Geographic spread, busy careers and hectic school schedules can make planning a vacation challenging. But, carving out time with the people we care about often ranks high on our priority list.
Here are five ways it may work for you and members of your family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - to gather.
Skip-gen or Gramping
Family life is busy. Remedy: skip-gen or gramping vacations. Parents get a break and grandparents and grandkids get to know each other without the filter of mom or dad on the scene.
Grandparents: why not take the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with your grandkids? Are you a World War II veteran? Did you grow up inspired by jazz or classical music? Did the ethnic or rural neighborhood of your youth greatly influence the person you are today? Visit a war memorial, take in a concert or visit the old stomping grounds. It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there than what they’ll find in school books.
And, remember, you are part of their history.
Planning ahead to celebrate birthdays, graduations, retirements and anniversaries can be an important touchstone and meaningful part of a family’s legacy. With plenty of advance notice, the odds increase that more family members will be able to take part in the fun. Consider a cruise, a dude ranch or an all-inclusive resort for your gathering. You’ll find a long list of intriguing itineraries and appealing destinations from which to choose. With activities to engage every generation, food choices to suit the pickiest eater (and plenty of volume to satisfy hungry teens) you’re sure to see smiles all around. Separate sleeping quarters provide the privacy and flexibility required for early birds, nappers and night owls.
Rock Star Relatives
Are you an amazing aunt, an unbelievable uncle or a cool cousin? Perhaps your birdlings have flown the nest or your own kids have fur and four legs. Either way, you may want to join the increasing number of relatives choosing to explore the world with youngsters as their trusty travel companions. Share your passion to fish or hike, learn a new skill together or plan a mutually engaging adventure to a National Park or a far-off land. You’re certain to return with a deeper bond and memories to share for a lifetime.
The true value of a family gathering has less to do with boarding a snazzy cruise ship or checking in to a faraway resort. That option might not be in the cards for your crew right now. It’s more about the quality of a shared experience. So, whether you are planning a small gathering in a state park picnic area or a mass meeting of the clan, organization will be key. Gather input regarding a budget, destination and lodging preferences, activities and meal planning. Get a date on the calendar as soon as possible. Communicate well and often. Keep your sense of humor at the ready and be grateful that at least some portion of your family is eager to spend time together.
With relatives spread far and wide, our best friends often become “like family”. Traveling with another crew, particularly one with children of similar ages and interests, can be fun and festive. Still, proper planning can go a long way toward keeping relationships and expectations intact. Family groups often choose to share a ski cabin, beach house, or urban condo. That can mean divvying expenses, transportation, room assignments, cleaning and cooking.
Avoid misunderstandings about how time and resources will be allocated with a clearly defined plan before your holiday gets underway. No matter how much you enjoy your vacation buddies, carve out private time with your own family. You’ll be glad you did.
Take part in a family fly-fishing adventure and you’ll wake up in some of the country’s most pristine places.
Here are a handful of fabulous places to consider:
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
For an extraordinary angling experience, consider an overnight trip on the South Fork of the Snake River. On day one, you’ll hone your skills floating through some of the most coveted water in the western United States.
Later, as the sun sets, arrive at the South Fork Hilton, a fully-outfitted camp ,tucked in the pines with a steep canyon wall as backdrop. The overnight includes a deluxe dinner, tall tales, roasted marshmallows around a campfire, and a good night’s rest in cozy platform tents.
The second day promises stunning scenery, 16 miles of braided waters and the opportunity to expand the adventure wading around gravel bars and up side channels. The trip is ideal for a multigenerational outing.
Stunning scenery, diversity of waterways, plentiful fish and an enthusiastic community of guides combine to make Montana a top notch base camp for your fly-fishing adventure. Spend a day on the Madison River with Joe Dilschneider, owner of Ennis, MT-based TroutStalkers and your family members will go home with more than basic casting skills. You’ll learn to “match the hatch”, fish pocket water from a raft and how to maximize a day on the famed Madison River. A day on the Yellowstone River, a long stretch of blue-ribbon trout habitat or nearby spring creeks will also make for great memories.
