February 25, 2020. By Ashley Agnew:
With a minimum ten-year age difference between all of our family’s children, even a family trip consisting of just the members of our household is multigenerational. Wishing for our next vacation to be enjoyable for all parties (and having unsuccessfully gone the “this year for you, next year for me, etc.” route) we reached out to family travel specialist, Christina Vieira, for her advice on destinations that would best suit our needs. She shared this post from her own blog on www.showcasetheworld.com which provided wonderful recommendations for families of all ages and sizes, and which she graciously allowed us to share below:
Multi-generational Family Travel Destinations
There is something utterly magical about multi-generational family travel. Personally, I love watching both my parents and daughter discover new things together, and even more than that, I enjoy having the people I love the most all in one place. While there are many reasons to take a trip with immediate and extended family, it can be hard to find a destination that appeals to everyone. If you have decided to take a vacation as a family to celebrate a milestone birthday, retirement, graduation, or just to spend time together, I have put together some styles of travel that lend themselves to multigenerational groups and some recommended destinations to offer a little inspiration.
Ocean Cruise: An ocean cruise is probably the most traditional option when it comes to multi-generational travel, but it remains popular for a reason: there is truly something for everyone. Children can spend the day in the kids’ club, Mom & Dad can spend some time at the spa, and Grandparents can take a mixology class. With wine tastings, trivia, scavenger hunts, first release movies and much more, you won’t run out of things to do (unless of course you are most looking forward to doing nothing at all and simply lounging by the pool).
If you are traveling with young children, the Disney Cruise Line is the best in the industry. Traveling with children a little older, you may want to consider Royal Caribbean. Want to make this traditional vacation a little more adventurous? Consider a destination other than the Caribbean. Alaska, Mediterranean and Norwegian Fjords cruises all offer something that everyone will enjoy.
Beach Vacation: Is anything better than beaches, family and barbecue? Being from New England I don’t know anyone who doesn’t remember spending time at the beach with their grandparents. But for my parents, a beach vacation always meant more work and less relaxation. Packing everything up for the house rental, cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping. To make this a relaxing experience for everyone, look for resorts with villa style accommodations. Let them do the laundry and clean the sand toys while you enjoy your quality time.
One of my favorites beach destinations is Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. This domestic destination is home to amazing beaches, golf courses, and spas. Additionally, many Hilton Head resorts offering kids clubs so the adults can enjoy some of those amenities. The city of Savannah is a short drive away, and opens a plethora of activities, night life, and unbeatable dining; seeing as cuisine is usually my driving point in decision making, this destination will always be top on my list.
Dude Ranch: There is something for everyone to enjoy at a dude ranch, and as most are all inclusive, these are simple to plan and stay within budget. What is really nice about this type of destination is that you are surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, making it easy to reconnect to nature and your loved ones. For groups traveling with older children and teens, there really is something unique for everyone to enjoy including ziplines, white water rafting, fishing, and horseback riding. Many ranches also have 5-star dining and spas on site as well.
A popular destination for this type of vacation is Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and for good reason. It is not somewhere I ever had an interest in visiting, but after a work trip and I fell in love with the serenity of the area. The majesty of the landscape paired with the realness of the people was just astonishing – genuine in a way unlike any other destination I had experienced. Adventures by Disney also has two amazing itineraries in the Yellowstone area – one that features Jackson Hole, and the other Bozeman, Montana.
River Cruise: A river cruise is a wonderful way to explore a region in a unique and stress-free way, especially in Europe its riverways were the main form of travel leading to the success of many great cities. When you are traveling as a large group and/or with children, the stress of moving everyone from one location to the next can hinder the enjoyment of a trip. When planning for multi-generational groups, ease of logistics and maximizing time is always top priority. Traveling via river cruise allows you to see multiple cities and towns without having to change hotels or spend hours on public transportation. This style of travel used to be reserved for retirees, however Disney alongside AMA Waterways not only offers staterooms accommodating families of 4 (which you will not find on other river cruises) but also itineraries with activities to spark the interest of all travelers regardless of age.
Adventures by Disney currently offers river cruises along the Rhine (Switzerland, France, Germany, Netherlands), Rhone (Southern France), Danube (Austria, Germany, Hungary), and Seine (France.) Though each river has its own appeal, I would recommend families new to exploring Europe start with the Seine. It really immerses you in the French culture and rich history with visits to Normandy and art in Paris and Giverny. The natural beauty of the region lends itself to experience the landscape with biking and hiking excursions for all levels. Of course, the French cuisine along the way provides plenty of opportunities for food tours and tastings to enhance all palettes old and young.
Heritage Travel: Traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that represent our heritage can be a truly special way to build memories across generations. Through storytelling, authentic experiences, and cultural tours, travelers can examine the life and times of their family’s history and the modern lifestyles of the region their ancestors came from. There is nothing more special than learning about your heritage with your family and the children that will continue your legacy. If you are looking for a way to slow down and enjoy each other’s company without all the tours and activities, you may want to consider a villa rental for an opportunity to really live like a local and understand the culture.
Through your own family conversations, you can choose your destination. These conversations alone can be a wonderful family experience as you conduct research together to find your original roots. As I write, I am planning on my own multi-generational heritage trip to Greece. It is a trip my father has been talking about and wanting to take since my siblings and I were young. While I have been extremely fortunate to travel to the country my great grandparents emigrated from, my father has not yet been. I am so excited to watch him discover the history and culture of his father and share it with my daughter, Annabelle.
It can be overwhelming to coordinate multiple flights, many interests, and everything that goes along with traveling with a group. Working with a travel professional can greatly alleviate these stressors by acting as your personal travel concierge. The possibilities are endless and there are just so many incredible options for multi-generational groups. I hope that the ideas above incentivize you to plan your own trip, and I am more than happy to assist in creating your perfect family vacation.