When it comes to vacation trends, multi-generational travel is on the rise. According to the U.S. Travel Association, at least 5 million U.S. family vacations each year include representatives from three generations. Traveling with children and grandchildren is a great way to spend quality time together, especially if you don’t live nearby. For everyone to have a blast, some careful planning is in order. Here are a few tips for picking the place and making the most of it.
Choosing a Destination
Finding the right destination depends on your budget, the family member’s ages, activity levels, and interests of everyone involved. When it comes to traveling with multiple generations, the key is often picking a place that offers something for everyone. Here are a few popular options:
- Cruises: Cruises are perhaps the most popular multi-generational travel choice. You no longer have to worry about planning transportation during the trip, where to eat or what to see, and onboard activities run the gamut to entertain all ages.
- Theme parks: Family trips to theme parks are also a popular choice. Young ones will be thrilled, and the older generation will relive the wonder and nostalgia of their childhood. In the evenings, those who are tuckered out can stay at the hotel while others venture back out for round two.
- Resorts: All-inclusive, large-scale, and family-friendly resorts around the globe (especially those located seaside) keep transportation and daily schedule planning to a minimum, since there’s so much to do there. Children will be entertained for hours by pools, beaches, not to mention special programs, while adults can partake in some much-needed rest and relaxation.
- Culture: For older children, a trip to a city packed with culture, museums and architecture – like London, Florence, Washington, D.C., or New York City – can be a great way to merge travel with learning, and enjoy some of the world’s finest cities. Another option is visiting a place with historical significance to the family.
Multi-generational travel doesn’t always mean taking a big group. Planning a trip with just one child or grandchild can be a once-in-a-lifetime bonding experience and allow you to tailor the trip to what the two of you will enjoy most.
Multi-generational travel does have its challenges, too. To help ensure everyone enjoys the vacation, consider these tips:
- Don’t over-schedule. Allow down time and free time for spontaneity.
- Let the children pick some of the activities. Older children can be given website links or guidebooks ahead of time to allow them to read about different options.
- Consider what type of transportation will be needed and how much walking will be required and decide whether it is acceptable for everyone in the group.
- Remember that you don’t all have to stay together or in connected rooms! Sometimes separate hotel rooms or rentals that aren’t adjacent allow for more privacy and some needed time apart. Be sure to consider the right group separations for family safety.
- Discuss who will pay for what ahead of time so that expectations and responsibilities are clear, and you can maintain your target budget.
- Visit AARP’s travel page for resources and member discounts. Resorts and cruises may have exclusive discounts as well.
Wherever your travels take you, bringing family members along creates lifelong memories and stories to share for years to come.