Planning a multigenerational family reunion this summer?
Multigenerational travel is not as difficult as it sounds if you remember a few tips beyond just agreeing on the budget and location. The rewards of multigenerational travel far outweigh the planning. We are just returning from a week at the beach with multigenerational family and friends. Most of us love the beach. The rest enjoy getting away, being with family, and swimming at the pool. This beach house had something for everyone, plus lots of bedrooms and bathrooms and two main gathering spaces. My best friend and I brought our families plus our moms.
Choose a location that has lots of bedrooms so everyone will have a quiet place of their own. Sometimes bunking a single grandparent and a child in a room with twin beds is quite a good arrangement. You know what works for your family. Asking the grandparent first is a good idea.
Consider stairs and elevators when you are taking older generations or those with wheelchairs and baby strollers. Many things are doable for a night or two, but longer stays need more thought for mobility issues. Most rental houses now have detailed floorplans available so you can research the options. We have taken fragile grandparents on trips where the furthest they traveled outside the house was the deck overlooking the pool but the enjoyment they got from watching the grandkids play was priceless. We have paid more to book oceanfront houses when the kids were little so that the bathrooms and nap rooms were readily available.
Food prep should not fall on just one person. Whether you plan the menu or divide up the nights by families, get everyone involved in the meal prep. We usually assign cooking teams and clean up teams. One of our best family reunions divided the cooking assignments into teams of 2 people not necessarily from the same family and gave them ingredients and printed recipes. Consider some easy make your own breakfast and lunch supplies that allow those with smaller appetites to eat what they want.
Have options for activities. Not everyone likes a busy schedule while on vacation and rest times need to be built-in. Lowering the expectations for everyone to participate allows older adults the option to stay back without guilt. A printed local activity list gives options of what’s available to those who like to be on the go. Our recent vacation involved a set dinner time but everything else was optional… beach, tennis, shopping, excursions, swimming, and board games. Teen drivers ferried grandparents to and from the beach or shops if they did not want to stay as long as everyone else. Naps were had, sunsets observed, and walks were taken by all generations.
Plan some together time whether it’s a regular dinner hour or watching the sunset each night. Memories will be made across all generations. We have done family game nights on family reunions with “minute to win it” games, unlikely teammates, and silly prizes. The memories abound. Once we even did a dessert contest to create new desserts with leftover supplies.
Many families enjoy a resort or cruise together because there are so many options and much less prep work. However, your family vacations, consider multigenerational travel with family and friends. Take into consideration the mobility and energy level of those involved and prepare to make some memories!
Table Talk: What memories do you have of multigenerational vacations? If money were not an object, where would you travel?