Multigenerational Vacation Ideas: How to Plan a Trip for Everyone
There’s an old saying: Family vacations aren’t really vacations. Nothing could be further from the truth! Multigenerational travel – trips that involve parents, kids, and grandparents – offers families the chance to make memories and bond in places other than the Thanksgiving table or a distant cousin’s wedding. Multigenerational family trips are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason. First and foremost, it’s easier than ever before to plan a big family excursion, thanks in no small part to the Internet. Second, air travel has advanced considerably over the past few decades, allowing access to countries that were once extremely difficult to reach.
Taking your entire family on an international trip will be an unforgettable experience. But it does involve a bit of planning and communication amongst family members. Let’s take a look at the steps you’ll want to take as your plan your first multigenerational trip. And then we’ll look at some great places to take the family.
Ah, the big question. There’s no right or wrong answer here, of course: multigenerational trips can be a gift from the grandparents to the entire family, or the costs of the trip can be shared between the adults. What’s important here is to make sure that everyone is clear on who’s paying for what, from the larger expenses – such as airfare and hotels – to meals, even to souvenirs. It’s fairly easy to figure out who’s responsible for the flights and lodging, but it’s just as important for family members to come to an agreement on food and other incidentals. This will allow everyone to budget for the trip before it starts – and will help reduce conflicts while traveling. And once you’ve decided on a budget, stick to it. Spending more than you want can cast a shadow over a great family experience.
What Are We Going To Do?
The goal of a multigenerational family trip is for everyone to have a great time. Seems simple, right? In the excitement of being abroad, exploring a new location, it’s easy to forget that not everyone in the family enjoys the same things. First, think about the big picture. What do you want the overall experience to look like? Perhaps you’re interested in a cultural immersion vacation, spent wandering through old cities, visiting galleries, museums and cultural sites.
OR maybe you’re looking for a bit of adventure – a safari, a desert trek on camelback, a hiking tour of rainforests. From there, you’ll want to figure out what the daily activities will be. And this can be a challenge. The kids might want to go on a kayaking excursion, but Grandma and Grandpa might not be up for hours of paddling. Conversely, Mom and Dad might want to spend a few hours visiting the local winery – something that the kids might not appreciate. It’s a good idea to plan your activities before you embark on your trip – and make sure that you get ideas from everyone. And look for opportunities that might coincide with each other – if Mom and Dad want to spend a couple of hours at that winery, perhaps the grandparents and the kids can visit a museum, or take that kayaking tour. (Not all grandparents are ready to give up the sporting life!)
Where Are We Going To Stay?
Accommodations are the one thing you shouldn’t skimp on, and there are plenty of practical reasons why. Staying at a world-class hotel will go a long way in ensuring that everyone’s trip is well-balanced. Having a nice, quiet room to take a break in (and get a good night’s sleep) is key to everyone having a great trip, parents and kids and grandparents alike. And if you’re traveling with younger kids, look for family-friendly hotels with amenities for them. Pools, rec rooms, even planned activities for kids can make their experience much better – and give the adults a chance to relax as well. It’s a good idea as well to make sure that your hotel’s restaurants and food service is up to par, just in case everyone feels like staying on the property for a meal. One thing to keep in mind is that the best hotels will always serve a complimentary breakfast – which means that you’ll have one less meal to plan.
Those are the logistics. The fun part: deciding where in the world you and your family will want to go. Here are some of our favorite destinations for multigenerational trips.
Why not start close to home? Although to be fair, Montana probably won’t seem much like your neighborhood. Glacier National Park is one of the crown jewels of America’s national park system; the region’s stunning peaks bear a striking resemblance to the European Alps. It’s a great place to bring the whole family, precisely because you can do as much or as little adventuring as you want, and still have a great time.
For the active, there’s hiking, fishing, and whitewater rafting. For those who just want to sit on the deck of one of the American West’s finest lodges and watch the eagles soar overhead or look at the moose grazing in the meadows, well, there’s plenty of time to just relax and take it all in.
