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Family Matters podcast: The cost of travelling as a family of 5

Family vacations can create strain on your wallet
WATCH: At last count, Statistics Canada found there were nearly 100,000 families in Canada with three or more kids. The jump from two to three children could cost you in ways you might not expect, especially when it comes to travel.

Calgary mom Caitlin Dillman says finding out she was pregnant with her third baby was a good surprise, but finding out how much it would now cost them to travel was shocking.

“If it was a family of four, it was in like the $3,500 price range and then all the sudden, prices range from like $5,600 and more,” said Dillman.

Wren Dillman sizes up his new shirt before heading to Hawaii. It will be the family’s first vacation as a party of five.
Wren Dillman sizes up his new shirt before heading to Hawaii. It will be the family’s first vacation as a party of five. Global News

She was looking into all-inclusive vacations for her husband and three sons. Wren, the youngest, will be two next year, marking the end of free flights.

“I can’t imagine how much food a two-year-old eats or how much space they take up,” she said.

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Dillman admits it will likely deter future vacations and may force them to travel separately.

“My sister’s in British Columbia, and my dad and mom are in Ontario. I’m going to be flying with one kid to Ontario or be driving with two kids to B.C. It’s going to be more complicated, for sure,” Dillman added.

Travel expert Claire Newell estimates families with three or more kids pay about 25 per cent more than families with two kids. For destinations in Europe, the price tag could jump by as much as 50 per cent.

“In certain European cities, they will only allow two, maybe three maximum, in a room. We have to get them two rooms,” said Newell. “More often than not, there aren’t connecting rooms or large family suites that they can even purchase so you’ve got to split up the mom and dad and then the kids.

“It becomes a very expensive and cumbersome type of travel.”

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READ MORE: Alternative spring break destinations you should check out that are often overlooked

On the Family Matters podcast, Newell offers up some tips for travelling as a family of five.

The Eliuk family on a camel ride in Dubai.
The Eliuk family on a camel ride in Dubai. Eliuk Family/ Instagram
The Eliuk family squeezes into a tuk tuk in Thailand, just one of the stops on their six-month family gap year.
The Eliuk family squeezes into a tuk tuk in Thailand, just one of the stops on their six-month family gap year. Eliuk Family/ Instagram
The Eliuk family posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The Eliuk family posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Eliuk Family/ Instagram
Hugh, Henry and Sydney Eliuk enjoying a break over the Mediterranean Sea.
Hugh, Henry and Sydney Eliuk enjoying a break over the Mediterranean Sea. Eliuk Family/ Instagram

On the podcast, we also check in with Stephanie and David Eliuk. They are nearing the end of a six-month vacation with their three kids. They’ve been to Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Dubai, Lebanon, Morocco, Spain and France. Did they get homesick? And what were the biggest costs they didn’t predict while planning?

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How to make a family gap year work
How to make a family gap year work

Connect with host Kim Smith:

Email: Kim.Smith@globalnews.ca

Twitter: @Kim_SmithTV

Facebook: facebook.com/kim.smith.765

Connect with producer Christine Meadows:

Email: Christine.Meadows@globalnews.ca

Twitter: @CMeadowsGlobal


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  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.