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Consider Bringing the In-Laws on your next Family Vacation

Here is why we think you should Consider Bringing the Inlaws on your next Family Holiday!


the Beautiful Beaches in Oahu can sumach more peaceful with you have an extra pair of hands!

the Beautiful Beaches in Oahu can sumach more peaceful with you have an extra pair of hands!

What? Inlaws? You must be crazy? I bet these are similar to the thoughts running through your head! But before you judge, consider this.


Watching one of the many parades on Kalakaua Ave with Grannie

Watching one of the many parades on Kalakaua Ave with Grannie

Our family of 4 consisted of Mom, Dad, 2.5 year old and 9 month old on our last family vacation to Hawaii.

Read Why Oahu should be on your bucketlist

We had packed the following:

2 suitcases with all of our clothes for 8 days (we packed about 4 days of diapers and bought some while we were there, we also had access to laundry)

3 carry-ons:

One for Matti filled with his own toys, snacks, sippy cup and a change of clothes

One for Markus with diapers, wipes, snacks, a bottle a few books and lots of extra clothes

One for Raimo and I with a few magazines, snacks and our wallets, cell phones and itinerary and confirmation information

We also gate-checked:

a stroller and

two carseats

Adding to that was a baby who was just crawling and a husband with a bad back. We either put the 2 carseats in the double stroller, threw the carryons on top and pulled the suitcases, but then had not arms for the kids. Or we put the kids in the stroller and one parent had to figure out how to move two car seats and two suitcases and three carryons! It was just NOT going to work!

Read our Guide to the Best Car Seat Travel Bag

why you should bring the in-laws on vacation carpe diem travel blog

Enjoying the Pool in Las Vegas with Auntie V

Did we pack a little too heavy? maybe

Well I was not willing to give in on the car seats. My kids safety was more important. You can read more about why we travel with carseats here.

And I was not “not” going on vacation.

So our solution.

The “Mother-in-Law” (my mum).

consider bringing your inlaws on your next holiday - carpe diem travel blog

Having an extra pair of hands solved the suitcase issue at the airport. It allowed us to have one person getting things done and the other two to deal with an active two and a half year old and an 8 month old crawler! This meant much less stress at the airport!

We had a rental car on arrival, having three adults meant one could load the luggage onto the shuttle while the other two could hold the kids.

We were able to have more freedom as we browsed the shops in “duke’s lane” in Waikiki, as there were three of us to watch the two boys. Or one to carry the baby in the ergo, one to hold hands with the two year old and one to browse. It’s impossible to do any shopping with two adults and two little kids, especially busy ones who don’t like to sit in a non-moving stroller!

Having three adults meant that I could lay in the sun for an hour while Raimo and Grannie played with the boys in the water or on the beach. It meant Grannie could wander the beach for pretty rocks or glass. It meant Raimo could go for a walk up Kalakawa. All of these things could be done without leaving the kids with just one person. We all know that feeling, when it seems like the other person is getting to have fun and you are “stuck with the kids.”

Walking Kalakawa Ave with Grannie in Oahu

Walking Kalakawa Ave with Grannie in Oahu

This allowed two adults to go out at night and one to stay home with the kids. Raimo and I were able to go out for dinner one night while Grannie stayed home with the boys. On another night Raimo and my mum wandered Kalakawa Ave and watched the fireworks at the Hilton, and I stayed home with the sleeping kids!

The third pair of hands made meals at the condo easier, one could make breakfast, one could shower and one could be entertaining the kids!

Lunch and dinner at restaurants was easier when the baby didn”™t want to sit in a high chair, we were able to pass him around the table and each one of us got to eat with two hands. This was all going on while someone would be entertaining our two year old toddler who had about 10 minute attention span!

This is not the only vacation we have taken with help. Maybe we sound lazy to you, but its not that we brought a babysitter to dump our kids off on! We went to Las Vegas with my sister-in-law for 5 days, and only left the kids alone with her for 6 hours one day, so we could get autographs at the NHL awards. We also left her with the boys after bedtime for a few hours one evening, so Raimo and I could go downstairs and gamble together for a bit.

