Exploring Europe this summer, 72-year-old Penny Moore will also pack along three of four grandchildren.
A granddaughter, 22, will join two cousins, boys ages 15 and 17, and Moore to see London, Paris, Rome, and sites. Moore is looking forward to a gondola ride with her family in Venice and all of them attending a show.
“They’re all old enough to really enjoy this trip and gain quite a bit of knowledge from it,” said Moore, who added that another 19-year-old grandson couldn’t go because of a summer job.
“I want to give them an introduction to other countries, architecture, and languages,” Moore said. “Anytime you take kids someplace, they spot some things you don’t really spot. They come home and they might do something with that knowledge.”
Moore is part of an expanding travel sector: A growing number of people who invite extended family to go to a tourist destination. Such experiences often include grandparents, parents, kids, and cousins enjoying travel together – sometimes on cruises, in tour groups, or at resorts.
Trips with relatives can open up leisurely time to visit, celebrate milestones like anniversaries, and carry home memories.
“Multigenerational travel is one of the fastest-growing trends in the travel industry,” said Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, editor of Familytravel.com.
“It’s partly driven by the fact so many families have two-career couples. Families live in four corners of the country, and sometimes in four corners of the world.
“They’re planning these destination trips not only to visit with family, but oftentimes, research shows it’s also driven by milestone moments, maybe a 50th wedding anniversary or a 70th birthday,” said Hayes.
Betty Quayle, 78, has also gone with relatives on a Mexico cruise, and more recently to Sweden, Denmark and Norway. A daughter, sister, and cousin have travelled with her.
“Going with family means you’re with somebody you know and you can depend on, and they can depend on you,” Quayle said. “And it’s just more fun.”
Linda Crump, 76, has rafted the Spokane River twice with a 13-year-old grandson. A 22-year-old grandson went with her and their family to Hawaii, and Crump is planning a river cruise soon with a granddaughter, nearly 20.
“It’s important to do things with my grandchildren and the rest of my family; how much longer do I have?” said Crump, who will go to Ireland this fall with her 48-year-old daughter. Crump has travelled separately with two daughter-in-laws, one going with her to Costa Rica, and the other to Cancun.
“With each of my daughter-in-laws, I got to know them better on the trips. We really enjoyed each other’s company, sitting on our deck, having a glass of wine, and just visiting.”
Family bonding during holidays
Molly Gruse and Gala Payne, managers with a Tacoma cruise and travel division, have noticed a significant increase in multigenerational travel within the past five years.
“I’ve seen more grandparents wanting to host an entire family on a vacation and really create those memories,” Gruse said. Sometimes, extended family members say they’re marking a celebration, and the trip might be a last chance for the most relatives to pull off such travel together.
Cruises is a popular choice when the group has a wide range of ages, Payne said.
“With cruises, there are so many activities and entertainment for kids, adults and grandparents,” she said. “They can do the activities together or separately, and then come together for dinner.”
Disneyland and Disney World are popular with boomers traveling with younger generations, Payne said.
Hayes described bonds built during trips involving her extended family, with her father sharing his passion for fishing with the younger generation at the east end of Long Island and in northern Michigan.
Her top tips include: Families should consider a destination that offers activities for all ages and with separate rooms so members can have adequate rest and some separate quiet times.
“It’s great to come up with a destination or vacation plan where there’s one central thing that is fun for everyone,” she said.
For example, the beach is a stop most ages enjoy. Vacations might include a dude ranch for a common love of horses, or a golf resort if that’s a favourite family activity. Historic and heritage tours are other options, such as taking the clan to Ireland or Sweden if ancestors are from there.
“Family bonds are really important, the shared history, and enabling the next generation to get together,” Hayes said. “Even if it’s playing board games or sitting on the beach and building sand castles, doing simple things; those are the times when the best conversations take place.” – The Spokesman-Review/Tribune News Service/ Treva Lind
TIPS FOR FAMILY TRAVEL
Make multigenerational family travel go more smoothly, with hints from Familytravel.com editor, Lynn O’Rourke Hayes.
- Unload or divide chores. Plan a strategy so that chores don’t fall to one or two people. Perhaps go to a resort that’s all inclusive with meals, divide chores, or opt to have simpler meals.
- Unplug? Families should consider technology boundaries before travel time together. For cellphone use, have some understanding. The whole idea is to get together for conversation, so maybe at meal time, technology gets tucked away
- Balance down time and scheduled activities. Considering group size, part of the fun can be in planning. Families can pass out assignments to do research and design itinerary ideas. Consider ages and activity abilities too.
- Come together, allow apart. Although the purpose is for families to visit, relatives need options for some time apart. Toddlers and seniors need naps, early bedtimes or quiet. More hotels and resorts, recognising this travel trend, offer adjoining rooms or family studios with a common space and separate bedrooms. Grandparents might need a break from noise and toddlers.
- Plan sleep. Offer older travellers the better bed in a beach house rental that’s in a quiet corner. Think twice before opting for some to camp on the floor. If people aren’t sleeping well, they’re going to be extra cranky.
- Who pays for what. Some grandparents pay for vacations as a gift, but families splitting costs should discuss while planning how to do that equitably. It’s important to be respectful of other people’s budget limitations in planning. Try to get people to agree in advance.