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The Benefits Of Multigenerational Travel
We thought that multigenerational travel or intergenerational travel (that is, traveling with grandparents) was something that only our family did. However, on a recent holiday we saw how widespread and popular it is to combine several generations of family on one vacation and came up with this thought-provoking list about the benefits of travel in mulitgenerational groups.
During this time, probably 50% of families we interacted with were “multigenerational” – grandparents with the grandkids, three generations traveling as one – or perhaps our favorite, a Great Grandmother, her daughter, and the Great Grandchild all on holiday together!
What Is Multigenerational (Intergenerational) Travel?
Multigenerational travel is a relatively new and favored way for families to spend time together. By families, we mean parents, their parents, the children, aunts, uncles and cousins to go on holiday together.
So, I hear you ask, “what are the benefits of such an arrangement and are there any difficulties that you might encounter”? How can you ensure that a trip like this is enjoyable and even stress free?
Let’s start with the benefits of multi-generational travel.
1. Maximize Holiday Time
Forget the old days of spending a week at your folk’s house so the kids could spend time with the Grandies. Take the Grandies on holiday and everyone is happy and you get an extra trip in for the year! Time is one of the most important commodities today. Making this one of the bonuses of traveling together.
2. Relationships Flow Easier On Holidays
In general, vacations are a time of relaxation and overall happiness. You know how things always seem easier on holiday. So too are relationships with the folks.
3. Tick Off Bucket Lists
With grandparents fitter and healthier than ever before, and with a healthy taste for wanderlust in their bones, means that everyone can visit destinations that they have dreamed off. I can’t say for sure, but many grandparents have travel bucket lists too!
4. Cost Savings/ Economic Efficiency
For those who live on other sides of the world, long haul travel with littlies (for example, from Australia to the UK /USA /Canada) seems very daunting. Who wants to take 3 small kids on a flight?
More to the point, paying for long distance, international flights for 4 or 5 people can be crippling! Therefore you can save on the bank balance and have the grandparents visit you – just two flights instead of 4. Several of the families we met had grandparents who had traveled long haul to spend time with their children and grandchildren. Then they all went on a holiday near to the children’s home.
5. Reduced Travel Expenses
In addition to paying fewer flights, there are inherent cost savings in combining accommodation, or bulk bookings. Of course this is depending how many people are traveling! However, more people together means combined savings which, usually, means reduced travel expenses.
6. Grandparents Are Wonderful Carers
It is often said that freed of the daily grind of parenting, grandparents are wonderfully soft and kind, with all the time in the world to share with grandchildren. This sharing of family history contributes to a sense of grounding and belonging for grandchildren. In a fast paced and often disconnected world, this belonging will be increasingly important to staying grounded and realistic.
7. Different Ages Provide New Perspectives
Educational and history wise, grandparents can share an alternative viewpoint as they come from a different generation. Children can learn about the “olden days” while their parents can also learn from their folks. Personally, as this Mumma has grown mellow and entered her 40’s, she has stopped to ask her own parents about their history.
8. Grandparents Are Built-In Baby Sitters
That is right, instead of just having mum and dad to raise the brood, there are suddenly two more hands to help. Also, if you are looking for a date night, massage, or to do your dive master course, they are often delighted to help.
Having grandparents around that are willing to care and happy to care for the children help give mum and dad time to reconnect.
How To Make Your Intergenerational Travel Run Better!
Let us not wax lyrical or get starry-eyed about the idea of having a built-in baby sitter along for the trip. There can be some issues when an extended family comes together.
Sibling rivalry may raise its ugly head, or your laid-back free range parenting style might not work so well for your authoritarian father. Yes, there are inherent difficulties in families. Some people might feel that the benefits of multigenerational travel are outweighed by the problems caused by traveling with the grandparents. So, here are some ways to make your multigenerational travel vacation a success.
1. Establish The Hierarchy
I laughed when I wrote this! What I mean is who is going to be the boss on the trip? This may fall naturally to the travel planner or most organized. However, if there are competing candidates for this role, establish roles, and discuss how the trip will be planned.
2. Discuss Costs And Budgets
Your university student sister might not have the same budget as you, nor might the parent on a pension. There are going to be differences in spending patterns, so discuss costs, who pays for what, from the outset. This way any uncomfortable moments, or cause of friction, can be avoided.
3. Be Aware Of Different Interests/Energy Levels
Another way of describing this is, who needs a nap and who does not? Smaller kids will need a nap and so will older folks. Keep this in mind so those people can plan their day. In our case, the grandmother has a sleep at the same time as the 2-year-old and everyone else goes out!
4. Plan Alone Time For Different Groups
Depending on your style of accommodation this will be easy or difficult to achieve. We like Airbnb’s for multigenerational travel (check out our full post on pros and cons of Airbnb’s here ) but it does mean that the common spaces are shared at night.
If you are going on your first multigenerational travel trip, you could consider each group (within the broader family group) has their own hotel room each night to retreat to. Also, be aware that the whole family may not want to go traipsing around tourist sites and that’s OK.
Establish boundaries for what is acceptable and what is not. Communication is so important and so are boundaries. Make sure to establish these early on and be flexible.
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