Let’s face it, traveling can be exciting, life changing and trans-formative for families of every age. As 70 becomes the new 50, 60 the new 40 and 50 the new 30, family members are more active than ever right now and enjoy traveling together. Travel is one of the most rewarding gifts parents and grandparents can give to their children. Whether exploring the world far from home or staying together at a nearby resort or camp is a chance for everyone to get to know each other and share and create lasting memories and powerful bonds that money can’t buy.
Traveling with your grandchildren or adult children does not have to be limited to theme parks or beaches or cruises, although all of these can be options. Family vacations can include cabin rentals in state or national parks; vacation home rentals on or near the beach; houseboat and RV rentals, ranch stays, bicycle trips, cruises and of course those all-inclusive resorts. These are just some of the family vacation options.. We definitely cannot leave out the traditional American favorite vacation the road trip in the family car or van, even if it dredges up memories of the hilarious Chevy Chase film National Lampoon Vacation. Regardless of which type of vacation is considered, it must be tailored to your specific budget and goals.
Here are some tips for multi-generational travel:
1) Have a family discussion
Plan the trip together. This cements the buy-in process. Talk about interests, activities and even dream destinations. Share suggestions with one another to help figure out what you all would like to be sure this trip together includes. You might be surprised by come of the suggestions!
2) Discuss expectations and goals for the vacation
Parents and grandchildren should talk about what they are looking forward to: including meals and/or shared activities. If only a part of the group is paying for the trip this discussion is particularly important. A grandparent once told me about a trip taken with her young teenager and didn’t realize until later that the vacation had included way too much sightseeing which was enjoyable to her, but not that pleasurable for the young man. Obviously more action activities had needed to be scheduled. The trip would have benefited both of more if the grandson had been given a chance to offer his opinion and included in the planning of the trip.
3) Pack a great attitude
Attitude is everything when vacationing with the family.Try to stay flexible and positive. Relax and go with the flow. This is a cliche, but absolutely imperative when taking a vacation together with the family. Children learn from watching how adults react to different situations! Try to be spontaneous. Some of the best vacation experiences are the serendipitous happenings!
4) Build in private time apart from the group
Shared memories are a goal, but if younger children are in the group, they will need time to burn off energy!
5) Capture and preserve your vacation memories
Keep a journal and share these special moments. Be sure and take lots of pictures, remembering to include your family in some! Pictures of “just” scenery can be anyone’s family trip but including a family member in the picture makes it your own! This is what makes the vacation a lasting memory and leaves a legacy for the future.
In the words of Mark Twain, Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness!