Big family transportation – your input wanted

Back when we crossed the line from Large Family to What Were They Thinking with the birth of our 4th child, we upgraded from an econo-car to a minivan.  A few years later when we learned that we were expecting our 6th child and officially crossed into Crazy People Territory, we sold the minivan and bought an old Suburban.  We lived up north at the time and it was 10 years old, so it wore a skirt of rust around the bottom, but it had three bench seats and drove like a dream.  With room for seven children, we were set for a few more years.

But those years passed quickly, and before we knew it we were out of seats again.  Number 8 was on the way, putting our near-future headcount at 10 in a vehicle designed to seat 9.  It was time for the big move.

We thought briefly about a 12 passenger van, but we knew that there was almost zero cargo space behind that back bench.  It would be a challenge just to accomplish a weekly grocery trip with the kids in tow.  How would we ever make a road trip?  Prices and gas efficiency were nearly the same whether we chose a 12 or 15 passenger van.  Our choice was clear: with a 15 passenger van, we could take out one bench, giving us the seats we needed and the cargo space to make this vehicle practical for the needs of a family the size of ours.

So we bought a 15 passenger van on Ebay.  That may sound a little crazy, but we put more stock in Ebay feedback than in a salesman’s handshake.  This was a brick & mortar dealer 250 miles from us, with a solid online reputation.  Ebay feedback is hard to fake, and his buyers were happy.  We got a great deal on a van that has served us well for many years, so we’re happy too.

But now that van is 18 years old with over 200,000 miles on it.  It was rough inside when we bought it, and the years haven’t been kind to it.  Who am I fooling?  We haven’t been kind to it.  The seats are ripped.  The back doors won’t open.  There was never carpet, and some of the inside body panels were missing when we bought it.  The a/c needs work – in San Antonio this is serious – and there are a few other issues as well.  And the gas mileage is terrible.  We might as well be driving a bus.

What to do?  We have talked over at least 3 options:

1. We could put some money into our current van.  It would cost more than its current market value to make it comfortable, but it has proven solid and reliable over the years.  Maybe we should stick with the vehicle we know.

2. We could sell it and buy a newer, nicer van.  It wouldn’t have to be expensive to be a significant improvement over our current ride.  Would we be buying someone else’s problem?  Maybe.  That’s always a risk you take with a used vehicle, but what if our own engine blew up next week?

3. We could sell our big van and one small car, and buy two minivans instead.  We now have three drivers and will probably have a fourth soon, so this could be a very practical solution.  It would create some limits – one adult could not transport all the children alone, so if two adults are missing the family is grounded.  But it would also create more options. Two minivans would use roughly the same amount of gas as our big van, so we would use the same amount of gas to move the entire family – but we could move 7 people without firing up the gas guzzler.  Right now if we go in different directions, we use the gas in the big van PLUS the gas in a small car.  Two minivans would save gas in that case.  If we all went to the same place, we could leave at the same time OR one of us could take the little ones home early.

The third idea is intriguing, and I would love to know if anyone does this.  I’m a little nervous about the limitations imposed by not owning a vehicle big enough to hold our family, but I think the added freedom and flexibility would outweigh the occasional inconvenience.

What does your big family drive?  What would you like to drive?  What do you think your family should drive?


  1. My 5yo Sprinter will be for sale soon. It’s the current body style, seats 9. We are ready to downsize. Not sure how many seats you need. The benches can be purchased and switched out to seat up to 12; those seats would just be narrower. Mine has under 80k miles. I have loved it!!!! If your interested, let me know, or if you check out Sprinters in your area–I highly recommend them.

  2. We have 12 and our 15 passenger van is running on a miracle (seriously it shouldn’t have lasted as long as it has). We’ve considered the third option also. We do most everything locally and find it ridiculous to drive a huge van with only a few children anywhere…most of the time my older girls don’t want to run errands and would rather stay home and babysit. Then there are the times when I need to take only a few somewhere (like to karate class) and it doesn’t seem logical to take a big van, but the car doesn’t seat that many. So personally, I like option number 3.

  3. I say option 4 or 5 🙂
    Option 4 – get a shuttle bus. We have 8 kids. When are 15 passenger van died we got one. I love it! We have a lift and a cart to put groceries in. It is spacious and wonderful. It is a gas guzzler 8mpg. I told my mom it’s like flying first class lots of room.
    Option 5 – this is what we will do when we can. We only have me and my husband driving. A car for my husband to go to work – 1 hr away. It only fits 4 people 🙁 but you can’t argue with a gift 🙂
    The shuttle bus – go test drive one. Our ford drives easy like my 15 passenger. And a mini van so we can take some of the kids and get better gas millage.
    Just something to think about.

