Let’s face this fact….even if we personally love to travel, we may find that traveling with immediate or extended family is sometimes a difficult task! We love the thought of bonding without the usual distractions of home. We love the idea of experiencing new adventures together. But we also know that travel, especially with young children or elderly parents and grandparents can be unpredictable, sometimes difficult, and hard to plan. So why do it at all?
Multi-generational travel is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. The benefits of travel to you and your family are immeasurable. You will gain new perspectives of the world and of each other and create memories that will last forever. Through your family’s eyes, you will see the word in a whole different way. However, you must take stock of everyone’s needs and interests before you head out to explore the world. You want to keep the kids entertained, the grandparents pampered, and the entire family happy.
As you begin planning your initial adventure, schedule a family meeting to discuss your options. Let everyone have a voice in choosing the destination. If this is a new idea for your family, don’t begin with a whirlwind vacation. Instead, try to find a destination of interest to everyone and enjoy it at a leisurely pace. See a few sights, enjoy the local culture, and leave plenty of time to just explore and be together. Make it an engaging, restful, and educational trip. Just because it’s a family vacation, don’t feel that the whole group has to spend every minute together. Parents can be with their young children while the grandparents enjoy an art gallery or museum. Grandparents can have a special evening with the grandchildren while the parents go out for a romantic dinner. Families love getting out of their everyday routines and being in new situations.
Before you embark on your travels, make sure that you check out any safety or comfort issues and know how they will impact your trip. Two good websites are travel.state.com and smartraveller.gov.au. They both have general information about safety, security, and health in foreign countries. Also keep in mind the total travel time for your vacation. Don’t forget to include airport layovers and time changes. You want to make sure that after you have recovered from flights and jet lag, you still have enough time to enjoy your destination.
Multi-generational trips are not as easy as planning your typical vacation. They can be confusing and time consuming. My advice is to use the expertise of your local travel agent. An agent can match your family with the best vacation options and is knowledgeable about the latest promotions and early booking discounts. Agents work for you and will go the extra mile to help their clients- something you won’t receive when booking a vacation online. Working with an agent will help you receive the most value for your vacation dollars.
Planning and traveling with family may take some trial and error, but if you have not done it before, you should definitely try it. The memories you create will make it a worthwhile venture and help everyone to reconnect. That is the greatest reward of a family vacation.