Why go on a multi-generational holiday?
These days, hectic schedules can sneak their way into precious family time. With chockablock school timetables, busy working parents and lots of families living far apart, big bonding holidays are a rewarding way to escape the commitments of day-to-day life, reconnect with your family and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Recent studies have shown that multi-generational holidays are on the rise. But with so many interests to juggle, how do you plan a holiday that’ll delight three generations of travellers – from hard-to-please teens to culture-seeking grandparents? Is it an impossible task?
We asked our travel specialists for their best tips and inspiration on how to plan the perfect multi-generational family holiday.
Why are multi-generational holidays becoming so popular?
Have you ever thought about jetting off on a three-generational family holiday? Here are a few reasons why more and more families are planning multi-gen trips:
It’s a chance to spend quality time together
How often do parents, grandparents, teens and tots get the chance to bond together, outside of those usual festive get-togethers, Sunday lunches and evenings in front of the telly? As our lives become busier, it’s even trickier to fit in that quality time. So it’s no surprise that family holidays are becoming more important than ever before for parents and children alike.
In fact, Travelzoo’s research found that nearly fifty percent of grandparents wished they’d gone on a multi-generational holiday with their own parents and children. And almost 40% were planning to book more multi-generational holidays in the future, with “quality time” being a big reason to do it.
Shared costs make the pennies go further
There’s no denying it, family holidays have changed a fair bit over the years. With more accessible destinations at our fingertips, the world has opened up. Big family getaways now come with even bigger experiences – and a bigger price tag too. With lots of parents seeing the value of jetting further afield, it can take time to save up for that once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Luckily, the bigger the group, the more the costs can be shared out. Many grandparents often relish the chance to share their well-earned rainy-day savings with their families; treating them to something really special.
It’s an excuse to celebrate
Whether it’s Grandma’s 70th, Dad’s 50th, the last hurrah before the kids disappear off to university or a celebration of those long-awaited exam results, it doesn’t get much better than commemorating a big milestone with a meaningful experience. Special occasions always bring families together. And if you’re looking for more than a fancy dinner or hiring out the local village hall, then a far-flung trip could be just the ticket.
More hands make light work
What grandparent doesn’t relish spending quality one-on-one time with the youngsters of the family (within reason of course)? So long as everybody has their share of space, activities, and relaxation, holidaying with grandparents can mean that parents have a helping hand when it comes to childcare. And while parents get some much-needed respite or time for adventure, grandparents have the chance to spend quality time with their grandchildren solo. It’s a win-win, right?
You’ll make lifelong memories
“Hey, remember that time we had breakfast in the rainforest and that monkey pinched grandad’s croissant?” It’s memories like this that’ll have you chuckling together, long after your flight home.
Whether it’s spotting elephants on a jeep safari, taking a tuk-tuk around colourful markets or road-tripping along Route 66, you can’t put a price on experiences. How many people can remember the toys they were gifted as kids? Chances are, you’re more likely to remember the time spent with your family, sharing memorable experiences together.
“Everything was catered for from our arrival at Lima right through to the end of the holiday. Every transfer was on time and used quality drivers and vehicles. I did the four day Inca trail Trek, while my wife and daughter travelled to Machu Picchu by train. The tour guide was knowledgeable and the tour was well organised with excellent staff looking after me all the way through. My wife and daughter equally enjoyed a high level of service and at no time did they feel isolated or unsafe. I have already recommended Rickshaw travel to one of my friends who is planning a similar trip. Thank you to Ross for all your help and advice – Rickshaw travel does what they say they will do I could not fault them.”
– Colin, recently visited Peru with his family
5 tips for planning a stress-free multi-generational holiday
Find out the non-negotiables
It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? But one of the most important ways to make multi-gen holidays a roaring success is listening to each others’ wants, needs, and vetos, right from the get-go. Uncle Desmond, with his crippling fear of heights, probably doesn’t want to end up on a canopy bridge, especially with a six-year-old tugging on his anorak. The same thing applies to things like accommodation and transport; does the hotel need a pool? Is public transport out of the question? If you suss out the basic needs of the whole group, then everything else should slot into place.
Having said the above, being flexible is super important. Three-generation holidays often work better when everyone is happy to compromise a little bit. Let’s face it, you’re never going please every single person all of the time. So our advice is to pick your battles. If one decision is make-or-break for one person, but everyone else couldn’t care less, then go with it. And (especially if you’re the organiser) try not to worry about everyone else’s enjoyment. You’ve done your bit so the rest is up to them!
Get a balance the right activities
Rule number one: don’t expect the whole group to want to do everything together, day in and day out. No doubt, you’ll each want to steal some time to explore or unwind under your own steam. Planning plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained is the key to a happy holiday. This is especially true if you’ve got kids of different ages; plenty of multi-gen holidays consist of toddlers, under tens, teens and older generations too. From learning to surf, to cycling among ancient ruins – often, it’s about balancing fun, history, culture, and relaxation.
So it’s important to think about how appropriate your activities are for the age groups you’re travelling with. For Grandad, the epic maze of Angkor Wat’s temples will be fairly hard to top. But for young Timmy, having time to splash in the pool is a must (or you won’t hear the end of it!). And for Mum, having a morning stroll through the market is pure travel-bliss.
Think about your transport and accommodation
Countries with great self-drive options – like Costa Rica, Canada, USA and Cuba – are perfect for multi-generational families. But if you’ve ever planned an outing where you’re left waiting (and slowly seething) in the driver’s seat until everyone is finally ready to leave, then you’ll know just how stressful these road trips can end up being. Depending on your group size, of course, we suggest hiring a couple of cars so you’re not all bound to each other. It also means that you can splinter off in search of your own adventures, without feeling like you’re burdening any of your travelling party. Perfect!
For many families, particularly with younger children, accommodation is important. From amenities like swimming pools to location and room types, it’s important to think about what’s important to you. Our family specialists are on hand to help and advise you on which destinations offer the best options for all ages. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!
Remember to relax
We’ll take care of the logistics, so once you’ve got everyone organised for your once-in-a-lifetime adventure, don’t forget to relax and have fun too. Take photos, savour the moments and, who knows, maybe you’ll love it so much you’ll want to plan another!
Best destinations for multi-generational holidays
With roads built for road trips, self-catering accommodation, English-speaking locals and endless outdoor fun to be had, Canada is one of our favourite places to visit on a multi-gen getaway. Spy on bears through binoculars, visit quaint towns off the main highways and sit by crackling fires in national parks.