  4. Natalie says:

    I am curious what you decided to do. We are currently trying to make the decision between getting rid if the 12 passenger and going to two minivans. We currently have a minivan and a 12 passenger van. We have 8 children, our oldest is a driver, he will be 18 later this year and will graduate next year. We will also have another driver come February. We already drive two vehicles to church because they have youth after service. So, our biggest concern is vacation. Anyway, just curious about your decision.

  5. Christine says:

    We are expecting our 9th in August. 5 years ago we bought a 15 passenger Ford E350. It’s an ’06 and has less than 80000 miles on it. We love our bus. It’s comfortable, dependable, and seats all of us. We also have an ’05 Sienna for when i just take a couple of kids grocery shopping, or when hubby and I have lunch together on Saturdays. The easy fold-down seats on the Siennas rock. And my husband drives a beater ’97 Jeep Wrangler to work. We’re thinking of trading in the Wrangler for a truck, which would be more useful. Everyone is calling their 15 passenger vans “beast” but maybe it’s because they’re older models? We love ours and call it “the bus”. Maybe we just have great respect for anything that can hold our whole family. 😉

  6. We currently have an 8 passenger mini van, a 7 passenger mini van and a small Toyota Corolla. With 6 kids… soon to be 7 and the oldest driving this has worked wonderfully. The mini vans have some cargo space and the seats fold down easily for large grocery shopping trips. When we travel we place cargo toppers on the roof of each van. We found the overall gas, insurance and maintenance (brakes and tires) to be cheaper going this route. I know every family has different needs in different seasons of life so good luck finding your perfect solution!

  7. This is sort of off topic, but we just bought our first 12 seater 2 days ago! 🙂

  8. We currently have 5 kids still in car seats/boosters in our 9 passenger expedition and my husband has a small car. We are in the process of adopting though (as many as 3 kids) and that will put us over the limit on the expedition. I’d love to buy a 15 passenger (check, they sell used passenger vans with all captains chairs), but my husband would rather just tough it out and take two cars everywhere until we absolutely have to buy a bigger vehicle. That’s fine for in town, but it will eliminate any travel out of town.

    I think the two mini-van option sounds good for you.

  9. I have to agree with those who recommend the Dodge Sprinter. I haven’t looked at the prices, but the people I know who have owned one have loved it (even though they got a lot of laughs from others about their “bus”). I don’t have lots of kids (yet…I hope someday), but I think this would be the route I would go. A diesel Sprinter (not sure if they’re all that way) gets around 35 mpg, which is at least twice what most other vehicles that size get, and though diesel costs more per gallon, it’s never TWICE as much–usually 40-50 cents more (we drive a diesel Jetta) at least around here. You will pay for the car in fuel savings in a few years. Just my 1.5 cents. (Because I don’t really have any experience.) Best wishes finding something that works for you.

  10. I just read your comment about a Dodge Sprinter–we bought a used (2004) one (e-bay, New York City, but that’s a half day’s drive for us) four years ago when we were expecting our seventh, and we really like it. But we did hold onto our 7 and 8 seater minivans, until the one died and my husband now gets to commute in a small, amazing mileage car, I mostly drive the 8 seater, and there are weeks now where the Sprinter only goes to church (especially now that I have several children old enough to stay home/stay home and watch younger sibs). But, the seats are roomy, there is great storage in the back, we are short so most of us can stand up in the thing. And due to cost we bought it with higher mileage than we usually aim for in a used car, but we don’t use it as much. It really shines on vacations and road trips–we went out west with it last summer and the kids aren’t on top of each other, it stored our stuff and even hauled a featherweight camper.

    • Andie, it sounds like you’re loving your Sprinter! They do tend to come with high mileage but I hear that they are built to last, so the miles don’t mean so much.

  11. Have you considered 4 cars? My family is small 3 kids, and we are moving to 3 cars this year, silly since only 2 of us drive right, but with both our current cars coming up on 8 and 10 years old we want to have a back up car. (insurance on the extra car is less than one week in a rental car, I know cause we had to rent a car when one was in the shop for a week) I’m suggesting that you have the 2 gas efficient little cars for when one -three people are running somewhere, the minivans for that ability to split the family, late night event that you want to option of sending some kids home or going home early yourself, and the mega van for reminding the kids you are one big crazy family:D Making sure you drive it at least 2 times a month for family bonding and to keep the engine going.