Formed by the confluence of the Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison rivers at Three Forks, the mighty Missouri River flows 700 miles across Montana, and is considered one of the most productive trout fisheries in the west.
The small town of Craig is among the numerous launch points from which families explore this storied river. Expect a picturesque landscape, trophy trout and the opportunity to imagine Lewis and Clark navigating the same waters.
Jackson County, North Carolina
With more than 3,000 miles of trout streams and 1,100 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in the mountains alone, North Carolina is a fly-fishing haven. Home to the nation’s only designated fly-fishing trail, the Western North Carolina Fly-Fishing Trail takes anglers to 15 prime spots in the Great Smoky Mountains to cast a line. Expect a variety of options from wide-open rivers to small, secluded streams. The heart of the trail, the Tuckasegee River, or the “Tuck” as it’s known by locals, is the county’s largest body of water. Designed by two outdoorsmen and fly-fishing guides, the trail is an ideal way for fly-fishers of all skill levels and ages to learn the art of fly-fishing.
Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania
The Letort Spring Creek, Big Spring Creek and Yellow Breeches Creek, two classic limestone spring streams and one freestone stream are considered “hallowed waters” and have enticed fly fishers to the area since the 1800s. Enthusiasts can expect to cast for brook, brown and rainbow in the local streams where a variety of riparian ecosystems provide diverse fly-fishing opportunities. Consider a stay at the Orvis-endorsed Allenberry Resort where fly-fishing packages are offered. The Valley is also home to the Pennsylvania Fly- Fishing Museum.
Sun Valley, Idaho
This mountain town is perhaps best-known for its famous ski slopes. But the region’s gold-medal waters make for yet another reason to nudge Sun Valley higher on your family vacation list. You’ll be on the hunt for rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout on Silver Creek, the Big Lost and the Wood rivers as well as in pristine mountain lakes.
Tap into the town’s vibrant cultural scene or strap on skates for a whirl around the ice rink at the -famed Sun Valley Lodge.
Traveling with multiple family members and friends can be fun and festive. Or, fraught with complications.
Proper planning can go along way toward keeping relationships and expectations intact.
Here are five tips to consider:
1. Choose wisely.
Give careful consideration to the families and friends with whom you choose to share your precious vacation time. Your favorite cousin is a great storyteller at the Thanksgiving table but are you game for an extended visit? Parents you know from the sidelines of the soccer field might show different colors in a holiday setting away from your hometown. Consider hosting a casual planning party to discuss specific destinations and details before making final plans.
Family groups often choose to share a ski cabin, beach house, or urban condo. That can mean divvying up expenses, transportation, room assignments, cleaning and cooking. Be sure to have a clearly defined plan before your holiday gets underway to avoid misunderstandings about how time and resources will be allocated.
If you sense close quarters could be uncomfortable, suggest staying in a resort or hotel where individual rooms will provide each family more time on their own.
3. Bring reinforcements or research local options.
With a covey of kids under roof, bringing along helping hands can save sanity. Your favorite neighborhood teen might jump at the chance to help out in exchange for a few dollars and the opportunity to experience your chosen destination. Trade time off during the day for evening duty, so that grown ups can enjoy a quiet dinner or a night on the town. Check with your resort or the local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for reliable childcare recommendations.
4. Style matters.
Not everyone’s vacation attitudes and parenting styles are in sync. Before departure, consider discussing issues ranging from bedtime and use of technology to strategies for handling mealtime and clean up with the other adults. Then share expectations with your family before the fun begins. If your children typically make their beds, minimize TV time and eat what they are served, it can be awkward if their travel pals are watching cartoons while waiting for a parent to create a custom waffle and squeeze special orange juice.
5. Plan private time.
Novelist and travel writer, Pico Iyer says, “We travel, initially to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and to learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.
So be mindful of who we are, where we are going, what we are bringing with us and what we leave behind. Each and every day get up and ask yourself, why the hell not?
Be fearless. Be independent. Be bold. Out dream yourself and just go."
Girls – as in grandmothers, mothers, daughters, aunts, and nieces – are more likely than ever to "just go" and explore the world together.
