Planning a vacation with your large family? You’ll need some giant-size assistance lest you go broke from rising costs.
Here are some economic hints from Barbara Cowsill, mother of the popular singing groups, The Cowsills, who travels extensively with a brood of seven ranging from John, aged 20 to Susie, aged 8:
• If you’re going by air, discuss matters with airline experts, who can tell you when family fares are available, how to route a multi-city tour, when flights serve meals, and other cost-cutting steps.
• To prevent overweight baggage charges, as well as the time and trouble of too much packing and unpacking, the Cowsill boys share their clothing since the same size often fits two or more of the troupe. The extra laundry and cleaning bills are considerably less than the charges for overweight luggage.
• When about to start on a motor trip, stop at a grocery store or delicatessen to get the makings of a picnic lunch. A couple of cold barbecued chickens, ham, cheese and roast beef sandwiches, cole slaw, and ripe tomatoes are the staples, with fresh fruit and cold drinks added at roadside stops. The picnic often takes place out of the back of the station wagon, parked in a sheltered spot.
• Doubling up is mandatory when booking hotel or motel space. Mr. and Mrs. Cowsill share a normal double room, sometimes adding a cot for 8-year-old Susie. Two other rooms, with three beds each, house the boys. Wherever possible, rooms are booked all in a row, or at least on the same floor, since there is a good deal of borrowing of toothpaste and sharing of clothes.
• The key words in packing clothing for Barbara and daughter Susie are drip-dry, dacron and BanLon. Such clothes not only can be rinsed out in the bathroom sink; they can be rolled up to fit the corners of the luggage. For the men and boys, drip-dry still holds, along with neutral neckties and socks, which can be worn with various outfits.