Multigenerational family travel is a big thing. Seriously. Today’s grandparents are much more active than in the past. We love to travel, and we love to spend time with our family. Multigenerational family travel combines both passions for grandparents. But how to start without going down the rabbit hole? We have tried and true ideas and tips for multigenerational family travel planning. Because we’ve been there, done that and want to share with you and your family.
This post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company). While I have received financial compensation, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Tips for Multigenerational Family Travel Planning
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I grew up with both my grandparents living on the same block as my family. Spending an afternoon with Grandma and Grandpa was as simple as walking across the street. With the typical extended family geographically spread across the world, say hello to a boom in multigenerational family vacations.
Statistics Multigenerational Family Travel
In 2020, the U.S. Census is forecasting nearly 80 million grandparents. According to research conducted by Preferred Hotel Group, 40 percent of all active leisure travelers hit the road or the skies for at least one multigenerational trip during the previous 12 months. That’s more than 20.8 million travelers in the U.S. alone! Combine that with higher incomes, early retirements, and more active grandparents, watch out world! This new active breed of traveling grandparents is ready to kick start Multigenerational Travel 2.0 — and we have ideas and tips for multigenerational family travel planning.
What is Multigenerational Travel?
Today’s active grandparents aren’t content to just read about a trip—they want in on the action. Grandparents prefer combining their love of traveling and joy of spending time with grandchildren. One of the most popular trends today is multigenerational family vacations. Traveling with multiple generations of a family is a great way to bond and make special memories, and travel offers nearly limitless opportunities to do so.
The definition of multigenerational travel is families who want to spend more time with their extended families search for destinations that can host larger groups. It’s group travel but with the family twist. Think reunions, but more intimate family moments. These trips involve multiple generations of extended families, usually at least three, possibly four. These vacations may extend beyond grandparents, adult children, and grandchildren into siblings, nieces, and nephews.
What is Skip-Gen Travel?
Oh, now this family travel trend is my favorite! Also referred to as “gramping,” skip-gen travel is the ideal time to bond one-on-one with your grandkids — either one at a time or several a time. I’ve taken road trips and solo trips with just me and my grandkids including one last summer to The Bahamas with my 12-year-old grandson.
Planning Meeting with the Multigenerational Family
Grammie wants to relax and read a book. Your adult daughter wants a spa day. Grandpa and Dad want to fish, hike, and bike. Grandson Johnny just wants to have something cool to tell his friends about when he gets back to school. Little granddaughter wants to spend every day at the pool.
What’s a grandparent (or whoever is in charge of the family travel planning) to do? And how does she coordinate a trip for the diverse family personalities, at destinations that offer something for everyone, and that won’t break the bank?
Start with calling a family meeting. Plan a family dinner to meet and discuss everyone’s input as to what they want out of this multigenerational family vacation. If your multi-gen family lives in different zip codes or states, or work schedules conflict, then plan a group video chat on skype, Facebook messenger, Facetime, or set up a Facebook group page to share budgets, preferred multigenerational family destinations, goals, where to stay, etc.
Want less stress during travel? Read 9 Ways to To Dial Back Your Stress on Travel Days
Freestyle Multigenerational Family Travel Planning
A successful multigenerational family travel trip requires a few extra planning considerations—especially when your goal is to keep everyone happy. However, plan the big picture (freestyle planning, if you will), and let the rest of the family fill in their own details.
Once you decided on a destination, it might be best to leave the booking of optional activities to individual family members. It’s okay if your adult children and grandchildren want to break off for their own activities. It’s also okay if grandparents want to stay at the hotel or vacation home and relax.
Purchase an Annual Travel Insurance Policy
So your family chose the destination. Flights and hotels or vacation homes are booked. With so many unknowns when traveling from viruses to broken bones to major medical complications, an annual travel insurance policy isn’t just for jet-setters or even business travelers. It’s for families too, and perhaps most importantly!
Allianz Travel offers affordable rates starting as low as $130 annually for the basic plan, up to $450 for an AllTrips Premier plan for the whole family. (My personal quote for a solo traveler basic plan $135; AllTrips Basic annual family plan for 2 grandparents, 2 adult children & 2 teen grandchildren $810.)
This includes coverage for pre-existing medical plans, emergency medical and emergency transportation, a big deal when traveling with grandparents and young children. It also includes rental car damage too. Protect your multigenerational family travel investment by purchasing an annual family travel insurance policy.
Destinations for Multigenerational Family Travel
Need inspiration for multigenerational family travel destinations?
- 22 Best Family Vacation Destinations in the U.S. for Multigenerational Travel
- 21 Best International Family Vacations for Multigenerational Travel
Plan in Free Time for All
Balance your togetherness with your private time. As much as we want to create shared memories, everyone appreciates alone time. Remember that grandparents aren’t accustomed to being around busy toddlers, and teenagers don’t want to spend every waking moment with their parents. Leave some open time in your schedule.
Disconnect to Reconnect
Unplugged vacations might be challenging, but the rewards are great. Yes, you’ll hear moans and groans from everyone – – not just the teens. But when you as a family agree to put away your cell phones and take a time out from social media, the reward is a chance to get to know each other (again or better), and truly bond. You might even rediscover the competitive family game of Monopoly.
And here are the reasons why you should rent a vacation home for your next multigenerational family vacation.
Capitalize on your Time Together
The best way to enhance the time you spend is to consider vacation rental or condo together. Plan for enough space for everyone, but together, you can also plan your meals and save money. This also allows for built-in family time. After dinner, the grandkids can watch a movie, play board games (see unplugged vacations above), or hang out in the pool while the grandparents catch up with their adult children over an after-dinner drink or a game of cards.
For our multigenerational family of 6 (grandma, grandpa, 2 adult children, and 2 teen grandkids), we rented a gorgeous 3-bedroom, 2 baths with a pool in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii through VRBO. Every morning and every evening we gathered together outside in the beautiful outdoor space, watching the grandkids swim, and just chatting. It was perfect.
Go with the Flow!
Finally, remember that family time can be messy and maddening, whether on vacation or at home. Remind everyone that your vacation may not be perfect, but a multi-gen family trip is an important once-in-a-lifetime memory in the making. Let go of expectations and just enjoy the moments on your multigenerational family vacation.