Kudos to you on initiating a big family vacation! Everyone is excited and counting down the days already. If you’ve started planning your trip, you might have realised that it’s not as simple as you thought it would be.
Grandpa wants to play golf, the kids want to go for an adventure trip, and grandma wants a massage by the beach. The husband wants to go back-to-back sightseeing to soak in the culture while you really would prefer to kick back and read a book. The bigger the family, the more complicated the demands.
Be prepared for a lot of differences in opinions but keep your cool. Follow these tips when you plan your next multi-generational trip, and all will be well.
1. Plan. Share. Coordinate.
Planning well ahead is key. Start by including everyone; what dates work for everybody? Once you’ve settled that, I’d recommend doing some research on some family-friendly destinations before giving your family 2 to 3 options to choose from.
Don’t forget to involve the kids too! Little Sara would only be more glad to participate if she was involved in the decision making. Share ideas and information. Also consider the medium of travel. Whether by plane or boat, train or car, make sure it is comfortable for everybody. Flexibility is vital.
Create a WhatsApp family group or share the details on google calendar so that everyone can contribute to the planning.
2. Money Basics
Holidays cost money and that makes the task of budgeting for vacation consequential. It is important to budget the vacation according to everyone’s financial ability. At times, the multi-generational trips are gifts or sponsored by one family member. If so, other members should play their part to share some of the other costs too.
Discuss well in advance who pays for what and by when. You don’t want grandma, uncles or the husband to fight over who should foot the bill after every meal. Let people go ahead with gifting some of it if they wish to but make sure it is known prior to the trip. You’ll be surprised, such trips could inspire a great deal of generosity.
3. Take a Poll on Accommodation Options
Shortlist a few accommodation options that match everybody’s interest, then let them vote on their favourites. Serviced apartments or 2-storey full-service villas are always the best options for a big group. Ultimately, a sense of togetherness and privacy are the only two crucial things that shouldn’t be compromised while finalising an accommodation.
4. Take It Easy
Give folks their own sweet time to relax on Day 1. A journey, good or bad, tires even the most energetic of the bunch. So don’t schedule too many activities on the first day. Relax and have a nice meal and catch up with each other. Enjoy your own space as well. Being on a family vacation doesn’t mean everyone has to stick together 24/7.
It is especially important to take it easy if you're in a different time zone. You don’t want to be beaten up by jet lag for days when you have a new place to explore.
Schedule time for everyone to rest when needed. The last thing you want is to miss out on your holiday because you’re sick or you have to take care of someone who’s sick. Throughout the trip, let different people take charge of different things so that you are not running the show alone.
5. Go to Places that Have Something for Everyone
Settle on trips that have activities for people of all ages or go sightseeing so that all of you can enjoy the time bonding. It helps if the schedule of activities has the family’s day-to-day routine in cognizance. Kids and grandparents might tend to be more active in the morning while the teens are more likely to get into the zone at night. Grandparents can shop when kids are busy with the adventure rides and then meet again for lunch. And don’t overbook, leave some room for free time because you do want time to relax with your family.
Most importantly, be considerate of each other’s needs and pack an extra dose of empathy and a great deal of humour as rescue measures.
6. When in doubt, hire a professional
Too many demands from all quarters? There is always the option of hiring a professional. Turn to a tour operator or planner to make all the arrangements while you kick back and enjoy your cup of tea. While planning the perfect vacation may be some people’s calling, don’t be afraid to look for help if it’s not yours.
Be sure to tell the travel expert about the preferences of your family and let them chart out a flawless plan for everyone to enjoy!
7. Make Sure You Take a Family Picture
It is not often that you all get together for a time out. Take lots of pictures or have a professional photographer take a memorable family portrait.
Traveling is about gaining new perspectives, and bonding within a multi-generational family on a holiday is even more enriching. You would be surprised to find out how cool your gramps can be or how kind that seemingly gruff uncle is.
As aptly put in Clark Griswold’s legendary dialogue from Family Vacation, ‘This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest for fun. You're gonna have fun, and I'm gonna have fun... We're all gonna have so much fun we're gonna need plastic surgery to remove our smiles!’
We wish you a great family trip!
Contributed by Trip 101.
A one-stop travel guide for travel enthusiasts around the world. Practical guides, reviews and tips are created by travel experts, digital nomads and travel bloggers, providing inspirational and useful information to help facilitate travel in a fun and meaningful manner.
Tags: Travel Tips /3 Generation Family /Family Bonding