My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Seven tips for planning a multigenerational trip

2013/03/28by Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

For anyone with a large family full of varying ages, the stress of planning a group vacation can be similar to that of dancing on landmines. However, multigenerational travel doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, there are many things you can do to organize a pleasant trip for the entire family. Travel writer Lynn O’Rourke Hayes from Family Travel tells us how to not only enjoy traveling, but to enjoy it with multiple members of our family.

multigenerational travel fun

Lynn O’Rourke Hayes with her family on a multigenerational trip

Multigenerational travel matters now more than ever.

Between busy careers, financial pressures and geographic spread, it can be hard for the modern family to find time to plan a vacation, let alone take one. But given the hyper-fast pace of our lives, don’t we need time away together more than ever?

Here are seven ideas that may help you fast track a vacation with members of your extended family:

1. Time is of the essence. No one is getting any younger—not you, the grandparents, cousins or the children. Yet, before you know it, kids will be otherwise engaged with school or team responsibilities, summer jobs and college internships. And the oldest family members may be less able to get away or enjoy a meaningful holiday. So, get planning!

family fun on a hiking trip

Family fun on the trail

2. Share personal passions. Who loves to ski, play golf, camp or scuba dive? A trip with the multiple generations to indulge in favorite active travel pursuits is yet another way to share what is special to boomer family members and those in every age group.

3. Share stories.  Does your family include a World War II veteran? Did someone grow up inspired by jazz or classical music? Visit a war memorial like the USS Arizona in Oahu, take in a concert or music festival or visit the old stomping grounds. Take the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with the kids. It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there. And, remember, the elders are a part of the younger generation’s history.

Multigenerational fun for everyone

Sharing skills on a multigenerational trip

4. Learn a new skill together.  You’re never too old to learn a new trick! And the younger set will be impressed with your sense of adventure and curiosity. Learn to kayak, snorkel or spot rare birds in nature. Go snowshoeing, ice fishing or cross country touring. Find something that’s new to all of you and share the joy of learning together.

5. It’s only money.  Who isn’t worried about trying to save more? Budgets may be tight,  but a hefty account balance is no substitute for a memory bank brimming with great visuals of kids running on the beach, hiking in the mountains or climbing in the saddle for the first time. Allocate the dollars you can. Then be on the lookout for deals, promotions or creative low-cost options.

6. Sharing resources has rewards. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and godparents have the opportunity to bond with the next generation while giving weary parents a break and a chance to rekindle their relationship. More hotel companies and tour operators are reaching out to families of all compositions to help them plan a meaningful holiday.

7. Get help. For many, developing the plan is the hard part. There are travel consultants who specialize in helping families create multigenerational travel memories. They’ll serve up options ranging from cruises in the Galapagos Islands to train trips through the American West.

Poll the family to see who has skills or contacts that will ease the burden of mapping the details.

However you choose to share time with your clan, you’ll create treasured memories to deposit in your family’s history bank.

All photos courtesy Lynn O’Rourke Hayes.

Do you have experience traveling with multiple members of the family? Do you have any survival skills to add to Lynn’s list?

If you enjoyed this article, check out Suzanne Fluhr’s advice on multigenerational Alaska cruise.

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes is the editor of Family Travel and a syndicated columnist. The mother of three sons recently visited her 100th country.

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