You’re planning a family vacation…complete with extended family members and all. We’re talking sons, daughters, kids, grandkids, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, parents, grandparents, and/or maybe even greatgrandparents and great-grandchildren, too. Everyone on one great big multigenerational vacation. What a wonderful idea!
The ultimate goal, of course, is to spend quality time all together as a full family. To enjoy the simple pleasures in each other’s company. To share favorite childhood memories of years past. And to make happy new ones for years to come.
But if this is the first time you’ve attempted to coordinate such a trip, the details can seem a bit overwhelming, to say the least. Take it from us, you can now stop worrying.
That’s because the editors at Blue Mountain have pooled together to come up with 6 helpful tips on how to successfully plan a multigenerational family vacation.
We hope these tips will eliminate any stress you may be feeling and help to make this the vacation of a lifetime for everyone in your family!
1.Choose your dates
This is your starting point. Obviously, the more people involved, the harder it will be. But if you begin early enough (a year ahead isn’t unreasonable), it will make this whole process easier on everyone, especially if people need to request time off from work. The best-case scenario is to get everyone there that you want. However, it might not be possible. If that’s the case, you need to decide whether to go ahead without that person or persons (and hope they can make it the next time), or keep looking for more dates everyone can make, which may very well push your plans out even further. This is a decision for the group to make as a whole. Plus, everyone needs to agree on how much time they want to take for this vacation. Granted, not everyone needs to be there the entire time if it’s not feasible. But is one week best? Ten days? Two weeks? More? Less? Only your group can decide that.
2. Decide on a location.
This will either be the easiest or the hardest part of your planning process, depending on your group’s expectations. But the bottom line is, make sure everyone is involved in the end decision. The last thing you want is for one person to make the decision for everyone else, possibly causing hurt or even hard feelings. You may realistically not be able to please every single person, but everyone should at least have a say and be ok with the final destination. A camping trip? A beach resort? A ski chalet? A dude ranch? A theme park? A cruise? A trip to Europe? An African safari? Just make sure your destination (and associated costs) fits everyone’s interest (and budget). You don’t want to break anyone’s bank or make them feel uncomfortable.
3. Consider costs.
Refer to comment just made in tip above. Not everyone may be in the same boat money-wise. Be considerate of those who are not able to afford that African safari. There are also other factors that will add to the cost as well and need to be taken into account. How far is your destination? Can people drive there, or do they need to take a plane? Will someone be paying for everyone else for any part of the trip? Are meals extra? How about activities and excursions? Will any costs be shared or divided? These details need to be clearly discussed and conveyed so that there are no surprises in the end.
4. Plan appropriate activities.
Obviously there will be different age groups in your party. Some groups will vary more than others. But you want to make sure everyone has a good time, from the youngest to the oldest. So be considerate of limitations. Babies need to be held. Toddlers need strollers. The elderly may need canes or walkers. Then you’ve got teenagers who may want action. Couples who may want some alone time. And adults who may just want some down time. Remember, the wider the age range in your group, the more options you’ll want to offer everyone. Of course, togetherness is ultimately what it’s all about. So be sure to plan daily opportunities for everyone to just be together and enjoy each other’s company.
5. Factor in breaks—for everyone.
Little ones need their naps. The elderly need their rest. And everyone inbetween needs some R&R, too. So be sure not to jam-pack activities into every minute of every day without taking rest into consideration. After all, you want this to be a relaxing time for everyone there. And just being all together will be fun in itself. P.S. If anyone opts out of an activity or event for whatever reason, respect their decision. They may just need some quiet time to regroup. Remember, even the most tight-knit families can get on each other’s nerves sometimes. So give each person their space. Everyone will be happier for it.
6. Enjoy every moment.
It’s so easy to let your vacation slip by without recording the special highlights. If there’s a photography buff in your group, ask if he or she would want to be responsible for taking photos and videos throughout your time together. If not, make sure you take some memorable shots yourself of both exciting events and just one-on-one bonding. If you’re able, ask a trustyworthy person to take a group picture of your whole gang together. When you get back home, these will make for wonderful memories, not to mention a beautiful photo book, a treasured scrapbook, and even thoughtful personalized thank you cards—until your next family vacation!