5 Tips for Multigenerational Travel – There’s a new vacation trending and the odds are, you may have already gotten in on the action! Planning multigenerational travel is one of the fastest growing areas for the travel industry and with all the positives involved, it’s not hard to see why! Whether living close together or a thousand miles apart, families are coming together to enjoy a break from the daily grind and the benefits for everyone are tremendous.
Three generational travel or 3G travel as it’s been called, sounds great to me. Grandparents are invaluable resources of patience and knowledge for my children and spending time with my parents is something I never find enough time for in my busy life. My kids love getting all the extra attention and I enjoy a little downtime when there are extra adult hands to help with childcare. 3G travel has gained popularity in part because Baby Boomer grandparents are healthier and wealthier (and younger than my grandparents were!) and have more resources available to vacation with their adult kids and grandkids. Many grandparents are still working but have been with the company long enough to be able to take some much needed time off or just working part-time. Millennial parents these days are always on the go, with jobs and responsibilities often encroaching on family time. Even though I am a home schooler, I can certainly relate to this. There’s always somewhere to be, something to do, someone to do those things for. Everyone is busy, even the kids. Schoolwork, sports practice, music lessons, dance, gymnastics. Kids these days have a schedule and it’s a busy one. They benefit just as much as the adults when everyone takes a break together, finding time to reconnect and relax.
So here are my 5 tips for planning Multi-Generational Travel:
Tip #1 – Eliminate the “Host” Family Family “get togethers” are changing. It used to be that if everyone got together someone had to host, creating lots of extra work for that person. It may have been vacation for some, but the host family most likely had to cook, clean and accommodate everyone. That’s not relaxing! But special time together creates bonds that money can’t buy! Togetherness is everything! But who said it had to be at home? Why not enjoy that togetherness and make some new memories along the way! 3G travel allows everyone to try new experiences, see new sights and spend time together with those that they love the most.
Tip #2 – Flexibility is Key So you’ve decided that taking grand mom and grandpa, mom and dad and the kids doesn’t sound bad? You feel ready to make a plan! Now the trick is to find a vacation destination that’s right for everyone. Get everyone in on this planning phase. Think flexible pace and activities the family can do together and apart. Traveling to please three generations requires a balance of flexibility, patience and planning. Keep the goal of spending quality time as a family in the forefront of all plans.
Tip #3 – Consider Everyone’s Budget – Families come in all shapes, sizes and financial brackets. Make sure everyone’s budget is considered. If your spending money is a bit tight, there are always free or inexpensive activities to do no matter where you go. Save money by picnicking or finding a place that has a kitchen so you can cook some of the family meals instead of eating out all the time. Just remember, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen or serving a big dinner. Keep things simple and have everyone pitch in. Remember that it’s okay not to be together all the time. Maybe grand mom and grandpa want to go out to a fancy restaurant and mom and dad know the kids won’t behave in such a place. It’s okay to go your separate ways occasionally and then meet up, maybe for ice cream later.
Tip #4 – Destination is the Key to Success! Where would your family enjoy? My family is quite active so we enjoy active vacations, but if we were taking the grandparents along, we may consider something a little less physical. All inclusive family resorts are always a good idea. Everyone gets a vacation because no one has to lift a finger to cook or clean! (See the Great Wolf Lodge video where there is something for everyone and no one has to cook or clean) Your family may like a beach resort, a mountain resort or even a lakeside retreat. Campers in your clan? Family campgrounds offer activities for every member of your family and accommodations range from rustic tent sites to luxury cabins. Fresh air, no timelines or deadlines. A cool night, a roaring fire and some campfire songs can bring a family hours of joy and make memories that they can look back on when life returns to its normal hectic routine. (see where my family loves to camp – Cape Henlopen State Park in Southern Delaware)
Another fun idea is to do a city vacation. Big cities like New York or L.A. can be intimidating, especially trying to keep a group together as you travel around town, but what about a mid-size city like Cincinnati or Salt Lake City? Smaller cities still offer lots of fun family destinations like museums, aquariums, shows and great restaurants, but they won’t be as hard to navigate. Try a trolley tour or a bike tour if everyone is willing. Try something new and learn together. Let grand mom learn a new skill from her grandson or mom and dad can take a few hours to regroup as a couple and try a new adventure.
Tip #5 – Take a Cruise! Multi-generational cruises are currently gaining in popularity too! Budget blues and boredom be gone! The price is upfront, big spenders can book a luxury cabin while those who may have to be a little more cost conscious can book inside cabins. On a cruise, almost everything is included and there’s something for everyone! Adults can enjoy dinnertime entertainment, kids can take part in exciting kids only programs and classes and the food… It’s everywhere and oh so delicious! Musical shows, comedy acts, movies, buffets and expansive sea views. Plenty to keep those who are active busy and plenty of relaxing opportunities for those who are looking to just kick their feet up and relax. You definitely won’t hear “I’m bored” from grandpa, your husband or the kids! There are even teen only clubs for that hard to please teenager and poolside lounging and late night disco for those 20 somethings in your group. Seniors can play bridge, watch the game from a sports bar or get a treatment at the spa.
Many people don’t realize this but if you have a large family booking a cruise and everyone books together you can request rooms side by side or just across the hall from each other! Disney of course is our favorite cruise line – safe, fun, wholesome fun! A short 3 day cruise was our decision when we decided to bring grandmothers from both sides of the family on their 1st multigenerational vacation! The shorter cruises are super affordable for budget conscious families or folks with grandparents that don’t wanna be at sea too long! As a Disney Social Media Mom (2016) and Disney Vacation Club member you’ll find that Walt Disney World shares a soft spot in my heart!
Whatever your choice of destination, multigenerational travel is worth looking into. Spending time together is priceless and as relationships are strengthened, so are the bonds that last a lifetime. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us. Our parents age, our children grow up and us? Those millennials in the group that may soon have to care for our parents not long after we’ve finished caring for our children? We deserve a break too and spending that time with those who we hold the dearest to our hearts is what vacation is all about. Multigenerational travel is the wave of the future. Why not dive in and plan your next vacation with each generation in mind.