We’ve all heard or seen the universal proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Planning a multi generational family vacation is not your spur-of-the-moment weekend escape. But it will take you far in many ways as long as you handle the challenge well.
Here are some tips to help you plan and get the most enjoyment out of such a potentially lifelong, cherished touchpoint in your family’s history.
Planning a Multi Generational Family Vacation
Plan Together to Build the Optimal Vacation
This can be a tricky topic to introduce because there is always an urge to be democratic and things begin to fall apart quickly. Let me be perfectly clear. Everyone’s input is important, but one person must be the decision-maker for the group. What is infinitely important is that everybody gets to voice their hopes and concerns and that there is very clear and abundant communication from the person in charge. Everybody’s got different family dynamics and this could prove difficult, but I’ve found that whether difficult or easy, it’s always best to get everybody’s input going into a trip, especially when it comes to setting up expectations for kids early on.
A multi-generational family vacation is always an event. These kinds of trips are never easy and because of that they can be very rare occurrences. If you are planning such a vacation, you want everything to go well. That means keeping surprises to a minimum in most cases. Don’t try to work everything out on your own. planning the trip should be part of the fun for everybody. It builds anticipation as well as helps to set guardrails along the way.
Establish Needs Early On for a Framework
As soon as you start planning your multi-generational family vacation, start building the key elements of your trip. What do you hope to accomplish on this vacation? What are your goals and expectations? Find out what everybody else expects and come to an alignment of interests early on before you set out to plan any details. If you expect some alone time for a romantic getaway, make sure the grandparents are alright with taking the kids for as many times as you feel you will need. Ask if there are any concerns related to how fast-paced your trip should be, how long the days should be, how many late nights, etc. Address dietary concerns, meal times, and eating habits as well.
The better you can get an idea of what needs to happen, what can go wrong, and what goals can be met, the better you can gear your approach to making a better trip for everybody who’s going on this epic family adventure.
Split Up (You Can Do More Damage That Way)
Anybody who has ever been on a multi-generational family vacation knows that you have to take time apart. If you don’t feel that that’s the case, don’t force it, but chances are, like most others you will need to plan some time during your trip when people in your family are invited to split up and do whatever they like best. It’s just not likely that everybody will want to do the same things throughout the entire vacation.
Depending on where you go, there are bound to be a variety of options for how you can spend your time there. Everybody is likely to have hopes and expectations of what they can do on this trip and to arbitrarily shut some of those down for the sake of everybody staying together is a bad idea. It dampens moods and breeds resentment at a time when everybody should be bonding and forging happy memories.
Don’t Rush. Indulge in the Present Moment
Another mistake I often see in vacationing families, in general, is the need to plan out every minute of the trip. The fear of missing out becomes a driver for the most insane itineraries. Unfortunately, the more you do, the less likely you are to be able to fully enjoy it or build lasting memories. Slowing down is essential to having a positive vacation experience. If you want to make good time, do it through effective planning, but don’t rush. You plan your trip so that you don’t have to rush. This is even more true with young children and elderly family members who need a little bit more time to do things. The more generous you are with giving your family time to do things the better the quality of your experience will be. The less hurried everybody is the better they will all feel.
You may also like: How to Plan a Multi-Generational Trip to Walt Disney World