Figuring out what time of day to arrive in a new place can be a major factor in the success of your big family trip. But after a lot of trial and error, we have discovered the one perfect time to arrive to a new city...
I'd love to buy some detergent here, if only the store was open
Ah! This Place Probably Sells Detergent!  Oh, but It Closed 10 Minutes Ago...

Laundry is a never-ending challenge while traveling with a big family. And finding detergent in another country isn't always as simple as it would seem.  Here are our tips for locating the key ingredient to clean clothes for your big family while traveling...

Traveling with kids - how to keep them in clean clothes
This Bangkok balcony was faster at drying clothes than the provided "dryer"

Doing laundry on your trip might not be the most enjoyable thing you'll do, but, it's hard to travel without doing laundry at some point.  If you have a big family, "at some point" means, well, at least once a day! This post will share our 7 tips for keeping everyone in clean clothes while traveling...
Where is there a toilet when you need one? Finding toilets while traveling with kids
Restroom entrance in Thailand
So you thought the hard part about traveling with a big family was going to be getting a good deal on a flight? Or choosing from hundreds of possibilities for apartment and home rentals? Or figuring out what your kids might be willing to eat? Ha ha, no, no...sorry. The biggest challenge you will face is the necessity of finding a restroom (that is, a toilet, water closet, w.c., washroom...) every few minutes! Here we will present our big family's strategies for coping with bathroom breaks...
Where to go with a big family for your summer vacation
Traveling with a Big Family in Hong Kong
Our big family has made long trips something of a habit.  Here's where we've traveled so far:
Locating the perfect place to stay in Europe
Oh Well, Sometimes the View is All that Matters! View from our Rented Chalet for Six in Switzerland
Part II of our series on finding the essential features for your accommodations, when you are a family traveling with young children, will explain the rest of the secret ingredients to a fun trip with a big family...
How a big family with toddlers travels to Asia
The View from Our Favorite Rental Home for a Big Family in Beautiful Thailand

What are the essential features for your accommodations, when you are a family traveling with young children? Here are a few things that we have come to believe are the secret ingredients to a fun trip with a big family...
Why your large family needs to prearrange its airport transfer taxi service in Europe and Asia
Sometimes Minivans Will be Your Only Option.   Phuket, Thailand
If your big family is frugal like ours, you may be planning to avoid costly private transportation services as much as possible.  Like me, you may be thinking: hey, we have feet, and they're made for walking. Or why not figure out the metro or bus system?  It will be fun and adventurous, and we'll save a bundle, right? Not so fast!  Here are our 8 Reasons Why a Big Family Needs to Hire a Private Minivan Transfer, plus our tips on choosing the right one...

Frugal Family with Four Kids Travel to Thailand
Lifestyles of the Neither Rich nor Famous:
On the Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Can a big family be frugal, and also be world travelers, at the same time? How can a big family afford to travel? Does this kind of travel make any sense at all? We'll share our answers with you in this post...

Traveling family with young children on vacation in Europe, at Rotstöckli
Our Big Family's Summer Snow Adventure
Above the Snow Line at 10,000 Feet - Switzerland
We've got a big family:  there's my lovely wife, and our four children (two girls, two boys, all pre-K to junior high school age), and of course, myself, the Dad.  How do we pull off such big trips with all these kids?