Lonely Planet’s Family Travel Handbook: Expert Tips for Multigenerational Trips

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Want to learn how to plan a successful multigenerational trip? Thanks to Lonely Planet’s Family Travel Handbook, you can.

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Lonely Planet’s Family Travel Handbook: Expert Tips for Multigenerational Trips

Multigenerational trips 

If your children are lucky enough to have grandparents around with the time and inclination to come on holiday with you, then it’s definitely worth considering asking them to join you.

Taking a trip with grandparents and children is not a small undertaking, but it can be an incredibly rewarding holiday, with three generations getting a chance to bond, hopefully at least a small amount of babysitting or shared childcare and potentially even a financial contribution. Sow the seed gently before you actually ask the question. While many grandparents will jump at the chance, some may not want to join you but may feel duty bound to accept, which is not a great starting point. Older family friends can also be good traveling companions if they enjoy spending time with your kids. 

Lonely Planet’s Family Travel Handbook: Expert Tips for Multigenerational Trips
© Alistair Berg/Getty Images

Before you book, sit down and have a talk with everyone about their expectations for the trip: a good idea is to ask everyone to name one thing that they really want to do so you can be sure you’re not leaving anyone out.

Then think about the logistics.

Is getting six, seven, or more people of all different ages through a busy airport going to be really quite hard work for all concerned? Would it be better to drive or fly separately? Is there enough to do that will keep all the generations busy, factoring in possibly different energy levels? Do you have a wet weather plan? Is a rental house the best option in terms of keeping costs down but giving everyone space, or would your larger family prefer a hotel? Who is paying and for what?

Even the most generous of grandparents don’t want to feel taken advantage of, so having a straightforward chat about finances before you go is a good idea. If you are going to want them to look after the kids a bit while you do something, ask if this would be possible before you go.

And do as you would have your children do: be polite and thank them for any help they give you. 

Lonely Planet’s Family Travel Handbook: Expert Tips for Multigenerational Trips
© JurgaR/Getty Images

Try to avoid making assumptions about what the grandparents might do (especially around anticipated pet peeves).

But do recognize the knowledge and expertise the older generation can bring to your planning and your trip. They are an important part of your holiday team and their skills and ideas need to be considered and listened to. Talk to each other about what you are bringing, as this is a good opportunity to share the packing, and avoid bringing multiples of basics. 

Lastly, remember quality over quantity. Even the closest of families start to struggle with too long in each other’s company. Keep it short and sweet to leave everyone hungry for more. Overexposure can lead to frazzled nerves, especially on a frenetic itinerary. Planned space apart for separate activities during the trip can help as well. 

What about Travel with Another Family?

Traveling with another family can be a really positive experience as the kids get ready-made playmates while the adults get to share the planning, logistics, and childcare while spending time with their friends. However, before you take the plunge, check that your travel styles are pretty similar—if you like to carefully plan everything then going away with a more spontaneous family could cause stress on your trip (alternatively, you could embrace the change). 

Likewise, if your family takes ages to get going in the morning but your friends like to set off at the crack of dawn, you may find being away for a week together isn’t a good fit.

And it’s not just the adults that need to cooperate.

Negotiating endless squabbles is no fun for anyone and a surefire way to test even the strongest of parent friendships. Start with a short trip or stay in quarters that give everyone breathing room as a first trial run.

Lonely Planet’s Family Travel Handbook: Expert Tips for Multigenerational Trips
© Imgorthand/Getty Images

 

Click here for Lonely Planet's Family Travel Tips: Top 5 Destinations for Multigenerational Travel

Lonely Planet's Family Travel Tips: Top 5 Destinations for Multigenerational Travel

Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet © 2020 

 

 

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