Pros and Cons of Taking Relatives on Your Family Vacation

A picture of a big family on the beach
Having your relatives comes along on your family vacation comes with both pluses and minuses. Photo © David Lees / Getty Images

Should you take a family vacation with your parents? What about your in-laws? Before you invite your dad along or scoff at the idea of bringing your mother-in-law on your family's getaway, consider these pros and cons of taking your relatives on vacation with you and your kids.

Pro: Split the Vacation Costs
Family vacations can drain your family's budget. You can cut vacation costs if you and your relatives agree to split the expenses.

Before you pick the ultimate vacation destination for your family, make sure your relatives are on the same page with you. Everyone should agree on what costs will be shared before booking a trip. Will you only split the week-long beach house rental or also share food and entertainment costs? Know upfront so unpleasant surprises are not the memory you bring home as a souvenir from your family vacation.

Pro: Built-In Babysitters
Ever been on a trip and wanted to explore a tourist attraction, venue or restaurant alone with your spouse? But if you're traveling with young children, you don't get to do those types of things without them tagging along.

Bringing relatives along gives you built-in babysitters. They need to know they'll be babysitting before you go and that you would like to spend some time alone with your spouse. You don't want to ditch your kids and the relatives so you and your significant other can practically spend the entire vacation alone.

However, you can go out a time or two for some quality time with each other.

Pro: Extra Hands
We could always use a helping hand. With relatives packing up and coming with you, you'll instantly have extra hands available for everything from lugging suitcases to bathing kids at night.

Just be sure you're not taking advantage of your relatives by assuming they want to help with every little kid detail.

In other words, as much as you want to, don't stick your mother-in-law on dirty diaper duty for vacation week or expect your dad to run out for kid meals each night of your vacation simply because you don't want to. Remember, it's their vacation too.

Con: More People to Coordinate
Coordinating a family of four is hard enough. Now make it a family of six or more and you've got a whole group of people to get together each day for every activity you want to enjoy together.

Rescue everyone with a simple break during your vacation. Let your relatives go do their own thing for a day and meet back up for dinner. Or volunteer to watch the kids so everyone else can go out to eat at a restaurant one night. Taking small breaks from the big group setting will help everyone maintain their sanity.

Con: Added Stress if You Don't Always Get Along
As much as we love our family members, we don't always get along with the,. Being closed up in tight quarters for a week can make you feel like you've been grounded and are back at your parents' house. And if you're traveling with in-laws, all of that togetherness can also take a toll on you mentally because your mother-in-law won't get off your back.

If you have frequent instances where you and your relatives don't get along, it may not be a good idea to travel with them.

Not only will you feel trapped because you can't go home, you'll also have a miserable vacation.

Con: Parenting Styles May Clash
Parenting styles often clash in our everyday lives. Now put a bunch of people in a room together and expect them to all have the same opinions on parenting and you could spend the week debating everything from bedtimes to foods your kids should be eating.

There's no way to prevent parenting style issues from arising but you should make it clear where you stand on the major issues. From sugary candy to spankings, you don't want to find out after the fact that something you never would have allowed happened when you weren't around.