That, according to multiple research reports that indicate an increasing number of women are seeking new adventures at home and abroad. Here are five to consider:
This global adventure travel company has recently launched a series of women-only expeditions in Morocco, Iran and Jordan, encouraging female empowerment and showcasing the traditions and routines of local women in each destination.
The itineraries, guided by female tour leaders, are designed to break the barriers of traditional tourism in these locations, offering a deeper understanding of female culture in each of three Middle Eastern nations. For example, travelers will have the option to visit a traditional hammam with local women in Morocco, spend time with a female shepherd in Jordan and experience the nomadic life of rural people in Iran.
Travel makes women feel on top of the world. - Trafalger*
As boomers check destinations and experiences off bucket lists, they are often eager to include other family members in their adventures. This, in part, has contributed to the significant rise in multigenerational travel. At active travel companies like Country Walkers, more women are joining their well-curated trips, often in the company of sisters, daughters and nieces. Immersive guided and self-guided walking and hiking adventures are possible in destinations from Iceland and Ireland to Zambia and New Zealand. The Travel Together program means a helpful consultant will coordinate the various needs, interests and requirements of family members. You’ll also garner savings when six or more join a guided walking adventure.
She believed she could, so she did. The vast majority of women believe traveling has made them more independent. - Trafalger*
In response to a significant increase in women booking their trips as well as requests for more cycling, walking, trekking and responsible wildlife tours, the 40 year old company has added itineraries they believe will help women of all ages and interests to push their own personal boundaries. Consider trips to China, Myanmar, Iran, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and beyond. The departures, which will include four to sixteen travelers, will be led by local female guides, creating more career opportunities for women across the globe.
Chebeague Island Inn, Chebeague, ME.
For those family members eager to reconnect or celebrate a special life event, a getaway to this island inn might fit the bill. It will be easy to unplug and focus on good conversation around a beach bonfire or while sipping a glass of wine aboard a classic schooner as your group sets sail in Casco Bay. Dine on fresh seafood and local ingredients harvested from the island farm or the garden behind the inn. Take in a yoga class on the lawn, ride bikes to the General Store for lunch or set out on island trails for a breath of fresh air.
Recent research revealed that when planning a trip, adventure outweighed luxury by 20% among the women surveyed. So why not channel your inner cowgirl, and gather the gals for a ranch-style getaway. From horseback riding and hiking to fishing and cattle rustling, a trip to the wide open spaces is sure to inspire the wild hearts in your group. If rustic isn’t right up your alley, there are plenty of ranch destinations where gourmet meals, yoga and spa treatments as well as luxury accommodations are on the menu.
* Award winning travel company, Trafalgar, recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 U.S. women to discover how travel both empowers and inspires women. The study illuminates all of the reasons #SHEGOES – with nearly three quarters of American women believing that travel makes them stronger and regardless of what’s happening in the world today – 86 percent of women continue to travel unafraid.
Considering an extended road trip? A global adventure? A train trip? Or an RV outing with the kids or grandkids? There is no time like the present to explore the world with your family!
Here are a few family travel trends to consider as you tinker with your plan:
Multigenerational travel continues to strengthen.
While technology may make it easier for modern and mobile families to stay in touch, there is no substitute for building sand castles on the beach, snuggling with the grandkids on the porch swing or giggling through game night around the table.
That’s why an increasing number of extended families choose to spend long weekends, holidays or “milestone moments” together in a vacation-style setting. Destinations, resorts, cruise ships and even theme parks continue to add programs and packages that make it easier to plan a grand getaway.
Short-term rental properties, complete with kitchens, multiple bedrooms and space for kids to play are also popular for large family groups.
There's an emphasis on experience.
From backcountry challenges and wild river runs to history-rich walking tours and cultural immersions, the trend toward outings that deliver a meaningful and memorable experience continues. Look for travel brands to offer more personalized, transformative experiences, intended to inspire even the youngest adventurer and his or her parents. Expect more opportunities to learn from, dine with and hear songs and stories from locals in your next destination.
Contact: https://www.broadmoor.com/the-wilderness-experiences; www.Oars.com; www. Intrepid.com; www.UrbanAdventures.com.
