At Latitude21 Resorts, we know we’re all leading such busy lives these days. So much so that it can become a challenge to create time to spend with your entire extended family. Perhaps you’re only ever in the same place for Christmas, or Thanksgiving. Maybe you all live in completely different time zones. Cue the rise of the multigenerational family trip. Where grandparents, parents, children – and even aunts, uncles, and cousins – all join together for one big family vacation. It’s not a new concept, but one that is growing in popularity. Possibly because it allows for the whole family to spend some quality time together. Or to celebrate events such as an important birthday, or a wedding anniversary.
If you have a family that is spread out over a large area, oftentimes getting together for a family trip is just as easier, and a whole lot funnier, than staying over at someone’s house. After all, if you’re going to have to spring for an airfare to visit family, why not consider going somewhere new and exciting? The multigenerational family trip, however, can be a harrowing experience for some. Here are Latitude21 Resorts’ top tips for surviving a multigenerational family trip…
Find the time
Firstly, compare your calendars to figure out a week (or two!) that works for everyone. If you can’t get together for a planning session, set up a Google calendar that you can all access to highlight your availability; this could also come in handy when you’re planning trip itineraries for the group later on. School holidays will be more expensive, but often necessary for family holidays that include the kids. It is well worth the money saved to speak to the kid’s schools to see if they can get a little extra time off.
Plan on a shared space
Sometimes just planning the trip can be so time consuming that we just put off the whole trip altogether. Finding a shared space, for example with Google suite, or Smartsheet.com, can be a great way for each family member to add their input when they have the time to do. Many of these shared spaces come with the possibilities of linking activities, uploading photos, or even sharing a calendar so that the entire vacation planning process is accessible to all. This also prevents the load of the planning work from falling on just one family member’s shoulders.
Decide on a budget
Depending on the differences in your incomes, a fair bit of compromising may have to be done when it comes to your vacation budget. To ease some of the pressure, why not make a pact that you’ll forgo Christmas or birthday presents to each other this year in exchange for taking a vacation together – let it be a gift to yourselves! Once you’ve set a budget you can begin to go into the finer details. Such as where you’re going, how long for, and what type of accommodation to stay in.
Consider everyone’s needs
When organizing a holiday for multiple generations, it is important to consider the varying needs that occur between age groups. While you might be eager to hike up the nearest mountain, the grandparents may have less energy and more interested in seeing local landmarks. Meanwhile, the kids may want to spend the whole week at the beach. Early on in the planning process, set out non-negotiables for every family member. And what they would each like to get out of the trip. This will help you determine the length and destination of your vacation, and begin to shape your trip’s itinerary. We recommend negotiating day trips and activities ahead of time. Making sure that every member of the family gets time to do what they want to do.
Choose your destination
Once you have accounted for everyone’s budget, needs, and availability, it’s time to choose your destination! Where you go may also be determined by how long your vacation can be – if have you 10 days or more a long-haul flight may seem worth it, whereas if you only have a week, consider staying closer to home.
To accommodate for everyone’s vacation wishes, select a location with plenty of options in the ways of culture, adventure, and relaxation. Mexico, for example, offers the cultural history of the Mayans. The excitement of rainforest hikes and underwater rivers. And pristine white beaches perfect with comfortable resorts for a day of sunbathing and relaxing. Mexico is usually only about a 2 or 3-hour flight. So it is perfect for family members that can’t get a lot of time off. Hawaii is a great place to visit for those who have a little more time to spend. And the Caribbean has lots of resorts that feature amenities that the whole family will enjoy.
Select a place to stay
Where you stay might also be dependent on the needs of each family member. If you’re in search of the ‘easier’ choice, then an all-inclusive resort complete with pool, food and evening entertainment may seem like the way to go. Instead, if you’d prefer a more secluded haven for the whole family, then a large, private rental such as a timeshare might be the best pic for you. Now let’s say you are travelling with young children in your group, having a kitchen where you can heat bottles or keep snacks on hand is invaluable.
Timeshare units are also large enough to accommodate the entire family. Since most timeshare rentals are for units with two or even three bedrooms. This means that grandma and grandpa can have their own room (hopefully with their own bathroom on suite). Mom and dad have their room. And the kids are happily sleeping on the sofa beds in the living room. Everyone has their own space to retire to at the end of the day, and that keeps everyone happy.
Create your itinerary
When it comes to crafting your itinerary, we suggest deciding on a few big events that the whole family will want to attend. Such as easy sightseeing tours, shopping for souvenirs, or just swimming in the hotel pool. Be careful not to schedule every minute of your trip; just include a few landmark events, and you’ll naturally fill in the gaps.
Allow for alone time
Remember that traveling can be super tiring – especially when you’re away with the whole family! Everyone should have their own time. Let the kids spend a morning watching a movie. Leave the grandparents to have a lie-down or go for a walk alone. And make sure you get a few hours draped across a sun lounger reading that book you’ve been meaning to get around to all year! Schedule a date night for mom and dad and let the grandparents fill in for an evening.
Be sure to compromise
In order for everyone to get the most out of the family trip, it’s vital that you allow everyone to take turns. Be sure that it’s not always the same person watching the kids. And if necessary get childcare for one night so all the adults can all go out and live it up for a night.
While you’re not going to ditch the phones for the whole trip, and watching a film together as a family is a lovely way to spend an evening in, try to cut down on the time the kids – and you – spend with their devices. Encourage everyone to stay present and enjoy the family time. Maybe with an exhilarating trip out for the day, or playing cards on your balcony after dinner. These are usually the moments that you will remember the most.
Even though you’ll be limiting your screen time for phones, TVs and tablets, do take a decent camera along with you and take lots of snaps of your vacation. And not just selfies! You’ll thank yourself in years to come when you’re still enjoying your post-holiday photo albums, full of the memories you made when you were away.
We hope you’re feeling more prepared for your multigenerational family trip! Check out our blog for more great travel tips or visit the link below to see some hand-picked resorts Latitude21 Resorts compiled that would be great for a multigenerational family trip: