Multigenerational Travel

Don’t forget grandma!

Multigenerational travel is one of the hottest trends in travel. I’ve noticed on my road trips and tours in recent years that more families, including grandparents are traveling together. Many of these families are engaging in more adventurous activities together and spending time in the parks and recreation areas. I realized that I’m part of this growing trend. Susan and I often take our kids and grandchildren hiking in the parks, which is our favorite way of spending time together. To help encourage this kind of family time together we have given annual park passes to our kids as a family gift.

I specialize in soft adventure travel, which is adventure without extreme risk. This is adventure that’s ideal for families with various age ranges and physical capabilities. My favorite tours are with families. I’ve met many amazing families over the years and have witnessed how outdoor activities will get kids off their phones and engaged. I once had a 78 year old grandmother rappelling with her grandkids, the youngest being only nine.

Who’s going on family vacations?

Multigenerational travel is more than including grandparents on family vacations. Trips may involve two to four generations that often include a whole host of extended family members. Cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and other relatives are creating what can resemble a mini family reunion. I’ve seen a variety of combinations on my private family tours. Most often I see siblings with their families traveling together that frequently include a single grandparent.

Traveling around the world with parents, siblings, kids, grandkids, and assorted family members can be an enriching assortment of shared experiences. Not without its challenges, multigenerational travel is a goal for families who seek togetherness in faraway places. – Forbes Magazine

With this trending insurgence of family travel, planning the perfect vacation can seem a bit overwhelming. A good starting point in planning is to first find common interests then decide on destinations that best suit the various interests, life’s stage, and level of physical capabilities.

Why is this trend happening?

Here are a few reasons why families, extended and multigenerational, are traveling together.

  • Distance, families are spreading out. They’re spending less time together outside of weddings and funerals. They want time together to be memorable with shared experiences.
  • Baby boomers are living longer, healthier lives. They are active and enjoy spending time in the outdoors, discovering new places to explore. They are more willing to travel long distances with family to share these experiences together.
  • On-the-go entertainment devices. It’s easier to go on long road trips with kids with many digital entertainment on board. License plate games don’t cut it anymore!
  • Skype and Facetiming can’t replace the real deal. Nice for staying in touch but can’t replace rafting down a river or hiking in a slot canyon that everyone will talk about for years.
  • Footing the bill for trips is one way grandparents can use their money for family. However, kids and other family members will sometimes cover the costs or split the bill with everyone.
  • You can’t put a price on family time and creating memories. Experiences are rated high in importance for most generations and especially with millennial generation travelers.

Multigenerational family travel tops the list of travel trends. Following multigenerational travel is river cruising and active or adventure trips according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report

Planning a family vacation

This doesn’t have to be difficult, consider the following suggestions to simplify the planning process.

  • Plan together as a family. This way everyone’s expectations will be considered and managed, and budgets can be set.
  • Choose a destination that fits the needs and interests of the youngest traveler to the oldest member of the trip. Chances are, if the destination makes these two groups happy, everyone in the middle will also be happy.
  • Make sure each person is able to participate in activities of their choosing.
  • Don’t feel it necessary to spend all your time together. It’s okay to split up. On my tours, grandparents will often take a day off from participating in activities, which is perfectly okay with them. Family units don’t have to spend every moment together.
  • Be flexible. Things come up, weather can cancel outdoor outings, accommodations may not be as expected. Don’t get frustrated, make the most of what you get!
Where to go and where to stay

You can make most any destination or category of travel work but here are a few suggestions of places and categories I frequently I use for mutigenerational family vacations.

  • Guest ranches, many are all inclusive with a variety of activities, meals, and accommodations.
  • State and national parks. These are natural playgrounds that offer a myriad of outdoor opportunities from hiking, rafting, fishing to simply sight seeing. Goblin Valley and Snow Canyon State Parks are two of our favorite places to go exploring with our kids and grandchildren. There are yurts at Goblin Valley that can be reserved in advance. Combine nearby Little Wild Horse Canyon to Goblin Valley and you have one amazing family adventure ideal for all ages.
  • State and national recreation areas like Glen Canyon and Flaming Gorge offer hiking, biking, rafting, boating, kayaking, fishing, off-roading, rock hounding, and more. These are the Disneylands of the outdoors.
  • Guided adventure tours, let someone else do all the work and planning, you have all the fun!
  • Campgrounds, consider glamping resorts if you want a camping experience with a soft bed.
  • Vacation homes, stay under one roof and share the cost. Airbnb, VRBO are two popular services.
  • Rent an RV. The is trending like crazy. I see more RV rentals on the road than ever before.
    Outdoorsy, RVshare, and Cruise America are three of the most popular rental services.

I recommend planning your vacation by “setting up camp” at places that are surrounded by day trip options. Rather than packing and repacking multiple times, take day trips to nearby attractions and outdoor adventures. This is what my wife refers to as “nesting,” I call it hub and spoke.