How to Plan for a Multi-Generational Family Trip 

You need to plan the next family reunion, but you just can’t bear the thought of another potluck picnic while spending a Saturday afternoon passing around the photo albums and listening to the same old stories again. This year, ditch the traditional reunion and plan a multi-generational vacation.

There are many benefits to multi-generational travel, including building memories and spending quality time together. Picture this; instead of squeezing family time into a crowded schedule, everyone packs a bag and hops on a plane to a destination that is perhaps new to you all. Grandparents have time to read stories and rock babies, adult siblings chat about their lives over dinner at a new restaurant, and cousins explore together. Plus, all that bonding happens on a sunlit beach, at a mountain cabin or while touring historical sites. A multi-generational trip is sure to be an experience that the entire family reminisces about for years to come.

But, before you get to all the fun and bonding, you need to plan the trip, and that can be a pretty big task. To keep your family trip running smoothly, keep these easy tips in mind.

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Establish a point person for communication

The family bonding will start long before the plane takes off since a multi-generational trip takes plenty of communication and planning. While everyone will have fun discussing and daydreaming about the big trip, there should be one-point person responsible for keeping track of the details.

With a point person in place, start the planning process by contacting all family travelers. This is an excellent time to discuss potential destinations and schedules. It is important, and more fun, to include everyone in the initial planning, so talk with as many people as possible, including the kids. Hopefully, the entire group will enthusiastically agree on a destination, or at least reach a consensus. However, it may be necessary for the point person to make a final decision. 

As the excitement grows, the point person should send out reminders and information, but they don’t need to be responsible for booking everyone’s travel. Since schedules and budgets may vary, stay flexible and let each traveler make the arrangements that work best of them.

Select convenient flights

From heavy luggage to keeping track of everyone’s passports, there are plenty of things to think about on travel days, but inconvenient flights should not be one of them. Before selecting a destination, check into what flights are available from the airport nearest to the majority of family members. To simplify group travel, look for nonstop flights with departure times that allow you to avoid rush hour traffic to and from the airport.

Set a budget and save money

Between lodging, meals and activities, travel costs can add up. Money being a touchy subject, especially among family members, so it is essential to be upfront and honest about what everyone is comfortable spending. 

Happily, multi-generational trips lend themselves to cutting costs. Look into scoring a group discount with a hotel. Or, save even more by booking a vacation rental home. Vacation rentals typically provide more space with a lower price tag than a hotel room. Even better, rental homes allow families to socialize in a kitchen, dining room and living area which a hotel room isn’t likely to offer.

Dining out is an important part of the total trip cost, but offers an easy way to save on family trips. Rather than heading to a restaurant for every meal, cook meals together in your vacation rental. Another alternative way to save on food costs is to make sandwiches or pick up picnic supplies. Throw down a few blankets and dig into a simple, low-cost meal while soaking in the destination.

Create a flexible schedule

The key to a successful family getaway is to find a blend of relaxation and activities. Rather than packing the schedule with a full itinerary of tours, plan a few events that family members can opt into or out of based on their interests. While keeping everyone’s hobbies and tastes in mind, try to find attractions that are appropriate for every age group. It’s also a good idea to make restaurant reservations in advance, since seating a large group can be difficult.

Aside from sightseeing tours and daily activities, plan one big event to serve as the focal point of the trip. Whether it is a memorable meal at a fine-dining restaurant, a family-style dinner at your vacation rental or a once-in-a-lifetime activity, this highlight should be something everyone in the group attends. Based on the schedule, plan your focal point activity on the first day as a big kick-off to the trip, or on the last day as a send-off before everyone heads home.

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