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Keep It In The Family: How To Make Your Multi-Generational Vacation A Success

Written by  Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:00

Family HuddleImage from Dan Hurt

According to the 2014 Virtuoso Luxe Report, multi-generational family travel maintained its position as the top vacation trend in the US. Modern families are now more mobile than ever, and with an increased life expectancy, many grandparents enjoy a more active lifestyle than the generation that preceded them. As such, it's possible to link a significant shift in the dynamic of the modern extended family as a root cause.

Furthermore, the dynamic of the extended family hasn't only changed in terms of mobility and lifestyle but also in the attitudes that shape the relationships within them. Members of families are becoming more open with each other and want to spend more quality time with one another as a result. Consequently, a recent AAA survey has revealed that 36% of travelers plan to take a multi-generational vacation in 2014 – a 4% rise on last year.


Organizing a vacation across several generations isn't easy though, so how do you plan for success?


Focus On The Benefits Of Multi-Generational Vacations

As well as the opportunity to spend quality time in one another's company, multi-generational vacations provide several other appealing benefits that can help make them a success.


Cost benefits – The price is and always will be a primary consideration when considering what type of vacation to go on. However, when the number of paying adults increases, there is greater scope to split the cost of the vacation.

Or, you can look at it another way – more paying adults means there is more money to spend on a better vacation. For example, instead of paying out for separate hotel rooms, parents and grandparents can pool their money together to rent a larger villa. In addition, renting a villa expands your catering options, as you'd be able to stay in and cook as a family instead of eating out at a restaurant every night.


More hands to the pump – The excitement of the vacation can make looking after young children difficult. However, having more adults around makes it a lot easier to look after children. Plus, it provides more babysitting options for parents and grandparents who may wish to grab some alone time together while on vacation.


An arrangement of this nature can have the dual benefit of strengthening ties between partners as well as with grandparents/parents and children. But, in the interest of fairness, babysitting duties shouldn't be enforced on the same partners every night of the vacation…


Preparing For A Multi-Generational Vacation

The benefits make multi-generational vacations appealing, but planning the vacation so that everyone is happy can pose a difficult balancing act.


Embrace flexibility – On a multi-generational vacation you'll be combining three preferred daily routines – the children, parents and the grandparents. This may mean you want to eat at different times or everyone might want to use the bathroom at the same time in the morning. The first thing you will have to accept on a multi-generational vacation is that it will be different, so you'll need to embrace flexibility.


Time management – Different family members may have different priorities, so it is best to provide prior warning of at least an hour before everyone is required to be in the same place for a family meeting. For example, grandparents, especially if they're retired are not used to rushing, so may take longer to get ready.


Excursions – Kids, parents and grandparents will each have a different idea about what they want to do. As such, you could consider turning the planning of your vacation itinerary into a democratic process.


Ask everyone to come up with two suggestions for excursions or activities they would like to partake in and make arrangements to do the most popular. This way, everyone will get to do at least one thing they want. Plus, as a family, you will probably come up with some more interesting things to do than you would with just one or two decision makers.


Getting around – How you travel between destinations while on a multi-generational vacation will also require more thought and planning. The number of people traveling, especially over comparatively long distances, can make a journey by public transport a complex operation.

A rental car will provide more flexibility and make things easier. However, families embarking upon a multi-generational vacation need to think carefully about the rental car they choose because space will be at a premium. To help you make that choice and to provide you with an overview of what you'll need to consider, you can read our guide – How To Choose The Best Rental Car For Your Vacation'.


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