    (just another note, my parents are empty nester’s and they keep 3 cars because one of my bother’s is always still needing to borrow the extra car, I am the only one in a different state, being able to borrow that car has been a financial life saver for each of them at some point)

    • Shannon, keeping 4 cars could actually be a good solution for us, especially since we’ll probably have a 4th driver soon and teens going in many different directions. It sounds convenient for all the reasons you list, and since we are content to buy and drive older vehicles the prime consideration would be the cost of insurance and maintenance.

    • I like this option to. Sounds good and makes sense.

  12. Sheila Mom to Seven says:

    Option 2. 🙂 We have an awesome 15-passenger Chevy van (with the Stabilitrack), and it’s been wonderful for our little family of 9. And, we got it on Ebay. It was in New York City, so my husband flew out there and drove it home – still cheaper than anything we’d found in our area (Iowa). Gas mileage is about 15 mpg (I think).
    So, if I were you, I’d just get a newer 15-passenger. 🙂

  13. well, we kept the “beast” (1999 Ford 15 passenger van), and bought a tiny car(Pontiac Vibe) we did this for several years, then when we had 2 teen drivers, we bought a used minivan and KEPT the other 2. we have gone from 10 kids at home to 6, the big van sits unless we need to all go together. we use the minivan most because replacement stuff like tires and such is so much less expensive. When we take trips, we often take the 2 smaller cars to give us more flexibility after we reach our destination. our big van is 15 years old, has almost 200 thousand miles on it, but we have kept it in good shape. We also use it as a truck when hauling building and repair supplies for our rental properties. For us it is worth having 3 cars. We also loan the big van to the church and scouts for outings and trips so it is sort of a “Van Ministry” 🙂

    • mybusycrew,
      Thanks – this is very helpful. It’s a good picture of where we would be if we just sold one small car and bought a minivan, keeping our big van for special needs.

  14. Amanda Wells says:

    Ford is getting ready to bring their Transit van to the American market ( it’s been in Europe for 30 years) and my husband really wanted to get one but I got pregnant with #6 before they became available (and he would not consider a suburban, he hates all things GM). If you can hold out for another year you might be able to pick up a cheap Econoline in a flooded market.

  15. We had a 15 passenger van for years (9 kids). and it was full of many happy memories. Thankfully, it ran into the ground at the same time we could down size to a minivan after oldest kids married, moved out,etc. You should consider how much time you spend traveling. We drive an hour to church, so I wouldn’t want to split up for that length of time. We’ve had so many good conversations in the van. If your normal trips are short, the 2 minivans may be the way to go. Rent a big van for family trips.

  16. We bought an rv… fits everybody, great for weekend fun, trips, and has a potty!! We use our small car and minivan for everything else.

  17. Currently we have 9 children. We have one driver in the family with another one getting her permit soon. Our Chrysler Town and Country minivan has been broken down and dead in the driveway for a year now. We currently drive a 1991 Toyota Camry with a missing back passenger fender and the front windows do not open, and the passenger side window is held up by duct tape. This car seats 5 people. We cannot go anyplace as a family unless it’s within a mile of our house because we have to make two trips. We are doing one more thing to the van to try and get it running. If that doesn’t work we’re selling the van to the junkyard. So, we could be in the same situation….right now it’s tough with the one car because I have to take Dave to work and then I have to plan my schedule around Russell’s schedule…, I get where you’re coming from! I think I’d go with the two mini vans. Yes, I’d go with two mini vans. I hope all of these comments will help in your choice!

  18. We drove two cars for about two years. Thinking back, it doesn’t seem like it was so bad, but I do remember hating every second of it at the time. Maybe I just wanted to sit in the passenger seat sometimes;) You still have young children – whether or not you might still have new babies seems a huge part of the decision..

  19. marion yoder says:

    As the oldest of 10 children I watched my parents make exactly the same decisions over the years, we just had to buy a bigger vehicle ourselves to accommodate baby #6 🙂 My family went with option #3, but kept “the beast” just in case. It sat around, collecting dust, rarely being used, until we got tired of it taking up space and hauled it to the junkyard. 2 minis are just easier. Easier to drive, easier to park, easier on the gas, added perk that some could go home early 🙂 it works well, we only used the big van for hauling goats 🙂

  20. Well, we are curently in a situation of a similar kind regarding the old used transport. But we only need one car so I am not sure if it is helpfull…. we are going to put some money into the old car with 280000km on it. We are going to redo the engin (this is very costly but the engin is like new after this) and we already fixed some of the seats and put some nice seat covers over them so you cant see the patching 🙂 we also plan to give it a respray later. For us this is much less then buying a new car and gives us time to save for a second car.

