Okay, so for our trip we opted last minute for the rental. We needed at least 7 seats, so a mini-van was our only option. For some reason the mini-vans always seem to be rented at least a month in advance, and I had less than 24 hours to find something. I hit the internet, searching through all 3 car rental places in town, and prayed. Finally I found a place that actually had a mini-van available, and for a reasonable price! Relieved, I quickly made the reservation online and put that worry out of my mind.
The next morning, as we were getting ready to leave, the rental company called us and explained that there had been a problem with their online reservation system, and there weren’t really any mini-vans available. What they were able to do, however, was give us a free upgrade to a 15 passenger van for the same price. We didn’t really need that many seats, but we needed a vehicle. We accepted and it turned out great! Everyone had all the space they could possibly need on our trip, and there was very little complaining. Most of them could even stretch out and sleep in the seat they had to themselves. As a bonus, the kids were so far behind us they didn’t even bother asking every 5 minutes if we were there yet.
My largest worry was the increase in the amount of gas that this vehicle would use. When everything was said and done, however, we somehow still came in under our gas budget for the trip, so things turned out great.