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Want to start family tradition
Old 09-01-2014, 02:35 AM   #1
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Want to start family tradition

Hi-

DW and I are getting up there in years....we have 4 kids (two are adult and out of the house) and we'll have a first grandchild soon

We are thinking we would like to do some type of annual trip/vacation (something that we haven't done in the past, due to a lot of things) in the August/Sept months. Renting a house/cabin for a week on the coast in California or Oregon where you could go to the beach and swim, or even a lake where you could do water activities.

Have it be a place where we could take all the family and their spouses, kid(s) etc. A place to relax, have some fun, share some family time.

We would like to make a list of places to go as we would like to do this annually and change locations every year. Maybe repeat to the really good ones.


Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Hopefully this request make sense?!?
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:47 AM   #2
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Many families do this and it works well. You have to assume, however, that not all will make it every year. And, sleeping, cooking, food purchasing has to be coordinated to take care o all diets and be fair to the tastes of all. If you find a good place I'd look at the same place every year. Each new place means new sleeping arrangements, new restaurants, new food shopping choices, new kitchens to cook in. My wife's family did it for years, then the kids ended up with other activities but they all tried to join up when they visitied their favorite lake with good fishing and nice sleeping arrangements. Today, lots of grandkids, older kids have other plans and after 15 years, hard to get them all together. They talk fondly of the "old" days and wish they could repeat them. The "old" folks are now in their 80's and too sick to travel........good luck.......hope you have fun!
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:10 AM   #3
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My family used to have a tradition of renting a large house above Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountains each Thanksgiving. Right on top of the mountain with great views. Spent the days hiking and the evenings playing games and watching movies together. Everyone really enjoyed it but it faded out after my parents passed and everyone had more children and more obligations.

My one suggestion would be to keep your dates flexible since most kids are in school during Aug/Sept which will limit participation.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:21 AM   #4
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It's a good idea. But it's a lot more work for the organizer(s) than you might think. Also, changing places every year may be hard -- in our group those with kids and the older set don't like the hassles that come along with new locations.

For those with LBYM mindsets, the money aspect can be tough. It sucks to pony up for an 8-bedroom place and have 3 or 4 parties cancel last minute, or finally answer last minute with a "no". Then whoever is paying ends up paying double for a half empty place.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:24 AM   #5
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What a lovely idea!

Good friends have done this for years. They started renting for one week and now do two consecutive weeks at the same time, same place, every year. Their now-grown kids and grandchildren just come whenever they can during those two weeks. One of their kids now rents the place next to theirs for one of the weeks so they must want the teadition to continue.
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:31 AM   #6
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We have done this for several years . A few years we all went to Washington ,DC for Thanksgiving . One year Philadelphia for Thanks giving . Last year a rented house on a lake in the summer. Hopefully next year a cruise or a rented house somewhere . It creates great memories.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:15 PM   #7
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We have done this as well ... DW's parents and GPs started the effort about 20 yrs ago and as the kids have aged we have shifted from the big house/everyone comes and stays to more adventurous trips, incl. China, Argentina/Chile, Vietnam/Cambodia, England/France, etc.

In terms of cooking, etc., one of the best ideas we've had/done was to rent a house that came with a maid and cook. A true vacation for all involved.

I second the advice to be mindful of school schedules and flexible once the kids are in school ... but this is a great tradition we hope to continue as much as possible.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:33 PM   #8
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I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. Many helpful ideas.

But I was also wondering where, what towns/areas in California or Oregon that people have actually stayed at that they have enjoyed. If the water was still at swimming temp, if you had used VRBO? Pros, cons, were you off the beach, was it crowded?
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:23 PM   #9
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We have friends who have used VRBO with great success from Santa Monica south to Orange County. Most of that part of S Cal is very nice in Sept., but the water is cold (more or less that way all year ... under 70 at warmest, and that time of year will be falling). After Labor Day, lots of nice places will be open and beaches are generally nice and accessible.

Further north, the coast is more rugged/less accessible and the water is colder. For pure scenery, it's hard to beat Big Sur area -- pretty remote however.

Another good bet could be Monterey or Santa Cruz ... but water is cold/surf is pretty big. Lots to do there, and easier access from Bay Area airports.
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:58 PM   #10
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We've done this for about 15 years (well, my in-laws have funded it). We rent the same house (sleeps about 18) every year in the peak of the season (June or July in Port Aransas, Texas). By having it in the summer, the majority of the family can make it for at least part of the time - if we had it during the school year, several family members would never be able to partake since they are either in school or teaching school. Yeah, the house is more expensive in the high season, but there is a reason it's the high season. Not familiar with Southern California, but I'd make sure there is plenty to do for everyone.