  21. I think it would be sad to not all be in one vehicle for family outings. But my oldest is only 9 and my season is much different than yours. So my opinion may change drastically. I did recently see a fun short bus while cruising through craigslist. Something like this might make a fun family travel vehicle while using something smaller would work for just around town. I would absolutely consider the possibility if our van needed replacing. The gas mileage is better than what we are getting in our 15 passenger. 🙂 Here’s link if your interested.

    • Yes, Momma Grower! We have toyed with the idea of a commercial shuttle or short bus. I would feel even sillier than I do driving a 15 passenger van, but it would definitely be a practical vehicle for the very large family, and the gas efficiency is comparable to or better than our current van. Perry has had his eye on the Dodge Sprinter for a while now, but I think it will be a while before they come down into our price range.

  22. Well, don’t get rid of the big van. Either invest in fixing up the one you already own or buy a new or newer one so you can all go together in the same vehicle whenever you are going somewhere together. Don’t split yourselves up into smaller vehicles and make it impossible to do so. You are a family and you should stick together. You should have a 4-door sedan for fancy outings and a Ford Ranger for utilitarian runs. There you go. Have fun! -Jamie

    • Are you suggesting they own 3 vehicles? Not very cost effective…

      • We already own 2 small cars which are in constant use because of the girls’ babysitting jobs and other events. If we had only one, the van would get far more use (and burn far more gas). So the larger question is, what should our three vehicles be? Two small cars and a big van, or two mini vans and a small car, or even one big van, one mini, and one small car? Or something else entirely?

    • Oh yes, Kim. I forgot to tell you what our family drives. We drive a big passenger van and a Ford Ranger. I’d like to drive a BMW. However, I see the need for a less expensive roomy 4-door sedan. Have a wonderful day!-Jamie

  23. We also have been looking at the Nissan NV, it looks awesome!

    • That’s what I want but can’t afford!! You can rearrange the 12 seats in so many different ways and it’s beautiful (at least I think it is).

      • The 300+ ways to arrange the seats is a little misleading. It’s 4 sets of 2 and 2 single seats. The third row can either be in or out–they fit nowhere else. The crazy number of positions of the other seats has to do with the fact that there are 2 positions for the 1st and 2nd rows–they slide back a few inches. The LATCH system is only in 3 seats; no rear facing seats directly behind the driver; and the 1st and 4th seat in the 3rd row are not wide enough for most car seats.
        All that said, it’s a wonderful van and we enjoy it (especially the lack if hanging seatbelt straps!) but the seating configurations for a large family are seriously limited.

  24. sarahelisabeth65 says:

    Really funny but our situation is similar to that of Amy Dorr. We have five children and Grandma living with us. One of our children is at university so only here part of the year. For several years, we had a 7 seater Zafira plus a Micra (officially seats 5 but really only 4 comfortably). We live in the UK where petrol prices are very expensive so it was better for us to be able to use a smaller car when possible. In addition, insurance was much cheaper for these two cars than for a van. We usually only used both cars to go to church, to go on holiday or on rare visits out of London with all of us. The downsides were not being able to travel with my husband (but I can’t sit in the front with him when Grandma is with us) and having to take both cars on holiday meaning that the only two drivers had to drive all the time.
    We’ve now gone a step further and got rid of the Micra. This means that when we are all here one of us goes on the bus to church and if we went any distance as a family, we would send an older child on the train. Public transport is good in England so this is a realistic option for us but probably might not be for you.

    • Sarah,
      I love hearing about the differences between cultures! I think public transportation here is much more expensive, slower and probably less safe than over there. A trip that takes 10 minutes in the car can easily take 2 hours on the bus, and trains are rare and expensive.

      • sarahelisabeth65 says:

        Yes, I think it is very different. In central London, it is hardly worth driving with having to pay Congestion Charge and expensive parking charges. Certainly, in the centre it is easier to use public transport. We are a bit further out but have excellent public transport. Obviously, this doesn’t always apply.

