Tips for Planning a Large Family OBX Trip

As a family we are lucky to have great relationships with our extended family. This allows us to take an annual family trip to OBX, NC. People are often surprised that we can take almost the same group each year and still enjoy it. I (Ruba) am the master planner of this trip each year so here are my tips:

Tip 1: Privately speak with each family and get a ballpark of their budget
Financials are important and each family has different years. If I know everyone’s budget early on I know what we can afford. If someone is having a rough year I can also privately speak to others about their willingness to buffer a portion of the cost.

Tip 2: Get a top three list of must haves for a rental house
At this point I have everyone’s non-negotiable items memorized but find out what others need or want in a rental house. I make a master list of the top three requested things before I reach out to the realty companies. Thankfully for the past few years we have rented the same house but that could change in the future.

Tip 3: Do not over plan every day
The Outer Banks offers more than a beautiful coast line with wonderful beaches. There is so much to see and do that it’s tempting to try and fit it all into one trip. We stay for a week each trip and typically wait until we are there to plan our week because we want an accurate weather report. The only thing we book early is our fishing/shrimping/crabbing charters. We usually have two days of no beach and checking out museums, go-karts, sightseeing, horse tours, etc. The rest of the week we announce things like when people are heading to the beach but we do not stick to a hard schedule. This allows everyone some freedom to explore their own activities without fear of missing out.

Tip 4: Over communicate
Everyone should get a master list of the location addresses, check in and check out times, grocery lists, etc. If it relates to the trip it is better to send it out than to assume others will not need the information.

Tip 5: Make sure you get along before the trip
A few planned BBQ’s prior to the trip (if you’re not close to people) can make a world of difference. Learning various family members’ communication styles, quirks, preferences, etc is so helpful when you’re going to live with these people for a week.

Tip 6: If you are the planner you are not responsible for everyone’s enjoyment of the trip
I struggled with this for years and got upset whenever I thought someone was not having fun. Finally, one of my great-aunts said “you worry too much and you’re not responsible for everyone else’s enjoyment” what she said was true. I planned and communicated everything which was my job and everyone else needed to make the most of their trip.

This trip started off with my cousin and I on the phone after work. We were overworked, exhausted and needed a trip somewhere. We had just turned 25 years old and decided we would sign a rental agreement for a house in OBX. I grew up spending most of my summers in Ocracoke, NC but due to the driving distance we opted for Corolla, NC.

Twelve years later this is an annual tradition for our extended family. The young ones in the families look forward to the trip each year for cousin time and playtime. The adults look forward to catching up with each other and spending time in the paradise that is OBX for a week. These memories are so special to me and I know the children will grow up with special summer memories of their summer trips.

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