Markus sitting on Auntie V's lap and having a snack en route to Las Vegas

Markus sitting on Auntie V’s lap and having a snack en route to Las Vegas

Even when we only had Mattias, at 10 months old we went overseas to London. It was great to have Raimo’s mom along with us as an extra hand with everything!

If travelling with your in-laws (or even your own parents for that matter) makes you want to pull your hair out, then maybe this is not for you. But if you have babies and toddlers and want to travel but feel overwhelmed at the thought of all of the stuff you need to bring, and worry about having an eye on your little ones when you navigate busy airports, or streets or beaches, then consider whether or not brining an extra person, will make your next holiday more relaxing!

We were able to bring my mom to Hawaii for only the cost of an extra plane ticket! She jumped at the opportunity to have a holiday for her little ones and was gracious enough to pay for the plane ticket herself! We had plenty of room at the Waikiki Sunset Hotel. So many hotels in Waikiki are condo style and we had a one bedroom. Raimo and I slept in the bedroom, with Markus in a playpen and Mattias on a mat on the floor . This left the pull out sofa for Grannie to have space to herself (if Mattias didn”™t insist on snuggling with her at bedtime!)

Heading to Las Vegas with Auntie V and Nana

Heading to Las Vegas with Auntie V and Nana

You will likely have some inintended consequences of bringing along your in-laws or any family member. It will give your children extra time to spend with people who love them and those people get to experience first hand the joys in your little ones, rather than just seeing post updates on Facebook or looking at photo albums upon your return. That time together is worth much more than the cost of an extra plane ticket!

I’m not going to sugar coat it and say everything was perfect. When you spend an expended amount of time with people that you are not used to being around all the time there is bound to be conflict! But overall, we have found that the extra help has allowed us to enjoy our vacation together with our little ones!

I highly suggest you weigh the pros and cons of your personal situation, but bringing the in-laws on your next family vacation with your little ones!

Check out these posts from some other bloggers about multigenerational travel:

Emily from See Her Travel on Traveling with her Parents.


Having and extra pair of hands means your vacation can be much more fun!

Having and extra pair of hands means your vacation can be much more fun!

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  1. Brilliant!! I totally agree! We take our parents as well. When we traveled long term last year, they visited us a few times for one or two weeks. It was amazing! My parents are now in the process of buying their own RV so we can travel together again.

  2. Yes yes a thousand times yes! I am a big supporter of multi-generational travel (or bringing-along-a-grandparent travel) for all of the reasons you state. My mom is usually the one that gets to go with us. You’re right, it’s not always confetti and rainbows (sometimes with my mom along, it feels like I have 3 kids instead of my 2), but the pros greatly outweigh the cons. My kids are making memories with their grandmother that they all will cherish forever!

  3. Tamara says:

    Since we live far from family we try to include grandparents or extended family in trips every other year or so. I couldn’t do every year because it is such a different dynamic but traveling together does provide such nice quality time.

  4. I have to say it’s always easier to bring your own mom than your spouse’s. You are used to your mom’s quirks and probably share some of them. your in-law’s quirks are a different story. We did the in-law thing once or twice when my daughter was very young and it was very stressful trying to navigate my needs as a new parent amid my husband’s complicated family dynamics.

    As my daughter has gotten older I’ve found some tricks to managing them better when I can’t avoid it. I realize it can be a great boon with the right boon. But it can also wind up being yet another thing you have to think through, plan and “manage.”

  5. Because we live overseas we often travel with both sets of parents when they come to visit – I even went trekking in Nepal with my kids and parents. I’m all for multi-generational travel!

  6. Kath R. says:

    Nice article. I think your point at the end about creating memories is so important.

  7. Katie Baird says:

    I love this post! I’ve brought the in-laws on occasionally on travel and it truly does make life easier to have more adults around, and the kids LOVE the concentrated grandparent time. Happy memories for all!

  8. I’m so glad to hear you had a great time with your mother-in-law in Hawai’i! We try to travel with each set of grandparents at least once a year. That’s our gift to them, and they appreciate it much more than getting more stuff for the holidays that will just clutter the house. Then when we get back, we make a photo album for them from the vacation, and they love it!

  9. Lisa P says:

    This is definitely something to think about! I can only imagine how much luggage is required for a baby! Diapers, formula, baby food! Doesn’t make me to eager to pack!