Whether you travel deep into a national park where the signal soon fades or simply close the lid on a technology box provided by the resort, families are voting to turn off the tech and tune in to each other. While the idea may cause short term consternation, reports from families who have gone cold turkey on tech are encouraging.
Once liberated from the lure of Insta stories and sports scores, the generations are free to converse about the adventures at hand. Whether you journey to Siberia, a nearby resort, or your favorite backcountry escape, connecting with nature and those you hold dear will provide a healthy does of energy for the year ahead.
A family of foodies.
More families are making food part of the fun on family getaways. They are shopping at farmer’s markets, picking apples in the orchard, tasting local honey at the beekeeper’s shop and seeking fresh, palate-pleasing options for each meal of the day. They are introducing young explorers to distinctive local fare and encouraging the kids to sample new tastes and textures. Expect more cooking classes for every age group.
Young families will increasingly seek out cities like Tucson, recently designated North America’s first UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, where hometown resorts take pride in their on-site, organic gardens and serve up fresh and thoughtful fare at every meal.
More and more parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends are embarking on adventures with their favorite young people. Expect more cruise ships, tour operators, resorts and ranches to extend the welcome mat to adults traveling with kids on their own. Be on the look out for group family tables, "family cocktail parties", special departures and the waiving of single supplements.
Now is a good time.
Family travel is no longer relegated to a few weeks in the summer or the official Spring Break. Expect more families with pre-school age children, homeschoolers, parents with flexible and location-independent work options and those who consider a family trip the best kind of education possible, taking to the road when the timing best suits them. Off peak travel provides the modern and mobile clan the option to find better deals, fewer crowds, more availability and that most satisfying, serendipitous experience that often manifests on the road less traveled.
Kids Sea Camp and Family Dive Adventures are rated #1 in family dive vacations. They have been taking multigenerational families on scuba vacations around the world for 18 years. “Grandparents tell us that we are hands down their first choice for a family vacation with their grandkids,” explains Margo Peyton, who runs the company with her husband, Tom Peyton. We provide one week vacations that have activities and fun for every member of the family. “
Kids Sea Camp offers daily ocean oriented programs for kids age 5, 6 and 7 called SASY where they are snorkeling and learning about the ocean. Kids ages 8 and 9 are learning the first stage of diving through daily Aqua Missions in the PADI Seal Team. Kids ages 10 and up and adults can learn to scuba dive. They cater to all levels of divers from vacation divers to experts and underwater photographers.
Also offered: 15 college accredited programs, culinary classes, wine tasting, paddle boarding, yoga, jungle biking, hiking and scuba diving. Kids Sea Camp is all inclusive of accommodations, meals, excursions and activities. The trips are fully escorted and include destinations such as: St. Lucia, Bonaire, Galapagos, Palau, Belize, Cayman Islands, Roatan, Philippines, Sea of Cortez, Indonesia, Yap, Saba, St. Kitts, Grenada, and the Maldives. “Grandparents tell us that what matters most to them at this stage of life is time. Time with their family, their grandkids and they want to create lasting memories” explained Margo Peyton. “How cool is it that a grandchild can get certified to dive with their grandparents and create memories to last a lifetime?”
For more information: www.FamilyDivers.com
Family Divers is a member of the FamilyTravel.com Grandparents Travel Collection.
If you would like additonal assistance planning or booking a family trip, we can help.
Venture to Turks & Caicos for an exotic, tropical island getaway.
If you are thinking “exotic” and “family vacation” isn’t a perfect match, think again. At the Beaches Resort, on this picturesque island, expect 12 miles of powdery white sand and turquoise seas, paired with music and dining experiences, water-based fun and kid’s clubs designed to engage every member of the family.
For each member of the clan who has ever dreamed of getting away from it all and finding a tropical hideaway, far removed from all the hustle, bustle, fuss and muss of modern life – Beaches at Turks & Caicos is that rarest of discoveries, a true island escape.
When planning a multigenerational vacation, Grandparents want to make sure each member of their family feels comfortable and engaged.
Not to worry.
