How to enjoy a multi-generational holiday
Nowadays, hectic schedules and school timetables get in the way of much-needed family time. Multi-generational holidays are a way to overcome these commitments and schedule time for bonding and catch-ups.
Yet although seeming like a great idea, multi-generational holidays can be difficult to plan, especially when it comes to catering to everyone’s expectations and needs.
In this blog, we outline some tips on how to plan a multi-generational holiday to ensure grandparents, parents, and children enjoy themselves.
1. Stay flexible
It’s hard to please every single person all the time as not everyone has the same idea of fun. The important thing is ensuring everyone is willing to compromise every once in a while when making plans. Try and find a middle ground that suits all parties.
If someone is unwilling to compromise and everyone else couldn’t care less, go with the former. Remember there are always likely to be differences in childcare approaches too, with grandparents sneaking the kids a few extra treats here and there. Be prepared to let little things go, reminding yourself it’s only for the length of the holiday!
2. Determine the non-negotiables
Listen to everyone’s needs, wants, and flat-out refusals when planning your multi-generational holiday. For instance, a family member with a strong fear of heights is probably going to refuse a mountain-climbing holiday or a walk across a canopy bridge.
Gauge the basic needs of the whole group and use this information to come out with activities that suit everyone. This extends to accommodation and transport too, as some family members may refuse to take public transport while others may request a hotel with a swimming pool.
3. Get everyone involved
While it’s useful to have one person preside over plans and keep everyone in check, it’s important to get everyone involved with the planning process. This prevents the responsibility from falling on the shoulders of one person, thereby ruining their holiday experience.
Get each person to contribute at least one thing they want to do or see while on holiday and include it in the itinerary. This takes the guesswork out of determining how to incorporate everyone’s desires and needs into the schedule.
4. Balance activities
Plan plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained throughout the holiday. Include a balance of fun activities, history and culture excursions, and relaxation time to ensure there’s something to fit all age groups.
That being said, avoid booking too many activities to the point you’re struggling to keep up with the itinerary. Grandparents or older family members aren’t likely to have the energy to keep up and the kids can benefit from unstructured play every once in a while too.
5. Schedule alone time
Although multi-generational holidays are all about bonding, it’s also important to balance family time with giving everyone their own space. Sometimes it’s easier to plan a family activity after breakfast and leave the afternoon free for people to do as they wish before meeting up for an evening meal once again.
Resting and spending days apart helps combat frustrations and disagreements that come from being in everyone’s presence for hours on end. Have a couple of days where nothing is planned and where everyone can go at their own pace and blow off some steam.
6. Think about transport and accommodation
Transport is an important consideration, especially when you think public transport may be a little too chaotic for the family. Look for countries with great self-drive options and consider hiring more than one vehicle. This prevents having to frustratingly wait until all parties are ready before leaving and allows people to splinter off on their own adventures without it becoming a burden.
Search for hotels that have amenities such as swimming pools and play areas to keep the children entertained. Ensure the accommodation is primely located to avoid extensive travel that may tire out older family members before the fun has even begun.
7. Budget costs
Consider the most economical way to travel to your destination. Flying may be the only way, yet sometimes it’s possible and cheaper to get the EuroTunnel or drive depending on where you’re going.
If you’re planning a self-catered holiday, work out how much everyone needs to contribute. Take into account everyone’s budget and determine who will pay for what. Remember to include travel insurance, excursions, meal tips, and drinks in your budget planning. This helps set realistic expectations from the get-go, making the holiday more enjoyable.
8. Don’t forget the kids
It goes without saying that you’re only as happy as your least happy child. Remember to include the children’s needs when planning both location and activities. A long-haul flight may be challenging for younger kids who haven’t yet travelled long distances.
Look for accommodation with holiday clubs where kids can have some independence and meet other children their own age. Also, incorporate fun activities to balance out culture and history excursions that are likely to disinterest kids. Work these activities around the kids’ general schedule, especially if they have a rigorous night routine. This prevents them from becoming cranky in the evenings and putting a downer on the holiday.
9. Get travel insurance
Make sure to get travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday, and preferably insure everyone on the same policy, so that you are all covered to cancel if you are unable to go because a member of your party is ill or injured.
Medical travel insurance is especially important when travelling with older generations who may have ongoing medical conditions. To be fully covered, make sure everyone has declared any existing medical conditions that they may have.
Total Travel Protection is a specialist travel insurance provider offering holiday insurance to UK residents. We can cover every member of the family on the same policy, including those with existing medical conditions, and as we have no upper age limit, covering grandparents who may be over 70 or over 80 is also no problem.