multigenerational family

As travel restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic lift, family travel, also known as multigenerational travel, is regaining popularity for many extended families. What are the best ways to plan a family trip? How can grandparents make traveling with grandkids (and their own kids) enjoyable? We uncover answers to these questions and as well as other family travel tips to help you plan a vacation everyone in the family can enjoy.

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How to Take into Account Everyone’s Travel Needs and Desires?

One grandchild loves the beach while another loves hiking. How do you go about planning a trip that can make each family member happy? The key is making sure the destination has something for all ages in your group such as adventure activities as well as opportunities for less rigorous endeavors like sunbathing, cultural demonstrations, or shopping. Beach vacations and trips to national parks can be good choices for multigenerational trips. Same goes for cruises, which often have onboard activities and entertainment options for all ages. If your grandkids love Disney, a trip to a Disney theme park might not work well for everyone in your group, especially if anyone has mobility issues and trouble walking for long periods of time. Grandkids can still get their “Disney fix” at a non-theme park Disney resort, including ones in Florida and Hawaii, or on a Disney cruise.

Shannon Bradley, a travel planning expert with Chicago-based Down Under Endeavours Inc., recommends for family trips booking accommodations that have a central meeting spot, like a shared villa. “Take into account days on the itinerary where everyone can do things together and then days when different age groups or nuclear families can do things separately,” says Bradley. “And then when they do activities separately, allow them to come back together at their central point to discuss their day.” In addition to having a central meeting spot, also have a central point of contact to plan the vacation. Bradley says one of the best ways to plan a trip is to have one point of contact in the family who is planning the trip and aggregating everyone’s needs and sightseeing desires.

It’s also important to select a destination everyone can easily get to, by air or car. People’s budgets should also be factored in when deciding on where to go. Some family members might be OK with splurging on a nice hotel whereas other family members might prefer to stay in more modest accommodations and then spend more money on activities. A conversation about expectations, for time budget, and activities, is a great first step.  

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Is Renting a Vacation Home Preferred for Family Trips?

“This really depends on the family dynamic, length of the trip, and budgetary requirements,” says Bradley. “In a place like South Africa, the family can do a camp buyout where they can eat and meet in the main lodge but then have separate tents for each nuclear family. This would be fully inclusive, and many times is great value when you split the cost across the family.” In other destinations, such as the Caribbean, Bradley says a vacation home is generally on the high end of a budget. Booking multiple rooms at a resort might be a better financial option. If you do book a vacation home, consider if it includes housekeeping or even a chef. Afterall, everyone on the trip gets a vacation. It can be great to have the option of not eating every meal in a restaurant, but the folks who usually cook at home might not want to be automatically pressed into service on vacation.

How to Get Affordable Airfares for When Traveling with Your Family

“Flying the same route is very helpful,” says Bradley. “All family members can meet at a central airport like LAX or JFK. Each family member secures their own flight to the central airport and then everyone flies the same route from there.” Depending on the size of your family, airlines offer discounts for groups of 10 people or more, so check with your airline to find out if they offer such discounts. “Best advice, plan in advance!” says Bradley. “Airlines release their flights about nine to 10 months in advance of a departure date. That is sometimes the best time to get flights as airfares are priced dynamically and the more inventory that is available, the lower the prices.” Private jets are also a good option depending on budget as everyone can fly together. If flying together is a priority, you can also consider buying out an airline’s premium economy cabin (which is often smaller than the economy cabin) so everyone is in the same part of the plane together.

More Family Travel Tips to Keep in Mind

Multigenerational vacations are very rewarding. They are a change to reunite with family and explore new places. Additional family travel tips include:

Make Memories Traveling with Extended Family

There is nothing like stepping out of your day to day to spend quality time in a beautiful location with two, three or even four generations of your family. Especially on the heels of so much isolation due to Covid-19, an extended family trip can be a way to make memories everyone in the family will cherish for a lifetime.

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