An all-inclusive resort, Beaches offers an extensive menu of options. Expect a 45,000 square-foot Pirate’s Island waterpark, a comprehensive scuba diving program, five magnificent villages, with multiple room and suite configurations, boasting the architecture and ambiance of Italy, France, the Caribbean and Key West, plus 21 specialty restaurants.
While parents and grandparents relax on the beach or spend time at the spa, Beaches offers kids special attention with tailor-made, age-appropriate activities. They're always supervised and it’s all-included.
Beaches Kids Camps ensure team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament, and expertise to cater to all children, including those with autism and other special needs, and offer specific programs for infants, toddlers, pre-teens and teens.
For the smallest newborn to those up to 24 months, Beaches provides luxurious, climate-controlled nurseries-filled with cribs, strollers, high chairs, rocking chairs and everything a little one could need. Certified Nannies are on hand to care for your little ones.
Toddlers will have a blast with their very own set of activities, supervised by Certified Nannies. Time at the toddler pools, shell collecting, face painting, treasure hunts, puppets, costume time, magic shows, sand castle building are part of the program. Children must be potty-trained to participate in this age group.
Beaches celebrates the energy and enthusiasm of those in the pre-teen group, offering sailing, snorkeling (ages 8-10), swimming, beach volleyball, beach soccer, scavenger hunts, glass bottom boat rides, pizza making, and reggae jam sessions.
Teens can expect pizza and soda bars, their own "nightclub" with karaoke, and places to hang each evening. They will enjoy group water sports, boat cruises, pool Olympics, tennis clinics, karaoke, discos, dance parties, talent shows and more.
Long after the vacation ends, Grandparents will smile hearing the kids talk about their fun snorkeling, sailing, diving, meeting Sesame Street® characters, or meeting new friends in the Xbox Play Lounge or the teen disco. And of course, the special time shared as a family.
For more information: Beaches - Turks & Caicos
Beaches is a member of the FamilyTravel.com Grandparents Travel Collection.
If you would like additonal assistance planning or booking a family trip, we can help.
One of the hottest trends in travel is EAT vacations. We’re not talking about tours with celebrity chefs. Rather, families are looking for trips that provide memorable Experiences, real Adventure and Transformative moments.
Here are five ideas that may fit the bill.
1. Discover Palau.
Located in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, Palau, an archipelago of more than 586 islands, consistently ranks as one of the world's best dive destinations. Pay off for the lengthy travel time includes 1,450 species of fish, 500 species of coral as well as rare sharks and stingrays.
You may have heard about the opportunity to snorkel amidst the moon and golden jellies of Jellyfish Lake. For now, the lake is closed to snorkelers while the environment recovers from complications of drought. It is still possible to hike around the 12,000-year-old marine lake where scores of gelatinous creatures waft through the water following the arc of the sun.
When not diving, snorkeling or kayaking through the turquoise waters tap into the country's considerable WWII history that incudes sunken ships and planes.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Fans of the Tomb Raider film series will particularly enjoy exploring the Angkor Archeological Park, unfolding deep within the Siem Reap province. While hundreds of archeological and artistic temples and ancient structures remain, the most familiar (it’s on the Cambodian flag) is Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century to honor Vishnu, a Hindu God, the temple's bas relief galleries inform modern visitors of life in ancient times.
Also of note is the remarkable water system, including moats, canals and reservoirs, that once provided water and crop assistance for the thriving communities. Visitors arrive via river cruises on the Mekong or a stop in Siem Riep where lodging and tours are plentiful.
Choose your backcountry.
For an EAT trifecta, establish a pure connection with nature, off the beaten path. Hike, paddle or float into a pristine location where your family can learn or hone their wilderness skills. Choose a destination suitable for the ages and abilities of your crew. Encourage each person to take responsibility for the adventure whether that is early research, carrying a small pack, collecting kindling or serving as master storyteller around the fire.
For the youngest set, get started with an overnight in the backyard or a nearby park. That way, should the weather or unforeseen forces create a kink in your plan, warm and dry shelter is nearby.
