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.
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.
According to advocacy group Project: Time Off, 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 Project: Time Off , 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. For more information: www.ProjectTimeOff.
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:
Here are five reasons why gathering the clan matters and how you can
make it happen sooner rather than later:
1 Today’s families are spread far and wide.
That means more effort is required to maintain and nurture family bonds. Spending relaxed, quality time with your extended family enables the generations to gain important insights into family history. Traveling off-season can provide savings.
During the summer, consider a family friendly beach resort in the Caribbean or in Hawaii where everyone can meet on the sand or by the pool for stories and water sports.
Contact: www.cheapcaribbean.com; www.GoHawaii.com
2 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 are reaching out to families of all compositions to help them plan a meaningful holiday. Preferred Hotels launched a website to help families find the right destination and activities.
3 The natural cure. Plan a multigenerational trip around camping, hiking, biking or fishing. Unplug from technology and tune in to the sounds of nature. Encourage the experienced to share outdoor skills that will serve youngsters for a lifetime. Any of nearly 400 national parks would serve as a grand classroom.
Contact: www.nationalparks.org ; www.childrenandnature.org
4 Active children can be great motivators for aging relatives.
Plan a vacation that enables young people to help their less agile relatives get moving.
Many adventure-travel companies specialize in making sure every member of the family receives the right dose of adrenaline from the day’s activity. Ready, set, go!
5 Show appreciation.
Did a member of your family serve in the military or provide some kind of public service? Honor their commitment by making a family visit to a memorial, battlefield, museum or other historical site that might encourage the sharing of his or her individual experience.
Exploring our nation’s capital together will provide an interesting context for any personal stories that might unfold.
Check out our Grandparent Travel Collection for more ideas on how and where to
travel with the grandkids!
Gather the extended family and share a travel experience.
Here are five ideas that will appeal to multiple generations:
1. The Family Cruise.
Choosing to sail as an extended family is a great way to see the world together without decimating the family budget. Whether your idea of a good time is relaxing poolside or tackling the high suspension rope course, there are options for every energy level on board the modern cruise ship. Access water parks and kids’ camps by day. Then check out teen clubs, plus family and adult entertainment by night. Spa lovers can schedule treatments, and often casino gaming is available for adults. Gather for dinner where dining options are designed to satisfy the picky and the piggy eater in your gang. Design your time together to suit your family’s unique interests. Consider using a travel agent to help wade through deals, itineraries and cabin configurations.
2. College Bound.
Include multiple generations in the college search. If grandparents are grads, consider a visit to the town where they earned their degree. Encouraging senior family members to revisit this important time in their youth will be meaningful for all. Include elders when visiting your own college town and encourage grandparents to share memories of delivering their teen to the dorm decades ago. Make plans to take the University tour, and then explore the surrounding area. By planning this time as a multi-generational experience, a bit of family history may emerge that has long since been forgotten.
3. Eco 3G Getaway.
Leave the wired world behind and gather your family deep in the rainforest on the banks of the Moho River in the southernmost region of Belize. Choose the solar-powered eco-lodge’s all inclusive package and enjoy birding, horseback riding, biking, kayaking and nature walks on 100 private acres. Tour nearby Mayan villages and linger to learn how chocolate is made at a cacao farm. Explore caves and waterfalls. Environmentally inquisitive family members will want to visit the organic garden and discover the local sustainability practices that include a reforestation project. Family-friendly cabanas are gathered around a central boardwalk.
Contact: 866-480-4534; www.cottontreelodge.com
4. Bike the Danube.
The active, extended family will enjoy a bike trip along the Danube River that enables speedy riders to scope out the best bakery in the town ahead while others linger along the scenic pathway. The route showcases medieval towns, castles, vineyards, cathedrals and magnificent scenery. With the cities of Passau, Germany and Vienna, Austria as bookends, the trip offers a storybook itinerary. Following an ancient towpath, there is little traffic and riders have the option to bike for as long as they wish. Once tired, they can hop on a train or boat and wait for the remaining bikers at the inn where the group will spend the night. Children’s bikes available.
Contact: 1-877-462-2423; www.BikeToursDirect.com.
5. Explore Colorado Springs.
Visit a high mountain zoo, the Garden of the Gods Park or tour the US Air Force Academy together. In the weeks ahead, this sunny Colorado city and the surrounding Pikes Peak region make it easy for your whole family to explore the area with their “Tank Full of Summer Savings” promotion. Travel industry partners, including tour guides, lodging establishments, restaurants and attractions, have extended discounts and offers designed to take the pain out of the higher gas prices at the pump.Contact: 800-888-4748; www.visitcos.com/fuel
Multigenerational travel is more important than ever.
Families are living geographically farther from each other than at any time in history.
A multigenerational trip is often the only option for today’s modern and mobile family to gather in one place.
The hyper-fast pace of life in the 21st century means evenings and weekends are no longer untouchable family time, creating a greater need for the escape that only travel can provide.
Baby boomers are trading in their briefcases for a roller bag.
Boomers now have the time, health and disposable income to make travel with their families a top priority.
Intergenerational travel is on the rise.
Busy family schedules and geographic distance sometimes prevent regular gatherings. Thus, “grand travel”, as one aspect of this growing trend is known, provides an opportunity for two generations to get to know each, and the world, a little better.
By spending time away, with parents out of the picture, grandchildren and their grandparents can forge their own special bond. Grand travel need not include a fancy holiday in a luxury resort or a visit to a trendy theme park. There are other options.
Here are a hand full:
Over the river and through the woods.
Invite the grandkids to your place and then paint the town. They’ll love getting comfortable in your home and seeing your local sites. Check in with your Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitors Bureau for an update on great options for kids. Consult parents from your neighborhood or church for family-tested ideas. See your home town through the fresh eyes of youth.
Share your passions.
Do you love to ski, play golf, camp or scuba dive? A trip with the grandkids to indulge in your favorite activity will give them the chance to know a special part of you.
Share a bit of your past.
Are you a World War II veteran? Did you grow up inspired by jazz or classical music? Did the ethnic neighborhood of your youth greatly influence the person you are today?
Visit a war memorial, take in a concert or music festival or visit the old stomping grounds. Take the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with the kids. It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there. And, remember, you are part of their history.
Learn a new skill together.
You’re never too old to learn a new trick! And the grandchildren will be impressed with your sense of adventure and curiosity. Learn to kayak, snorkel or spot rare birds in nature. Go
snow shoeing, ice fishing or cross country touring. Find something that’s new to all of you and share the joy of learning together.
Consider a cruise or all-inclusive resort.
With activities to appeal to every generation, food choices to suit the pickiest eater and itineraries to please the most well-traveled, such an option eliminates the daily decision making that can cause conflict.
Consult an expert.
For many, developing the plan is the hard part. There are travel consultants who specialize in helping families create intergenerational travel memories. They’ll serve up options ranging from cruises in the Galapagos Islands to fly fishing on wild and scenic rivers to train trips through the American West.
However you choose to share time with your grandchildren, you’ll create treasured memories to deposit in your family’s history bank.
Have you perused our Grandparent Travel Collection? It's a great resouce for finding just the right trip for you and your clan!