Planning a vacation with your large family? You’ll need some giant-size assistance lest you go broke from rising costs.
Here are some economy hints from Barbara Cowsill, mother of the popular singing group, The Cowsills, who travels extensively with a brood of seven, ranging from John aged 20, to Susie, aged 8:
1. 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.
2. 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 fits two or more of the troupe. The extra laundry and cleaning bills are considerably less than the charges for over-weight baggage.
3. 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.
4. 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. Where ever 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.
5. 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.
6. Ever member of the traveling family carries one piece of hand luggage on to the airplane. Barbara’s makeup kit has room for extra scarfs and stockings wrapped in plastic bags. Daddy Cowsill’[s briefcase frequently is crammed with the last minute items everyone forgets to pack, such as hair-brushes and toothbrushes, shoe polish and sheet music for number the group plans to rehearse.
7. Everyone carries a raincoat on to the plane when traveling the experienced travelers often filling the pockets with odds and ends that otherwise increase luggage weight. Gloves, socks, a can of hair spray, small handbag, etc., can all be transported in this way.
8. It is often less expensive and more efficient for a large family to rent a station-wagon at the airport in which to drive to actual destination. With the per-person limousine fare, the per-diem charge on the wagon is rarely more – and often less. And this makes possible a tour of the city on the afternoon of the arrival at no extra charge.