It’s a neighbor to the south, and a relatively close one, but when you step into Costa Rica, you’ll feel like you’re on the other side of the world. The beaches are warm and inviting, the cloud forests are basically the greatest zoo you’ll ever set foot in, and the people are fond of extending “la pura vida” – the pure life – to their guests. For nature lovers of all ages, there’s simply no better place to be. Some 25% of the entire country is designated as protected land, with over 120 national parks.
Here you can snorkel next to sea turtles, go for an easy river paddling trip, or walk in silent awe through a rainforest on the side of a volcano. And there’s always time for a siesta.
Less known, but no less incredible, are Costa Rica’s neighbors Belize and Guatemala. Here you’ll find Mayan ruins, hidden coves, and beautiful lagoons. As with Costa Rica, this is a trip for nature lovers; while it’s not a contest, Belize and Guatemala offer experiences that are wholly unique, from snorkeling on the world’s second-largest barrier reef to climbing to the top of the largest pyramid in the Americas.
It’s one of the most amazing feats of modern engineering, and it’s the key to an easy trip to two of the world’s greatest cities. The Chunnel – the underground/underwater tunnel under the English Channel that links France to England – makes a multigenerational trip to London and Paris a snap. Spend a few days in London, where everyone will enjoy sightseeing and afternoon tea, and then zip on over to Paris, where everyone will enjoy sightseeing and a warm baguette.
This is, of course, an oversimplification – there’s a LOT to experience in both cities, from Big Ben to The Louvre, and the easy accessibility to all of London and Paris’ highlights makes this trip an ideal one for your whole family.
If you want to take the family to Europe, but want to go to someplace different – as in, “no one we know has ever been there” – Portugal is a fantastic choice. It’s got something for everyone. The history buffs will appreciate being at the epicenter of the age of European seafaring exploration.
Active family members will love nature walks, along beautiful coastlines and stunning valleys. And foodies (which will be everyone) will sample some of Europe’s most amazing food, from the freshest fish imaginable to all sorts of sausages and cheeses. And yes, there’s plenty of great Port wine for the parents and grandparents.
There’s history, and then there’s mythology, and when you think of mythology, Greece surely comes to mind. Walking in the footsteps of ancient heroes like Hercules, Theseus, and Achilles will fire the imagination of kids of all ages. A trip through the Greek Isles is a trip through legends; sailing on the still Aegean Sea, you and your family will feel like Odysseus himself (although your trip will be much more pleasant).
Going from island to island, you’ll see ancient Greek ruins, lounge on spectacular beaches, and wander through friendly villages that have stood for thousands of years. This combination of island-hopping, exploring and relaxing makes the Greek Isles a great choice for a multigenerational trip.
For an altogether different island experience, take the family to the Galápagos. The warm, sunny islands are home to all sorts of amazing animals – giant tortoises, marine iguanas, manta rays, and even a local band of warm-weather penguins! Staying on the actual islands themselves – in luxury accommodations, of course – makes for an incredible, up-close experience that will thrill and delight everyone.
Yes, you can ride a camel into the desert, on an overnight excursion to a luxury camp. Yes, the camels are friendly. And yes, it is absolutely as great as it sounds. Morocco is as exotic as you think, a land of red deserts and snow-capped mountains, but it’s also incredibly welcoming.
Hospitality is deeply ingrained in the culture, and your family will find it in the markets of Marrakesh as well as among the Berbers who dwell in the wilderness. For those families looking for a bit of adventure, a multigenerational travel experience in Morocco should be high on your list.
The opportunities to take multigenerational trips are nearly endless; the memories you, your kids and their grandparents will come away with are priceless. So why wait? Contact Classic Journeys today, and we’ll help you put together a dream trip for your entire family. And yes, it’ll definitely be a vacation.