Travel with Extended Family

Travel with Family – Are You Crazy?


Have you ever been planning a trip and had a family member ask if they can “tag along”?  The option to travel with family may come up, especially if they have seen you travel to exotic locations around the world and they haven’t travelled much or at all.  Is it really a good idea to say yes?

Here are some tips to help you, firstly decide if it is a good idea, and secondly to avoid issues while travelling.

Tip 1:  Do you get along before you travel?

We all know that family aren’t always the easiest people to get along with.  So if you find that you argue / disagree with a family member in familiar surroundings, this is unlikely to change if you are travelling together.  Disagreements may actually increase when you add in unfamiliar issues that arise when travelling.

A simple rule – if you don’t get along / disagree with the family member while you’re at home, don’t travel with them.  It’s highly unlikely that your relationship will improve while away.  It is more likely that it will deteriorate.

We have travelled three times with my mother-in-law, Maureen.  On the first of those trips my sister-in-law also travelled with us.  We got along really well before our first trip together and after three trips away, we still get along really well. 

Simple Rule: Don’t travel with family if you don’t get along at home.

Tip 2:  Pre-plan each persons “must do’s”

If you decide that you are going to travel with family, pre-plan each person’s “must do’s”.  So what does this mean?  Have each person list the top three to five things that they want to do / see on the trip.  Some of the items each of you list may be the same, but there are likely to be differences.  The places / things to do on each person’s list then becomes a starting point for planning your trip to make sure you cover each of the listed items (within reason of course).

To give you an example, when we travelled to Italy, the Isle of Capri was on Maureen’s must do list and we all wanted to visit Pompeii.  By spending a couple of days in Naples, we were able to visit both.  I wanted to go up to the Dolomite Mountains, Maureen wanted to visit Sienna and we all had Lake Como on our lists.  Again, we made sure we visited each of these locations.  Of course we had places like Rome, Venice and Florence on our list, but these “must do’s” are places that you might not otherwise get to when you have limited time.

Travelling With Extended Family - Are You Crazy?
We visited Sienna in Italy as it was on my mother-in-law’s “must do” list.

Tip 3:  Money can be an issue

It can be hard, but you need to talk money before you travel with family.  Do you want to stay in an amazing 5 star hotel in London but your family member has a budget for a 2 star hotel?  Are you happy to backpack and stay in hostels while your family member wants the “creature comforts” of a hotel?

Also are you happy to pay for day trips or entrance fees while your family member is not?

Make sure you each understand the others budget before leaving so that won’t be “money arguments” while away.

Tip 4:  You don’t have to spend all your time together

This one may be a bit more difficult if your family member hasn’t travelled before.  But if you want to do something that they don’t want to do, there is no reason you shouldn’t.  They are a grown person and should be able to look after themselves for awhile.

So before you agree to travel with family, make sure they are comfortable to spend some time “doing their own thing”.

Travelling With Extended Family - Are You Crazy?
We all agreed that we wanted to take a float plane up into the Alaskan wilderness where we got to see a beautiful brown bear and her two cubs.


Seriously think about letting a family member “tag along” on an adventure with you.  It may allow you both to have an amazing adventure together.  But if you have any doubts about them travelling with you, seriously consider if you should say yes.  While there may be tensions with saying no, ultimately, it is your hard earned money that you are spending and you want to have the best time possible on your adventure.

Do you have everything planned for your trip?  Who looks after your pets when you travel?

Lisa Bundesen, The Middle Age Wanderer

The Author - Lisa Bundesen

I’m a 50 something semi-retired accountant, who along with my husband, Darren, has worked hard to have a great career and be financially stable.  Now it’s time to enjoy life more.

To enjoy life more, I’ve had to work hard to improve my fitness (I hiked the Inca Trail in my 40’s) and to keep fit to be able to do all of those things we want to do. That isn’t always easy because we also love to explore different cuisine and wine around the world and at home.

We travel as much as possible, both overseas and at home.  We call Australia home and find that there are so many places to explore here as well.

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14 Responses

  1. It can definitely be hard! I was a bit worried before hand when my partners parents, sister and 2 cousins came to visit when we were living in the UK. (my partner and family are from New Zealand) we went away for 2 weeks and they stayed longer. I had a 4minth old baby at the time so wasn’t sure how it would work, but we actually had a great time. I think we both grew closer but also appreciated when people wanted to do different things. There’s a lot if positives too if travelling with extended family!

    1. Thanks Gemma. It can be hard but it can also be an amazing experience and we have loved having my mother-in-law join us on some trips.

  2. Some great tips here! Traveling with extended family has always sounded like a nightmare to me, but maybe I need to give it a shot 😀

    1. It really depends Charlotte. We have travelled a few times with family but we get along with them when we aren’t travelling and we set ground rules before going. It makes travelling a lot easier.

  3. lol I loved the title, Are you crazy? I take trips with my parents and in-laws all the time and usually, it’s during the trip I say to myself.. Was I crazy to plan it!? Great tips!

  4. Oh, man, god bless you! I need to bookmark this and send it to my extended family lol. I can’t IMAGINE international travel with them! I mean, you love each other, but it’s a lot! Hahah nice post!

  5. Oh, this checklist is on point. All of these things will come up and make your life hell so it’s better to think twice! Not everyone is travel-compatible…

    1. Exactly Lesia. And unfortunately people don’t deal with these things before going away and then it can be too late.

  6. These are definitely handy tips! We’ve successfully travelled with extended family before but we’d be nervous about travelling with friends in case things didn’t go to plan! We’ll keep your tips in mind next time the opportunity comes up!

    Hannah |

  7. This is a great plan but my extended family is nuts and I would never travel with them. Hahaha
    My friend does it occasionally though so she might find this helpful.

    1. Haha totally understand that Patti. There are family members I wouldn’t travel with either!

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