Contact: www.Backcountry.com; www.NPS.gov ; www.Huts.org
The Dalí Museum. St. Petersburg, FLA
The budding artist in your clan will be transformed by a visit to this 66,450-square-foot museum that houses the most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dali’s works in the world. Enjoy the priceless collection of masterpieces, paintings, photographs, watercolors and books sure to inspire the whole family.
Younger children will enjoy the “Dillydally with Dali” program offered daily, which includes puzzles, games, story hour and creative expression. Be there on the first Saturday of the month, for Breakfast With Dali, a morning that includes a junior-focused tour, followed by a buffet breakfast. Children under five are admitted free.
Boundary Waters Canoe Trips. Ely, MN.
Ease your canoes into the pristine water and look forward to peaceful days of paddling amidst a sparsely populated, one million-plus acre expanse of wilderness. Listen to the waves lapping against the shoreline and the haunting lullaby offered by local loons as you drift to sleep in one of 2,000 secluded campsites that dot the lake region. Wake to the sounds of birds chirping in the birch trees and enjoy breakfast over a campfire. Then set out to explore more of the 1,500 miles of canoe routes that crisscross the waterways.
According to U.S Travel, more than half of American workers leave unused vacation days on their company’s board room table. Meanwhile, the research shows that by planning ahead, more families will actually take much-need vacations and thus reap a multitude of personal and professional benefits.
Here are five ideas to consider:
Make planning a priority.
Whether you begin by tossing up a tent in the backyard or strategizing to experience a safari in Africa, there is no time like the present to begin planning a family vacation. As children and grandchildren get older, their schedules become more complicated by their own commitments making it more difficult than ever to plan time together. With dates on the calendar, you’ll feel less stress at work, knowing you’ve provided the boss and coworkers with plenty of notice about your plans.
According to research, 75 percent of those who plan ahead were more likely to take a full week or more of vacation in a single stretch. By crafting a strategy in advance you’ll have your pick of departures, the best cabins on a cruise ship and more options in popular resort areas. While you are at it, scan the year ahead and be the first to claim vacation days around existing holidays and school breaks, creating a longer stretch for relaxation and enjoyment. Knowing good times are on the horizon, you’ll have the added benefit of anticipating the getaway.
Taking time to create a thoughtful bucket list can make it easier to plan for meaningful vacations, those that are a deliberate reflection of your values, hopes and dreams. So before you begin listing desired destinations, ask yourself what aspects of the world - geographically, spiritually and culturally - you want to share with your children, grandchildren and perhaps other friends and family members. As your ideas take shape, know your list will evolve over the years. Therefore, think about which destinations you hope to visit while your children are in the nest and which might best be saved for later. And, when it comes time to involve the children in creating the bucket list, remember that kids don’t know what they don’t know. Certain theme parks and resorts will likely be on their radar screens. But they may not be aware of the glories of Yellowstone or Yosemite or the historical significance of Gettysburg or Montpelier.
Celebrate milestone events.
Geographic spread, busy careers and school and sports schedules make it more difficult than ever to spend time together. Therefore, planning ahead to celebrate birthdays, graduations and anniversaries can be an important touchstone and meaningful part of a family’s legacy. With plenty of advance notice, you’ll increase the odds that more family members will be able to take part in the fun. Ask your clan to save a date and then get to work creating a gathering that will be a lasting memory for all.
Reap the benefits.
In-depth research indicates that Americans who take time to plan their vacation time in the year ahead are happier than their come-what-may counterparts. Planners are happier with their health and well-being, their financial picture, their personal relationships and even their overall mood, according to the research. Further, an overwhelming majority of American workers report that time off helps them relax and recharge, and offers the opportunity to pursue personal interests Nearly two-thirds of employees say their concentration and productivity at work improves with time off. Business leaders echo this sentiment. Of those surveyed, 91 percent believe employees return from vacation recharged and renewed—and ready to work more effectively.
Ready to make a plan? Find out how we can help or check in with our FamilyTravel.com Vacation Planner!
Take advantage of National Plan For Vacation Day. #TakeFamilyTime
If you don’t have children of your own or yours have left the nest, it’s still possible to experience the joys of travel through the eyes of a child.
Plan a trip to any of these five places with a niece, nephew, grandchild or young cousin and you’ll forever be a rock star relative: