Planning the Perfect Multigenerational Family Vacation
I grew up with both my grandparents living on the same block as my family. Spending an afternoon with Grandma and Grandpa was as simple as walking across the street. In 2020, the U.S. Census is forecasting nearly 80 million grandparents, and with the typical extended family spread across the world, say hello to a boom in multigenerational family vacations. Combine that with higher incomes, early retirements, and more active grandparents, watch out world, here come the traveling grandparents to kick start Multigenerational Travel 2.0!
Multigenerational travel continues to grow with the number of American “grandparents” reaching the highest levels to date at 25 percent. Within that demographic, a whopping 35 percent vacationed with their grandchildren last year! (Find the Preferred Hotels survey on multigenerational travel here.)
Today’s active grandparents aren’t content to just read about a trip—they want in on the action. Grandparents prefer combining their love of traveling and joy of spending time with grandchildren into multigenerational family vacations, one of the most popular trends in travel today.
Traveling with multiple generations of a family is a great way to bond and make special memories, and travel offers nearly limitless opportunities to do so.
But a successful trip requires a few extra planning considerations—especially when your goal is to keep everyone happy.
Mom wants to relax and read a book. Grandpa and Dad want to fish, hike, and bike. Johnny just wants to have something cool to tell his friends about when he gets back to school, and little sister wants to spend every day at the pool. What’s a mom (or whomever is in charge of the family travel planning) to do—and how does she coordinate a trip for the diverse family personalities, at destinations that offer something for everyone, and that won’t break the bank?
Start with these tips for planning the perfect multigenerational family vacation:
1. Allow plenty of time to consider multiple options, opinions
With families spread across the globe, all with different schedules, and budgets, start your planning and coordinating at least a year in advance. Begin by gathering input from family members about their interests, activities, and dream destinations, then work from that information to offer up several appealing options. Take it to a family vote and let majority rule. Everybody can’t have everything they want, but at least everyone will have had a say.
2. Capitalize on your time together
The best way to enhance the time you spend is to consider renting a home or condo together. Plan for enough space for everyone, but together, you can also plan your meals and save money. This also allows for built-in family time. After dinner, the grandkids can watch a movie, play board games, or hang out in the pool while the grandparents catch up with their adult children over an after dinner drink or a game of cards.
3. Plan the big picture, but let others fill in the details
Once you decide on a destination, it’s best to leave the booking of optional activities to individual family members. A general destination such as a dude ranch offers plenty of activities for everyone to pick and choose from. When the family gathers for supper at the end of the day, everyone will have something to share.
4. Balance your togetherness with your private time
As much as we want to create shared memories, everyone appreciates alone time. Remember that grandparents aren’t accustomed to being around busy toddlers, and teenagers don’t want to spend every waking moment with their parents. Leave some open time in your schedule.
5. Go with the flow!
Remember, family time can be messy and maddening, whether on vacation or at home. Remind everyone that while your vacation may not be perfect, a family trip is an important once-in-a-lifetime memory in the making. Let go of expectations and just enjoy the moment.
After raising our 5 children and being blessed with 7 grandchildren, I earned the “Grandmom” badge honestly and with lots of lessons learned, boo-boos kissed, laughter, and tears. The biggest lesson learned? In the blink of eye, just like your children, your grandchildren will transform before your eyes from newborns to toddlers to teens to adults. That’s why I say “the family that travels together stays together.”
Booking your vacation getaway at Clanventure.com also takes the worry out of your family vacation – and you don’t have to pack the kitchen sink (literally). Everything you’ll need for small children (kid-safe pools, baby gear, stair gates, and more!) will be at your Clanventure home when you arrive.