  25. We just relocated back the US after a three year tour in Japan, and really puzzled over whether to do the minivan OR jump right to the 12 passenger, since we’re pretty sure our family is going to increase quite a bit over the next few years and my husband would prefer to score a little beater-commutermobile and not have to constantly shift a bigger/nicer vehicle since we prefer to pay cash. Minivans, we were surprised to find, are a little tough to find low mileage/used for a decent price because most people drive them into the ground while they have their 2 or 3 kids at home and then ditch them asap afterward. Had it not been for the gas mileage issue (which we just couldn’t quite justify with only three kids currently and no commuter vehicle for my husband), we probably would have just purchased a 12-passenger van. Shuffling carseats, trying to keep track of what/who is in which van and who was driving, etc., I would think would be annoying. Is it possible to get a 12-passenger van with a rear seat that can be removed so that IF you need the extra cargo space you can go that route?

    Also, my husband hasn’t been home to hear this yet BUT….it sounds like that ‘spare’ bucket seat in the middle of OUR van, that we’ve been storing in the garage, will be needed sometime around December 😉 We have three boys, and I’m kinda looking forward to the 1-2 punch of, YES, this is our fourth and NO we don’t know the gender because having two-dozen size 3mo one-sies in the ‘proper’ color is not how I define “feeling prepared”.

  26. Elizabeth says:

    Sell the small car and get a minivan? You wouldn’t have the gas savings on the little car but, you could move more people cheaper than the big van. I would keep the big van just for insurance…. But what do I know? 🙂

    • Elizabeth, we’re thinking about that too. I thought about adding it to the list, but was afraid it was too similar to the other possibilities and might be confusing to explain. But you’re totally right – it’s a good idea, and one that might give the best of both worlds.

  27. Rachel Morton says:

    My husbands parents still have 7 of their 12 children at home, and they have been driving a Honda CRV and a Jetta for years now! And they travel all over the place just taking both cars. It serves their purposes well since there are 6 drivers at their house now.

  28. Me personally I would say go the 2 minivan route. As your kids get older eventually they will start moving out or driving their own cars, so the need for a 15 passenger van will diminish. Plus gas is expensive! And if everyone isn’t going at one time, it would be nice not to have to drive a huge van 🙂 Benefits to 2 minivans – like you said, younger kids can go home early from events/visiting/whatever, potential to save gas, you can keep kids that fight in separate cars lol, if one breaks down at least you still have some transportation and a way to get a good amount of kids around, etc. I honestly don’t see any drawbacks except maybe the insurance and vehicle maintenance on 2 vehicles instead of 1. We only have 3 kids (4, 2, 1) but my husband always drives separately from us when we go anywhere lol. That way if someone misbehaves or if I want to stay longer than he does, etc, we have the option of all of us not having to go home. Best of luck on whatever you choose!

  29. I’ve never been on the adult end of this, but, when I was a kid, my family did 2,000 mile round-trip road trips every summer, with a 15-passenger van. After a few of us older kids were out of the house, they switched to two smaller vehicles, which they have found very convenient and gas efficient. However, it does seem like the younger kids are missing out on a lot of the community-building, shared experiences from traveling in one group–there are different conversations, different stories, different interactions between groups in separate cars. On the other hand, the precise value of community building, in gas money, is a whole different question! =-)

    • Hannah,
      I do wonder about that. We sometimes have too much noise in our van, but we also have a lot of fellowship and even some personal sanctification happening in there! We already have several distinct groups among our children, and I want to do what I can to encourage them to mingle, not separate them further.

      • With two vans you could mix up the groups that tend to stick together, and they’ll have no choice but to get closer to one another. (:

  30. We only have 4 children, but we have two cars that seat 5, so any time we go somewhere as a family we take two cars. This typically works out fine, but we’ve never, and I mean NEVER taken a trip as a family when we were all in the same car. It’s almost as if we’re two families instead of one, and if I’m honest, it’s not fun. I want to take a trip with both my husband and my children. In my opinion, one big car is a must. We’ve been shopping for a 7 seater for three years and one of these days we’ll have one and take a trip with our whole family. How wonderful that will be!

    • Rebecca, I really don’t like it when Perry and I drive separately, but I suspect our older girls would love to drive separately while Perry and I rode with the little ones. 🙂 Of course we would have to keep mixing things up, lest one van turn into a teen party while Perry and I are thrown back in time by a decade. I don’t want to create the feeling of two separate families and lose our Big Crazy Family Feel.

