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How to plan a multigenerational family trip that will create lasting memories

Have you ever considered travelling with your extended family?  

According to research conducted by the luxury travel network Virtuoso, more and more Canadians are choosing to embark on multigenerational trips. Canadians prefer vacations with a significant other and multigenerational travel. With over half of the 500 travellers surveyed believing that travel is essential to the development of children, Canadians are opting for long-lasting memories that bring the whole family together as they explore new places.   

CAA Travel Consultants are also seeing the trend, getting more and more inquiries for multigenerational trips that offer something for the whole family. “Some tour itineraries are specifically geared towards having points of interest and excursion choices for travellers of all ages,” CAA Travel Consultant Jennifer Cochrane explains. “This makes these meaningful family experiences all the more possible.”   

Why plan a multigenerational trip?

A multigenerational trip is about family and experiencing a new destination with your loved ones, prioritizing your time together. They are a great way to bond as a family and create memories for years to come.  

“I think it is a great way to build lifelong memories and create a shared experience in a time when there can be so many other distractions,” Cochrane says.   

Some multigenerational trips also help maximize limited vacation time. For example, if you only get two weeks of vacation, you might not want to spend one week at your parent’s home catching up. It can be hard to balance family time with getting the chance to travel. Instead, a multigenerational vacation helps you get the most out of your holidays. You can plan quality bonding time, and everyone can depart on vacation together, creating quality memories. 

Tips for planning a multigenerational trip

Multigenerational trips can be a wonderful way to spend time with your loved ones. But knowing where to start can be stressful. A trip that caters to your whole family can be challenging to find, and it can be difficult to juggle the schedules and budgets of everyone on the trip. However, with careful planning and preparation, you can create a successful trip that your whole family can enjoy. 

Start the planning process early

Planning a multigenerational trip can be both exciting and challenging. You’ll want to consider the preferences and needs of all family members. By getting everyone in the planning process, each family member feels valued and their opinions considered, leading to a more enjoyable trip for all.  

Plus, it helps build anticipation and excitement for the upcoming trip. By discussing and sharing ideas, everyone becomes invested in the journey and feels a sense of ownership. Planning together can lead to better cooperation during the trip itself, as everyone will better understand each other’s expectations and desires for the trip.  

To avoid any last-minute stress or disappointment, plan early and lock down a date as soon as possible. Consider planning several months to allow time to coordinate better and avoid date conflicts. Are there important events at work or school that people can’t miss? Or are the kids already on school holiday for a week, so it is the best time to go?  

Starting the planning process early also allows for more options. Popular destinations tend to fill up quickly, especially during peak travel times, so it’s essential to secure reservations as soon as possible. 

Give everyone a say

When planning your trip, remember to set realistic expectations with everyone coming from the trip. Getting the whole family involved in the planning process, or representatives from each group or generation, means you can learn what everyone wants from their vacation. Once you understand everyone’s wants and needs, you can work together to plan your tip.   

If planning a trip that the whole family will love feels like a lot of work, you can look into tour groups that offer family itineraries. There are many tours that allow your family to discover a love of travel together with expertly crafted itineraries that help you explore the world. 

Figure out your budget, and who’s paying

When travelling with a multi-generational family, you’ll want to figure out your budget early. Everyone will be comfortable spending different amounts, so plan and set a budget early in the planning process. Just because mom and dad are coming on the trip doesn’t mean they’ll pay for everything like when you were a kid.   

In many places abroad, restaurants won’t split the bills, so having someone designated to pay will make things easier for you and your servers. At the end of the trip, you can divide the costs. 

You can always delegate different types of spending, which can help alleviate stress on one person’s credit card. Have an organized person keep track of the expenses and receipts to better work out what everyone owes.   

With larger groups, it may be worth it to book a driver or private tour guide that can help balance the needs and abilities of the whole family. While these private experiences may seem more expensive, they are often more cost-effective. 

Choose a destination that offers something for everyone

Multi generation family sightseeing beautiful town of Valldemossa, Majorca, Spain
Imgorthand | iStock

When deciding on a destination for your multigenerational trip, consider the interests and abilities of each family member. Look for a location that offers a variety of activities and attractions that cater to different age groups.

Consider accommodation and transportation options

Choosing the suitable accommodation is crucial for a successful multigenerational trip. Look for options that offer enough space for everyone and amenities and facilities to make the journey more comfortable and convenient.

Check the amenities of your accommodations. In Europe, only some hotels have an elevator, or there may be a lot of stairs to enter the hotel. When travelling with older generations, make your accommodation accessible to everyone you’re travelling with. The last thing you want to do is lug everyone’s suitcases up six flights of stairs because the hotel doesn’t have an elevator. 

For those who don’t want to walk everywhere, pay attention to and research local transportation. Uber isn’t an option everywhere, so research what taxi and ride-share services are available at your destination. Some cities like Cinque Terre or Venice are entirely car-free, so you’ll do a lot of walking. Walking around Cinque Terre means navigating a lot of hills, so it may not be a suitable destination for everyone in your family.   

If you opt for a tour, speak to a travel consultant to see what options are available. For example, throughout the trip, many tour groups provide comfortable accommodations and transportation and knowledgeable guides who cater to the needs of children and adults. 

Don’t over plan

Woman reading book in hammock
Beli_photos | iStock

It’s easy to get carried away with planning every minute detail. After all, you don’t know when the next time you’ll return to the country so you want to see as much as you can. However, group trips tend to go slower, so leave room for spontaneity and unexpected opportunities. Some in the group will want to spend longer at attractions than you might expect or adjust the plan to step into a shop or museum that catches their eye along the way.  

Plus, the physical abilities of each family member may vary. So, while you can easily walk from one sight to the next, others might need more frequent breaks, transportation between locations, or adjusting the route. For example, someone who uses a mobility aid would have an easier time not strolling on the cobblestone street but on the nearby flatter road.   

It’s also vital to leave room for downtime. Travelling can be exhausting, especially when you’re not used to being with your family for multiple days all the time and adjusting to new cultures. It’s crucial to have some time each day to relax and recharge, whether it’s taking a short nap or a few hours when the group can split up to pursue their interests, such as wandering through an art gallery or going to a cooking class to learn how to make a regional dish. 

Allow for alone time

While a multigenerational trip is about spending time together, alone time can help you make the most of your trip. Having time to wander local streets at your own pace can often lead to memorable moments you otherwise could have missed, whether it’s a fantastic bakery or a breathtaking viewpoint. Not every activity or every hour of the day needs to be spent together, and not everyone has the same interests or wants to visit the same attractions. Splitting up helps everyone see and do more of what they want. You can also break apart for mealtimes, allowing everyone to indulge in their favourite foods or try something new.  

Book your multigenerational trip

Get ready for the ultimate multigenerational vacation with CAA Travel. Book an appointment with a CAA Travel Consultant to start planning your family vacation with the help of an expert. 

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