This summer, for the first time, my wife and I and our two kids will spend a week at the beach with her family. It will be nine of us all together under one roof. There will be lots of personalities and lots of fun.

But before the fun can commence on a trip like this, a lot of planning and preparation goes into it. If you're about to embark on a similar adventure, you know that you have to decide the location and which home you want to rent, among a million other decisions.

Here are some things to think about as you plan a big family summer getaway.

1. Split the Cost

Sharing one big house has obvious benefits: the convenience and the sharing of costs. But each person must be comfortable with the price tag, and that requires being upfront and honest about it. If someone cannot afford the home that everyone else wants, how do you deal with it? Does someone else pick up part of the cost to make it work? These are some of the difficult questions you need to answer. Another issue is setting a deadline for everyone to pay up. It’s likely that one person will front the money on a credit card and everyone will need to pay them back. You need to make sure that happens quickly and completely.

2. Discuss Necessary Amenities

It might be a good idea to ask everyone which three amenities they’re looking for: pool, game room, proximity to beach or mountains, fire pit, boat, etc. Make a list of everyone’s favorite things and see if you can find a house to match. It’s likely that someone will be unhappy, but they might have to just deal with it.

3. Plan Sleeping Arrangements

Before you select a house, make sure the sleeping arrangements cover all possible contingencies. Are there enough bedrooms for the kids? Who’s sharing a room? Establish these details ahead of time.

4. Map Out Meal Prep 

An important element of this trip will be the food. Who’s going to be doing the cooking? Will you go out to eat? Will everyone fend for themselves? Another consideration is the shopping list. What does everyone want to eat, and how often do you plan to shop? No one wants to shop while on vacation, so it’s a good idea to divvy up the responsibilities. Lastly, set a budget for everyone to pitch in so your housemates have an idea of how much the food might cost.

5. Assign Transportation Duties

It’s important to decide if everyone is pitching in to rent a car or two. This will help plan out excursions, making life much easier once you arrive. You also need to know who will be on the rental agreement so they will be authorized to drive. Also, make sure everyone realizes that they need to pitch in for gas.

6. Plan Activities

If there are activities everyone wants to do while on vacation, make sure you plan ahead to book tee times at the golf course or rent a boat for a day on the water. Again, cost is a concern and so is scheduling. It’s likely that you won’t be able to please everyone, but planning early will make this a much easier discussion.

7. Consider Everyone’s Sleep Habits

There’s not much you can do about accommodating everyone's sleeping habits. Some light sleepers and early risers might not appreciate the night owls in the family, but that’s part of being a family and part of being on vacation. It is a good idea to gently remind everyone to respect each other’s needs and try to be on their best behavior. 

8. Be Sensitive to People’s Financial Needs

Some family members might have lots of disposable income and others may not. That might be a source of contention when deciding what to do or where to eat. Try to be cognizant of that and pick a restaurant or activity that everyone can afford and enjoy.

9. Beware of Triggers

We all know each other’s buttons to push to get under their skin. When you are living under one roof again — even for just a week — it might be very easy to become aggravated and angry. Try to keep the peace for the sake of everyone in the family. This is a vacation, after all.

How do you stay sane during a big family trip? Share with us in the comments!