  31. We’ve had our 15-passenger van (Ford E350) for 14 years — it’s 15 years old as we bought it used with 30K miles on it.. I love it. We also have ten kids, but four are now grown and off either on their own or in college. With “only” six kids at home, we could now downsize, but when everyone’s home it sure is nice to always have room! We have a little Toyota RAV4 which seats five that I use as a little run-around vehicle when I don’t have lots of bodies to transport. I feel your pain about the gas guzzler. Honestly, my van is sometimes only used when we as a family go to church. It is tempting to get rid of it, but aside from suspension issues typical to large Fords and the perpetually messed up rear A/C — recently fixed with duct-tape :), it is a very dependable vehicle that is paid for. I think I’ll drive it until the wheels fall off. And it is so full of memories.

  32. It would be practical much of the time to just have the two vans. However, if you take extended family trips, I would miss the togetherness of everyone being in one vehicle. Just my $.02 worth.
    And, of course, you are paying insurance and maintenance, licensing and all that, on the second van…

  33. I do believe ratchet strap car seat installation is unsafe and possibly illegal O: We have rear facing seats in our Eurovan and were informed by our local fire department that it is unsafe to install carseats in them.

  34. We have 5 kids, 4 of them living at home and a grandma that makes us a family of 7. We have a 92 VW Eurovan that seats 7 and a ’04 Dodge Durango that also seats 7. We are searching for a small econo car now because our oldest daughter is now a licensed driver. The 2 minivan idea is intriguing, however it is nice to have a small 4 cylinder to save gas.

  35. I would say invest in another 15 passenger van, I think you will probably regret it if you don’t.

  36. Our solution has been to make sure we still have a vehicle big enough for the entire family for church and vacations and hauling things and then to also have a 3rd vehicle that would fit a decent amount of kids for errands, grocery shopping, runs to kids functions when we don’t need to take everyone. But this is being made possible for us right now because my husband’s Grandfather is no longer driving and has decided to gift us with his vehicle so we’ll be getting the third vehicle for free. I’m not sure how easily we’d be able to manage it otherwise. But we’ve decided that as long as possible we’d like to have a vehicle that does actually fit the entire family.

    • Cheryl, this is actually a third option that we have talked about, a hybrid of the other ideas. We currently have one big van and two small cars which are in constant use. We could replace one car with a minivan for a little more flexibility without the limitation of not owning a big van. We would still need to use the big van to go anywhere as a family, though, since we won’t all fit in a minivan+small car.
      We would also still have to decide what to do about the big van – sell and replace, or put money into repairing/improving the old one.

  37. some of it would have to do with how often you travel with your whole family As our kids got older it became more and more rare for us to all go somewhere together except for church we finally downgraded from our 12 passenger van to a suburban which we could get 10 into by simply fastening two car seats down with ratchet straps in the back hauling area when we needed to get all 10 of us somewhere. Some of our kids had moved out by this time. We never put babies back there but kids or who were a bit less dependent on mom but still young enough to go in car seats. We also bought a rack that fit into our trailer hitch for the times when we wanted to travel with all 10 of us in one vehicle. We also have a roof rack although we have rarely used that since our longest hauls with the most luggage tend to be camping so we have a camper to put all that other stuff in. The two in the back can get a bit buried with stuff but they have been comfortable and I have found that a ratchet strap holds the seats stable better than a seatbelt does. They are also traveling backwards which should be safer right? I don’t know that the gas mileage is better than our van but my husband hated our van so he’s happier.

  38. HeatherHH says:

    We have #8 on the way and as our oldest is only 12, we’re sticking with our 15 passenger van (with the back seat out) for some years to come. However, one quick negative I thought of with the 2 minivan option is car seats. It doesn’t take that much time, but I hate playing musical carseats, and it’s nice having a 15-passenger where they all stay put. We would probably go the route of getting a new used 15-passenger van. We currently drive a vehicle (my husband’s work minivan) with over 200k miles, but we wouldn’t be willing to sink very much into it.

  39. I like the third idea, now that you live in town. Seems practical to me.

  40. We just went through this kind of decision. Baby #8 is expected soon and DH is deploying for a year soon after, so we went with a new van. I feel much better about this decision than the other options, but that’s because of our circumstances! We bought a Nissan NV and love it. Hope you discover the right choice for your crew, too.

    • I was thinking of the Nissan NV too… they’re not dreadfully expensive, though gas mileage still isn’t that great.

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