How to Plan a Multi-Generational Vacation


Going on a multi-generational vacation can be an incredible experience with careful planning and consideration. Here are a few tips to help make your trip into a dream vacation for the whole family.

Discuss Your Budget

Nobody likes to talk about money. However, planning a multi-generational vacation without a budget can be disastrous. Whether one family is paying for everyone, everyone is paying for their family’s portion, or you’re dividing the trip evenly, it’s important to agree on a budget in advance.

Some vacations offer a little wiggle room if you have people with different budgets and expectations in your party. For example, a cruise would give the grandparents the opportunity to splurge on a balcony suite. On the other hand, the family with young children might be happier saving a little money on an interior room (bonus: the kids won’t know that the sun sets at midnight in Alaska!). A cruise would allow each family to make the room choice that’s right for them.

Choose the Location

Whether you’re planning a staycation or traveling around the world, choosing the location for your multi-generational vacation can be difficult. One way to tackle this is by asking each family what their ideal vacation would be and why they think it would be good for the family. This may sway some people into easily jumping on board with a different idea they hadn’t otherwise considered.

Brainstorm a “Must See” List

After you choose the location, the fun begins! Visit your local library and check out travel information. Depending on the destination, you may find travel books, travel movies, kids’ reference books, picture books, and so much more. The internet can be a great resource for kids. Simply type in your destination and the general age of people visiting. For example: Hawaii with preschoolers or European cruise with grandparents.

Set aside time to talk about everyone’s “Must See” attractions and food before leaving on the vacation. Some groups choose to let each family plan a day for the entire group. This way, everyone has something to look forward to.

Other families schedule a few activities each day and let the group divide into what they’re interested in exploring. This can work especially well if you have a wide range of ages on the vacation. For instance, the wine lovers could go to a vineyard, while the adventure-seekers could go zip lining, and a few adults could take the kids to the beach.

Discuss the Pace

Does your family like to run hard all day and then unwind with a leisurely dinner? Is that possible with kids who go to bed early? Maybe your family likes to take a mid-day nap (not just for kids!) or spend the afternoons by the pool. Whatever you do, make sure to talk as a family before the vacation so everyone knows what to expect.

If your family is tempted to go, go, go all day, you may want to consider planning for rest. Whether it’s an hour of rest each afternoon or taking a “lazy day” in the middle of the trip to unwind by the pool, setting aside time to regroup can make the entire vacation go smoother.

Consider your Children

Even the most quiet and well behaved children appreciate some play time after a long day at a museum. Consider your children when you’re planning the days. Most destinations have parks well suited for children.

If someone in your group has a formal dinner on their “Must See” list, plan ahead to make sure your children are up for the challenge. Whether that means taking naps that day, running around at the park before dinner, or bringing a new set of color-changing markers to dinner, going into the meal with a plan will let everyone breathe easy.

Plan to Eat

Planning meal times can be tricky, especially if you’re traveling between time zones or you’re meeting relatives from different regions. One way to curb hunger is by packing snacks.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of vacation, but nobody wants to be around a multi-generational group of hangry people. Take time to eat, whether it’s a snack or a full meal. Snack time doesn’t have to break the bank – many places, even theme parks, are okay with you bringing in outside food.

Be Flexible

Take breaks and go with the flow. Traveling with your spouse and children can be tricky enough, but when you throw in a lot of other people with different expectations and needs, it can be downright challenging. Remember, every trip has its bumps. It’s okay if things don’t go exactly as you planned them. A multi-generational vacation is more about the overall experience than the little details of each day.