8 tips for happy multigenerational travel

Dec 25, 2019
Must have tips to make your multigenerational travel holiday a happy one. Source: Getty.

A growing trend for over 60’s is multigenerational travel. This sort of holiday normally includes a cast of extended family members travelling in from various locations to spend time holidaying together. Needless to say the logistics of bringing everyone together can be overwhelming, add to that the differing preferences for what to do while on holiday and this exciting opportunity to spend precious time together and create new memories can quickly turn from joy to disaster.

However don’t worry, we’ve pulled together the critical discussion points you need to go over with your family before you embark on your shared adventure. Be assured you can master the art of organising an enjoyable multi-gen trip, in fact you might like it so much it becomes a regular event.

Follow our carefully curated tips below and take your trip planning to a new level.

1. Be super-clear when it comes to $$$

Unless one party is picking up the bill for everyone, make sure all adults have a frank and friendly conversation about budgets, expectations and who’s going to pay for what. It’s not just the big-ticket items like airfares and hotels, but things like meals, activities, excursions and transport once you arrive. If you can agree on a fair arrangement right from the start, it will reduce stress and tension and make things so much more enjoyable. Just remember, there are always unexpected expenses, so budget for them too!

2. Work out where you want to go

Let’s make one thing clear from the outset: when it comes to multi-gen travel, location – and convenience – are key. No one wants to have to drive for miles every day to get to all the action. And for some, it’s not a holiday if you have to shop and cook for the whole crowd. It’s for this reason that things like cruises and all-inclusive resorts are such popular options. Do your research to ensure you end up with an inspired and clever shortlist, before you all make the final decision.

3. Plan as a group

Make sure everyone who’s going on the trip has a say in where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Okay, so babies are exempt, but children should definitely be part of the conversation – after all, if they don’t have lots of things to keep them busy and entertained, it’s the older members of the group who will suffer! But this is a holiday for ALL of you, so make sure every person contributes to this planning stage, and lists at least one thing they really want to see or do on the trip. And then make sure they get to see or do exactly that. Getting everyone involved will also ensure it doesn’t fall to one person to do all the research, make all the plans… and then take all the responsibility for everyone’s good time.

3. Choose the right accommodation

This will really boil down to personal preference and budget. For example, the idea of a cottage on a deserted beach might sound like heaven to you, but a complete snooze-fest to your extended family. There are many options to consider, from connecting rooms in a hotel, resort or cruise ship, to a multi-bedroomed holiday rental or even tents at a campsite. Again, it’s all about communication – make sure everyone gets their say, so that you end up in property that’s well-suited for multiple ages. And if you have a large family, don’t forget to ask about group rates!

4. Only go for 1-2 weeks tops

Just trust us on this one. Unless you travel together all the time (successfully), going for any longer than this will take you into dangerous “We’ve stayed too long” territory when things start to unravel. A week or two is plenty when it comes to a multigenerational trip (for some families, even one week will be ample!).

5. What will everyone do?

The key to a brilliant multi-gen trip is a range of activities and entertainment that will keep everyone happy. As a general rule, the bigger the age range, the more options you’ll need to consider. Some should involve the entire family, while others should appeal to different groupings of people. For example, you and the grandkids might want to take off on a fishing trip while their parents do a cooking course. Later on, the entire gang might get together for dinner and a show. As long as everyone’s catered for in some way or another, everyone will stay engaged and happy all holiday long.

6. Take time out

We can’t stress this enough – no matter how much you love your family and how excited you are about your forthcoming multigenerational holiday, be sure to spend some time away from them! Spending 24/7 with just about anyone is sure to result in at least one or two moments of friction – and probably for very silly reasons indeed. Try and alleviate any potential or growing tension by getting the hell out of Dodge every now and then. Head off somewhere by yourself (or with your partner), or perhaps take each grandchild, one at a time, on their own little adventure with you. They’ll never forget this special time with their grandparent/s – plus it will have the added bonus of giving you time away from the rest of the group, so you can really look forward to getting together again to share stories of your day over a meal.

7. Pack smart

When it comes to clothes and certain personal items, it’s every man, woman and child for themselves. But there are other things that you can definitely share – and cut down on baggage in the process. Make a list of all the things you really don’t need two of: things like hair straighteners/curling irons and basic medical supplies (paracetamol, Band-Aids, motion sickness tablets, antihistamines, Stingose, Imodium, eye drops etc). Then simply decide who’s bringing what and enjoy that extra space in your bag!

8. Don’t let them underestimate you!

Just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean you’re not up for that hike/bike ride/white water rafting adventure, with at least as much energy and stamina as the “young ones”. You are not just there to be a babysitter!

Sue's sassy!

She became a member of Starts at 60 and got access to amazing travel deals, free masterclasses, exclusive news and features and hot member discounts!

And she entered to win a $10K trip for four people to Norfolk Island in 2021. Join now, it’s free to become a member. Members get more.

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