A guide to multi-generational holidays
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.
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.
Costa Rica is a gem for families and an amazing destination for multi-generational groups. Although in the heart of Central America, the country is renowned for its infrastructure and is well set-up to accommodate travellers. There’s something in Costa Rica for teens, toddlers and retirees alike. And no matter your age, the wildlife here will blow you away. Again, with car hire options available, it’s easy enough to travel in convoy; sharing the duties with kid-friendly day-trips and down-time for parents. In our experience, the locals here love children. So it won’t take you long to slot into the local way of life and experience some rewarding cultural moments too … “pura vida!”
With rich culture, ancient relics and oodles of history for the grandparents to uncover, not to mention wildlife spots for the kids and unique experiences for the parents, Sri Lanka is a popular choice for families of all shapes and sizes. Spot elephants on a jeep safari, cycle around ancient ruins in Polonnaruwa or go in search of blue whales and dolphins. Plus, with comfy private transfers, you won’t have to bicker about getting from A to B. Travel in convoy or bundle together in a 7-passenger minivan to save extra pennies that you’ll need for ice-cream (for the kids) and end-of-day beers (for the grown-ups).
Like Canada, the USA is a family-friendly adventure playground – suitable for kids of all ages. Excellent infrastructure and English-speaking locals make travelling here a breeze. Plus, by hiring two cars, grandparents can head off on an adventure with the kids, while the parents find their own fun. Take family snapshots at monumental canyons, stay on a ranch in the wild west and roast marshmallows on the fire.