Multi-generational holidays and family reunions
The multi-generational holiday is on the rise.
Families are often separated by geography. An adult child might move away from his or her parents, and fewer of us enjoy the traditional grandparent-grandchild relationship that proximity provides.
Holidays provide a chance for families to get together, and travelling to a neutral location means that the onus does not fall on just one person to do the lion’s share of the entertaining and housework.
We all lead busy lives, but travelling gives every family member, from each generation, uninterrupted time together without the distraction of work, school and Saturday sport. Grandparents want to bond with their grandchildren, but they also want to have uninterrupted time with their own offspring and their partners.
Look for beach houses or villas that have enough bedrooms, bathrooms and separate living spaces to provide peace and privacy for all.
Avoid holidays that don’t suit the age and stage of the children or the physical stamina of older family members, and always follow the age and fitness recommendations of your tour operator. While a multi-generational walking holiday in New Zealand or a cycling trip in France might sound romantic, unless everyone is fit enough to manage it, it’s bound to end in frustration.
It also pays to be prepared. Be clear before you start planning the trip what everyone expects to get out of it. Also, make sure everyone knows how much physical exertion an older parent/grandparent can manage and if there are any accessibility issues. Choose accommodation carefully – places with too many stairs won’t work either for the elderly or young families with babies in prams.”
If there are health concerns, bring adequate medications and doctors’ notes, and choose a destination where medical attention is readily available.
Here are our five top tips for a successful multi-age holiday.
- Don’t skimp on accommodation. Everyone needs their own space and being on top of each other is a recipe for disaster.
- Do your research. Make sure there’s something for everyone in your chosen destination. For city holidays, work out the sightseeing highlights in advance.
- Be flexible, and build in downtime. Small children will need sleeps and time just to play in a park; grandparents will need quiet rest and relaxation.
- Allow for tranquil nuclear family time. Young kids can get overwhelmed by the stimulus from increased activity and cousin overload.
- Book a babysitter. Grandparents might be happy to babysit their young grandchildren once or twice in a week, but parents should not expect it every night.