Posted on 10/5/2021

Planning for A Vacation with a Large Group

Family reunions, graduations, or just the annual family get together are some of the reasons vacationers seek out a stay on the Outer Banks. If you're vacationing with a larger group, we have some pointers for planning a stress-free getaway!


First thing's first, this is the number 1 most important element of having a successful vacation. There are so many ways for all family members to stay in touch: group texts, Google Docs, Zoom calls, emails, and other messenger apps are all available to ensure everyone is in the loop.


If everyone is splitting the cost, it's important to establish everyone's budget beforehand. Ensuring all parties are spending within their means is key for a relaxing vacay. How vacationers decide to split the cost varies. Some prefer to divide per family (i.e. 4 families dividing the price 4 ways), some prefer to divide by room with a set price per room per night, or some will divide the total cost per person. This is definitely something that all will want to be in agreement on. Venmo, PayPal and other electronic payment platforms make vacationing in large groups so much easier.

REMINDER: Don't forget to check out our Guest Perks for ways to save!

Special Requests/Needs

Does someone in your group have a disability, is there a serious animal allergy in the family, or maybe someone can't leave their pet behind? These are all important things to consider when booking a rental. Someone with a disability may require an elevator or lower level access. Someone with serious pet-allergies may require a non-pet-friendly home, or vice versa, someone who can't leave their dog at home may need a pet-friendly home. These are all things to discuss with the group to ensure everyone has a comfortable stay.

Plan Ahead

If you're planning any large group activities, we have one piece of advice: plan early! With large groups, it may be a little more difficult to book things that can accommodate the entire party. Any excursions, dining out, or equipment rentals should be set in stone as far in advanced as possible. Something to consider is that for some of these plans, businesses may ask for group to split up. If you plan on going on a tour, boat, or dinner, be mentally prepared that they may ask you entire party to separate into smaller groups.


Make a game plan beforehand. Some large groups are more individualistic on dining -- everyone just does their own thing. Some may do large family meals, where the grocery shopping for the week is done together and the total is divided amongst each other.

Cooking at home is great way to utilize your space. If you plan on cooking large family meals in the comfort of your rental then kudos to you. It's a great way to minimize stress, save money, and guarantee everyone eats together. If it's not a "fend for yourself" type of dynamic, some groups plan it so that each family has a day where they're responsible for the meals. That family will cook and clean for the day's worth of the meals. It is that family's "day", and then the next day, another family takes on the responsibility. On the other hand, if you have someone who is more "culinarily-inclined" or wanting to do all of the cooking, then there's always the classic "you do the cooking up, I'll do the cleaning up" dynamic.

If you planned ahead and were able to secure reservations for dinner, then congrats! That's not always the easiest of tasks for large group. Regardless, remember that sometimes you can bring the restaurant to you! With big groups, it may be more time and cost effective. There are many great catering companies on the OBX who would be happy to fill your family's bellies. Southern Shores Realty has partnered with High Cotton, Dawn's Kitchen, and Black Pelican who offer great catering.


Vacation is all about having fun and relaxing! If there are any activities you'd like to partake in on vacation, work out all the details beforehand. This goes for tours, fishing, and any other excursions. If you want to play cornhole, go kayaking, or play your favorite board games, remember to set a designated person to bring X, Y, or Z. You don't want to arrive and hear "I thought you were bringing it", so secure who's bringing what well in advanced.

Sleeping Arrangements

Southern Shores Realty lays out our floor plans on our website. We recommend planning out the bedroom situation before arriving. While the spontaneity of "first one in gets to pick their room!" sounds like fun, it's just not the best way to start out a week together. Ensure everyone takes their time getting to the house, drives safely, and are all in agreement. Plan rooms out ahead of time so that mid-week bedroom switches don't have take place. Some people need to be near their kids bedroom, others may be up later than others, so they'll want a room near the living area, etc.

Designate a Water Watcher

Stay safe on vacation! With a large group, typically means many people in the water and on the beach. Designate a daily "water watcher" to ensure the safety of all involved. Remember, the OBX waters have currents, and it's better to be safe than sorry. Check out our blog on beach safety and check in with lifeguards if you have any questions about rip currents.

Travel Insurance

This is always an important purchase, but especially with a large group. The rentals that can accommodate large groups are typically pricier than the smaller beach boxes or condos. Naturally, with so many folks involved, there are a lot of moving parts. If a member can no longer make it due to a covered reason, travel insurance claims can be filed. Protect your purchase, and cover all your bases. We always highly recommend opting for insurance, but especially with a large group.

Ready to plan a vacation? Southern Shores Realty has Outer Banks rentals that can accommodate your large family.

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