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Multi-generational travel is becoming more and more popular; however, to be truly successful, a vacation that includes family members of varying ages with a broad range of personalities and interests involves a bit of forethought and planning. Below are some secrets, tips, and tricks that can help alleviate tension before it rears its ugly head, and ensure that a good time is had by all!
Financial Considerations -
Discuss ahead of time how the expenses will be handled. Money can be a tricky family issue, so establishing who pays for what should be done well in advance and candidly to prevent hurt feelings or resentment that could ruin a trip. Be open and honest about what you would all like to do and what financial limitations you have; often creating an itinerary for a larger group of people can be challenging because of varied interests and financial resources. Cruises and all-inclusive resorts are good options as they tend to be better value and more equitable for all parties. Likewise splitting the cost of a condo or houses can also help alleviate budget strain; jut be sure there is adequate room for everyone - you don't want to be so piled up on one another that you can't relax.
Great resources for planning: Vacation Rentals by Owner, airbnb (rental properties), Orbitz (cruises), Expedia (all-inclusive resorts).
Destination Deliberation -
If financial considerations are the sticky wicket, selecting your destination is the fun part! Take into account weather, activity preferences, and seasonal availability, and start your list of possible destinations and simply whittle down until you have chosen! Once the location is determined, have each family member write down what they would like to do and piece together your itinerary by combining common elements and closely located spots of interest. If there are wide gaps in interests, consider splitting up into separate groups for some activities!
Some of our favorite family fun spots include: National Parks, Disney World and Disney Land, Myrtle Beach, Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Anaheim, San Diego, and Chicago; most large cities are good choices because they offer zoos, museums, shows, and a variety of dining and shopping options.
Remember to Relax -
Having an itinerary is great - forgetting to build in some down time for relaxation and rest is not. Particularly when traveling with young children and older adults, rushing from one activity to another can breed weariness and exhaustion. So be sure to informally schedule some time for napping, relaxing by the beach or pool, or just sitting quietly and recording some of the great memories you are making in a journal!
Make Time for Multi-Generational Interaction -
It sounds so complicated, but in truth, it's quite simple: give your children time alone with your parents. These are the opportunities grandparents crave; time to share stories of your crazy youth and a chance to spoil their grandchildren with ice cream for lunch! Try to also sped time together; if it works for your family, consider having a "girls night out" or a"boys night on the town!" Enjoy one another and make time to create special memories together!
Capture the Magic -
When will you all have a chance to be together this way again? Whether it's a group selfie, a professional photo-shoot, or a snapshot taken by a passerby, be sure to get a picture of all of you together. And use a good camera. And take more than one shot. You'll treasure it always, and I promise your children will thank you for it one day!
Safe and happy travels!