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Multigenerational Travel: 8 Tips for a Great (Extended) Family Vacation

By Diane Amato

Published June 8, 2022 • 4 Min Read

Ready to head to the U.S. for some fun and sun with the extended family? We’ve got eight tips to create a multigenerational family vacation everyone will love.

1. Get Everyone Involved in the Planning

Some members of your family may be the take-charge type, and others may say they don’t care where they go or what they do… as long as you’re all together. The thing is, once you arrive at your destination, everyone will have an opinion. To that end, make sure everyone has a voice in the planning stages by having every family member – kids included – say one or two things they’d like to do or see while on vacation.

2. Assign One Person to Take Over

That take-charge family member? Now’s their time to shine. After you’ve had everyone voice their interests and preferences, hand off the planning to one person – after all, trip planning can go much smoother with one person managing the details. Once they’ve gathered everyone’s input, they can put together a suggested itinerary – including flights, tours, accommodations, sites – and share it with the group for a stamp of approval.

3. Talk Over Accommodations

One of the key elements of a successful family trip is giving everyone space. Trying to cram too many people together tends to make everyone uncomfortable. For many, renting a home or villa works well because it can give everyone privacy while providing common areas to gather and a kitchen to make meals. For others, a resort or hotel with adjoining rooms is the best way to go. Talk about what’s best for your crew and book accordingly.

4. Make Activities Optional

Family members each have their own interests and energy levels, so instead of forcing everyone to stick together for every activity, it’s a good idea to split up at times. For example, while some family members go bike riding or hang out at the beach, others may prefer to get a round of golf in or visit a museum. Separate activities can also cut down on family burn out and help ensure every traveler gets the most out of their vacation.

5. Have a Chat About Money Up Front

Is one party footing the bill? Are you splitting things down the middle? How will you settle up family meals, grocery shopping, admission fees, etc.? Having a plan in advance may cut down on money-related tensions during your vacation. If you’re splitting the cost, think about keeping a running tally of who pays for what so that you can easily settle up at the end.

6. Remember, Grandparents Aren’t Built-in Babysitters

Bringing both young kids and grandparents for a big family trip can be a wonderful way to keep families connected. And while grandparents may be willing to babysit so you and your partner have some couple time, remember that it’s their vacation too! Try to plan certain days where you’ll take the kids so it’s more of an even split.

7. Plan Out Meals in Advance

When you’re travelling as a group, finding a place to eat to accommodate everyone is not always simple. While you don’t necessarily need to make reservations for every meal, it’s smart to plan when and where you want to eat. Planning in advance can also help get everyone on the same page… the last thing you want is a “pizza vs. salads” argument on the sidewalk when everyone is hungry.

8. Don’t Overschedule

One thing all generations will have in common is the need for downtime. Grandparents may not be used to being on the go every day and kids can get tired quickly — as can parent of young kids. Think about scheduling one main activity per day plus plenty of downtime. Afternoon breaks give you time to chat and reflect on what you saw that day, all while planning out the next adventure.

Travelling with multiple generations of family can be a wonderful opportunity to connect as a group, share experiences, and create memories that can last a lifetime. Whether your family chooses a beach, ski resort or theme park, keep in mind that proper planning and open conversation will help ensure a memorable trip for all.

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This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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