Multigenerational travel can be a wonderful experience for the entire family. Children who do not get to spend much time with grandparents can enjoy one-on-one time with them, and participating in activities as a group can create long-lasting, fond memories. With the ever-evolving changes in the travel industry, having an alternative plan for unforeseen circumstances, such as canceled flights, can help to avoid any turmoil if your itinerary needs to be shifted.
Although organizing and planning a trip can be exhilarating, it can also get a bit tricky when traveling with multiple generations. And when traveling as a larger group, you will want to consider the needs of everyone so that your vacation doesn’t turn into a caregiving event where you’re juggling both parents and kids.
Once you have selected your travel destination and the number of days you will be away, strategically plan your itinerary ahead of time. Everyone wants to enjoy themselves, so be sure to add fun activities that everyone can participate in. For example, a three-mile hike may not be the best choice for your younger or older traveling companions; however, taking a slower, easier-paced nature walk with paved trails could be more enjoyable. If you want a more robust hike, it’s OK to carve out time for yourself and others in the group who may want to be more active.
Don’t feel compelled to fill every second with a planned activity, and do not underestimate the need for downtime. When traveling with an older person or smaller children, be sure to take time for rest to help prevent exhaustion and getting overtired. Also, schedule some time for yourself. It’s important to take a break from the group, especially if you’re the one planning the daily activities. Remember that it’s your vacation too!
Make sure you have properly prepared and packed any medications for your traveling group. For example, will you need to bring an EpiPen or inhaler for your child’s well-being? Are vaccinations or immunizations needed if you plan on traveling outside the United States? If anyone in your group has medical issues, be sure to discuss your intended travel itinerary with their doctors to be sure the places and type of activities planned will be safe.
Amenities and services
Most times, airlines, resorts, and hotels are happy to oblige when it comes to special requests. This can include wheelchair service at the airport or additional time to board the plane. Consider inquiring about your room’s location at the place or places you will be staying. Do you have adjoining rooms? Are you close to the elevator? Also, make sure the property is universally accessible if additional mobility assistance is required. For example, most bed-and-breakfast establishments have steps, so you may want to request the first floor.
Leave additional time
When traveling as a group, it can sometimes be difficult to gather the troops, especially with small children and older adults. You may need a little extra time to get moving. Before bedtime, let everyone know the schedule for the upcoming day. If most of your group prefers to sleep in, consider planning a 9:00 a.m. breakfast instead of 8:30 a.m., giving everyone some latitude for starting the day. This can help reduce stress and create a more laid-back environment.
Emergencies can occur at any time. Travel insurance can provide financial security in knowing that you won’t lose your money if the trip has to be canceled at the last minute because of injury, illness, or other dire circumstances. If you are taking an expensive trip, travel experts recommend that you insure it and that you purchase the insurance from an outside company, not from your tour operator.
Going on a multigenerational vacation can be an experience of a lifetime. Traveling as a group can have its challenges, but as long as you’re flexible and leave additional time to arrive at your scheduled activities, you can leave the stress behind and create wonderful memories with your family. Bon voyage!