A multi-generational vacation is finding its way into more family plans than ever for this year (and next). If the past months have taught us anything it's how precious time spent together is and how much we took everything from visits to grandparents to family celebrations for granted. So if you're dreaming of a multi-gen escape any time in 2021 or beyond, here are our tried and tested tips for getting the vacation right, right from the start.
Not all places are created equal, which is why you’ll need to carefully research destinations which come as close to something for everyone as possible. The US itself is great for shorter travel time, family attractions, plenty culture and beach time too. But if your heart's set on the vacation of a lifetime, think Caribbean and look at family-friendly islands like Turks & Caicos or St. Lucia.
A multi-generational vacation works best when everyone understands a little me time is essential. Set boundaries and respect them. Don't be offended if you set off sight-seeing with the whole gang and people want to see different things. When someone wants to just chill on their own, leave them to it. And remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder, so by giving each other a little space, you’ll enjoy the moments you do spend together even more.
Grandparents love nothing more than spending time with their grandchildren, but remember they're on vacation and not just as babysitters. If want an occasional night off parenting while you're away, discuss it before you go and check grandparents are ok to look after the kids now and then. Set clear boundaries and keep everyone happy.
You'll probably go to a lot of effort to organise a multi-generational vacation, but that doesn’t mean your plan is the only plan. As much as you might want to stick to a carefully crafted schedule, vacations are about having fun, so don’t let yourself get in a habit of bossing everyone around and missing out on that. Of course being organised is important to make multi-gen work, but don't forget some of the best moments are ones that just happen.
If tensions arise and you can feel an atmosphere building, use a safe word to let everyone know you've reached breaking point. Agree on the word before the vacation, make it funny to diffuse situations faster and, if you're really going for laughs, especially from kids, belt it out as loud as you can.
When you have to cater for different tastes across a range of ages it can be difficult to keep everyone happy. So it's a good idea to have a few books grandparents and children can read together as well as crayons and paper for younger kids. And don't ban screen time entirely, now and them everyone just needs to escape into their own little world.
One of the worst things you can do on a multi-generational vacation is go to bed on an unresolved argument. No matter how hard it is, make a pact to end every day with a hug, a laugh and a kiss and you can be certain the next day will be much better for it.
Document all your adventures and store pictures of your time together, even the unflattering ones. The good, bad and ugly memories are what makes a multi-generational vacation so special. And even if you think you'll never do it again, one look at the images of you all together will probably change your mind.
Looking for US multi-generational vacation inspiration? Try 10 incredible US beaches to discover with kids. And don't forget to follow Family Traveller on Instagram and Facebook and share your travel plans with us - or just say 'hi'.