The way we split up the responsibilities: Mother-in-law writes all the checks. For anything you want while you are down there. Adult children plan, shop and cook (something I enjoy, so it's no big deal), and the grandkids do the dishes.

It's ended up being a lot of fun over the years - we have many stories (some good, some not so good), and we always take a family photo with everyone who is in attendance (kids get to bring friends if they want).

It's a great idea.
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:29 PM   #11
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You may find that a semi annual tradition is better. My family has been doing one every other year for 15 or 20 years. Since we do them around Christmas time, that makes it easier for both sides of each family. This is an "on" year, and the total count is 36, including kids.

We went to a place in the keys two times. That place was called Rainbow bend. But now we go to a place that's more convenient to travel to. The current place is called River palms. Both places allow you to rent cottages. Although we have a coordinator each family is required to pay in advance. My parents have been known to help financially if someone is not ready to spend a lot of money.

We split up the meal responsibilities per day. So typically two families will take a particular dinner. Breakfast and lunch are just whatever's in your fridge. Being in a cabin makes it easy to managed breakfast and lunch.

We tried a cruise one time too. The decision is split but more of us like to go to the cottages. It seems like we have more family together time in that situation as opposed to on a cruise ship where there's always stuff happening.
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Old 09-02-2014, 09:27 AM   #12
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Coincidentally, this just came up with our adult daughters when they both asked if we'd be interested in resurrecting the tradition we established when they were both away at college of selecting a fun spot to meet and have fun, rather than simply flying them both home. We did Las Vegas, Manhattan and Chicago during the three years they were both away at school, and we had an absolutely fantastic time together.

Our response was an enthusiastic 'Yes!" of course, and we immediately offered to pay for the rental housing, with everyone being responsible for getting there, entertaining themselves, etc. I have no interest in getting down to this level of planning, and I think they really do need to have some skin in the game if this is truly going to become a treasured family tradition. If we encounter years where money is tight for either of them, we can simply keep the location closer to home so that transportation costs are not an issue.

The nuts and bolts of how I see this playing out is that we will each take turns selecting where to go (Key West and Kauai were my daughters first two location requests). We will research and make the bookings once they confirm their availability, most likely via either VRBO or Airbnb. Cancellation terms will be key since 'stuff happens' as they say.

We are a very, very active family, and we all love to travel, so my job, as I see it, will be to ensure there is lots of stuff to do at each location. I can see us funding one big group activity, and otherwise letting everyone have the freedom to plan their days their way, regrouping each night for dinner. IMHO it's important to think through what you do vs do not wish to do, financially speaking, so that this continues to be a joy, rather than eventually becoming something you resent.
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Old 09-02-2014, 10:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TallTim View Post
We have done this as well ... DW's parents and GPs started the effort about 20 yrs ago and as the kids have aged we have shifted from the big house/everyone comes and stays to more adventurous trips, incl. China, Argentina/Chile, Vietnam/Cambodia, England/France, etc.

In terms of cooking, etc., one of the best ideas we've had/done was to rent a house that came with a maid and cook. A true vacation for all involved.

I second the advice to be mindful of school schedules and flexible once the kids are in school ... but this is a great tradition we hope to continue as much as possible.

Sounds wonderful.........and extremely expensive!

Mike
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:38 AM   #14
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Actually, not as expensive as you might think. For the houses where we've gotten a cook/maid, it worked out in the end to be cheaper than renting 4-5+ hotel rooms and dining out - the house plus groceries plus the service was less, and we had leftovers for breakfast and lunch most every day.

In terms of the non-US trips, we've adopted a strategy of booking as a group through a tour company (Go Ahead and Smart Tours, among others, are ones with which we have had good experiences) .. and it turns out the tours are a good deal, esp on airfare and hotel. You do end up being marched around a bit, but when the whole tour group of 15-20 people is family/extended family/friends, it seems to work out. It really pays off as well if you have any issues in-country, like a cancelled flight or bungled hotel reservation, and then the local guide can manage it. DW particularly likes these b/c she would otherwise be the master planner and this approach allows her to just tune out and enjoy the trip. Again not for everyone, but if you have older (teen+) kids and adventurous folks, it can be a lot of fun. My marker for this is that our teen kids actually speak positively about these trips to their friends - secret hi-five for DW and I.
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