We drive everywhere we go as a family these days. Flying just costs too much and then we generally need to rent a van on the other end which is also very expensive. Driving also gives us some flexibility. Here are some of the things we do to make it work for us.
Eating on the road- We often bring our own food to eat on the road instead of stopping for fast food and other junk. Some shallow storage baskets can make nice trays. We bring foods that don't make big messes.
Breakfast- would tend to be things like sausage balls, bagels, and fruit (like bananas or grapes).
Lunch- would be things like sandwiches or cheese and crackers and some sort of fruit or veggies (apples and carrots are good).
Dinner- We do tend to have dinner out on the road, but we've also had a crockpot going while driving at times. It has been nice to have a simple, healthy, homemade meal when we stop. Just make sure you are prepared with dishes, and serving utensils and a way to clean out your crockpot (I've used a hotel bathtub before, it worked out just fine).
Overnight stays along they way- Our trips tend to have a destination that we pack for, but there are also overnight stops along they way getting there. Who wants to pull all of that luggage in for one night? We generally only need PJ's, clean socks and undies as well as our toiletries (I have everyone wear the same clothes while on the road, they really don't get dirty just sitting). I'm able to get all of that into two small suitcases (one for boys, one for girls) as well as our toiletry bag. That greatly reduces the amount of things we bring in and the potential for mess and disorganizing all of my hard work in packing for the trip. That also means less time unloading and loading up again.
Packing for the large family- Packing for our crew is fairly easy. I like to have my family coordinate while traveling so that we are easily recognized as a group and I can spot my kids. This is a safety thing more than anything else, though it is nice to know everyone will also look good as we are out and about drawing attention for being such a large group. I pack according to those outfits. All clothes intended to be worn at the same time are in the same one (or two) piles in the suitcase, I just have to pull them out and I know I've got all I need. Socks and underwear are put in plastic zipper bags, one per person, and their names are on them. Everything I need is easily at my finger tips, I know all I need really did get packed, and it reduces the amount of luggage we are bringing (right now our family of nine needs 2 large suitcases and a separate one for Daddy for a one week stay).
These are just some of the things I do to make traveling easier for us. Maybe I'll post more after we've done some more summer traveling? In the mean time.... Do you have any great travel tips? Any thoughts or questions about large family traveling?