How to Plan the Perfect Multi-Generational Family Vacation

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A multi-generational family vacation is an opportunity to unplug, reconnect and create lasting memories. And they’re increasing in popularity.

A recent survey shows that in part this is due to baby boomer grandparents interested in spending quality time with their kids and grandkids.

According to the study,

For more than one-quarter of Americans, these multi-generational trips will include three generations – they will travel with both their children and their parents or in-laws.

If this is something your family is embarking on, here are a few tips to help you plan the perfect multi-generational family vacation.


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1| Plan in Advance

Timing is critical when planning a multi-generational family vacation.

Working around multiple school and work schedules can be tricky and it’s rare that they would coincide beautifully. Therefore, for smooth planning hold a family meeting to discuss logistics of the trip at least 1 year in advance. This will leave time for navigating calendars before they get full and allow for early booking of airfare, accommodations and excursions.

Plus, did you know that studies have shown that the anticipation of a vacation can reduce stress levels?


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2| Location, Location, Location

It’s all about location. The travel destination for your family vacation will set the course for the trip and will determine everything from accommodations to activities.

Choose a destination that everyone can agree on and that allows each generation to enjoy their idea of rest and relaxation.

Are you traveling with teenagers or kids under the age of 5? Are the grandparents coming along? Are there thrill seekers or night owls in your party?

Consider the various ages of those traveling with you and what stage of life they’re in to decide on a destination that will have something for everyone.


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3| Settle the Logistics

Once you’ve decided on your destination it’s time to coordinate the detailed logistics. More people traveling together means more moving pieces, literally.

How long will you stay? How you will get there? Will you travel there together or rendez-vous later? Do you need to rent cars? If so, how many? Do you have to navigate car seats? Will you eat out most of the vacation or make your own meals? Who’s picking up the tab for what?

Answering these questions at a family meeting will give everyone a chance for their voice to be heard and allow for smooth orchestration of all the details of the trip.


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4| Set a Loose Itinerary

Perhaps you’ve experienced this before: a vacation that makes you want to take a vacation once you return home. Usually this is simply due to over-scheduling.

Setting a loose itinerary will help minimize over-scheduling and relieve family members from the pressure of joining an activity.

Here are a few guidelines for creating a flexible itinerary:

  • Be sure to ask for everyone’s input to include activities that appeal to each age group.
  • Set a few activities that the whole family can enjoy doing together. After all, spending quality time together is the reason for planning a family vacation in the first place!
  • Include some time apart. It’s nice for each traveler to have an opportunity to do what helps them unwind, relax, and get the most out of a vacation. Perhaps some love to shop ‘til they drop, some could spend the day curled up with a good book, or others prefer traversing the great outdoors.
  • Accommodate generational gaps. Plan breaks for senior travelers, navigate nap times for little ones, or provide parent-approved activity options for teenagers who want some independence.


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5| Accommodate Everyone

Vacation rentals are a perfect choice for a multi-generational family vacation because they give you the best of both worlds: common areas for togetherness and separate bedrooms for privacy. They easily accommodate crying babies, night-owl teenagers, and early riser grandparents, while a hotel doesn’t. There’s enough space for the entire family to eat together and they usually come with a slew of family-friendly amenities!

Other popular accommodations for multi-generational travel include cruise ships or all-inclusive resorts.


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7 Reasons to Choose a Vacation Rental over a Hotel

Author: Andrea

Originally from Oklahoma, Andrea has traveled to 30 countries on 4 different continents and is now, along with her husband and daughter, happy to call the OC her home. Together they enjoy being outdoors, exploring new local places, and finding fun things to do as a family in Orange County.