Going on vacation with more than one generation of your family can be a memorable way to see new places while spending time together with your children, grandchildren and extended family members. And doing so is becoming increasingly popular. A recent report found that multi-generational vacations — trips with members of three or more generations — now account for half of all vacations enjoyed by parents and grandparents.
To make the most of your own multi-generational vacation, keep these seven tips in mind.
1) Make Rules and Routines
Before heading out on your trip, discuss some basic rules or routines for your trip. For example, will everyone get together for all breakfasts, lunches and dinners? Or will each family or couple breakfast on their own, and then meet up for lunch or dinner?
Also decide whether everyone will go on outings together or not. Often this depends on the ages, interests and physical capabilities of family members. You can head off potential arguments or hurt feelings if someone doesn’t want to go on a two-hour-mountain hike.
2) Figure out Your Finances
What about finances? Have an open discussion with all adult family members before your vacation to prevent misunderstandings about who’s expected to pay for what. Some grandparents want to treat their kids to the vacation, while other families split costs. For example, grandparents may pay for accommodations, while parents buy a week’s worth of groceries or pay for family outings.
3) Choose a Location With Variety
Multi-generational vacations can work best with a variety of activities suited for different interests and physical capabilities. For example, many resort destinations or cruise lines provide multiple entertainment and activity choices: older adults might prefer golfing, sightseeing or leisurely strolls on the beach; parents might spend the whole day with their younger children at the beach or at a water park, while older siblings go mini-golfing.
Families planning to include grandparents, children, grandchildren, cousins, aunts and uncles on a trip may want to enjoy each other’s company without traipsing across hotel corridors or taking elevators to get together. Choosing a vacation rental home instead of booking several hotel rooms can make logistics easier, and may even save some money on accommodations.
A vacation rental home lets family members chat and relax in a larger communal space like a kitchen or living room. It makes it easier for grandparents to see their grandchildren. Also, rental homes may also have a patio or outdoor space for smaller children to play outside, so you don’t have to worry about their noise bothering other guests as you may in a hotel.
4) Go Big on Accommodations
When choosing vacation accommodations for your family vacation, look for places with at least three bedrooms; one for grandparents, one for parents and one for kids. Though you want to spend time together, you don’t want to trip over each other. Look for a rental vacation home or condo with enough space for everyone to have some privacy. Consider a rental with a master suite so grandparents can have a retreat if things get noisy.
5) Arrive Early or Stay Late
If possible, consider arriving at your vacation destination before your kids and grandkids arrive, or stay for an extra day or two after everyone leaves. This lets you avoid the chaos of everyone arriving, unpacking and settling in at the same time.
You’ll also have a chance see if kids will need anything special, such as booster seats for toddlers and preschoolers to sit at the kitchen table. And if you stay for a few days after your kids and grandkids leave, you’ll enjoy some peace and quiet too.
6) Plan Together Time
Don’t pack your vacation with so many outings and activities that you don’t have time to sit and talk with your kids, or do a puzzle with your grandkids. Remember, celebrating time together is an important part of a multi-generational family vacation. So plan for some “do nothing” time and just hang out.
This can be especially important if your children or grandchildren live far away and this vacation is the one time you see them each year.
7) Plan Alone Time
Yes, you love your family, but everyone can use some alone time, even on vacation. Time alone to meditate, recharge or just nap can help you better enjoy your time together. This may be especially important for family members not used to living life with the energy and noise levels of preschoolers or teenagers.
Multi-generational vacations can be a wonderful way to make memories for everyone in your family. Make yours a success by considering the needs and wants of each generation in choosing your location, accommodation and activities prior to your vacation.
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.