Forget leaving the kids at home or telling your parents you'll see them next Thanksgiving. Today, more extended families are taking trips together. In fact, travel agents report that 35% of clients take multi-generational trips once a year. So what is behind this growing trend of families jet-setting together?
Baby boomers are in large part to thank. As members of this generation start to retire and become grandparents, they are choosing to plan and spend on travel with their children and grandchildren.
One parent writes on Parents.com that a major incentive behind multi-generational travel is the opportunity to strengthen family bonds in today’s busy, frazzled environment. While working to coordinate schedules and preferences amongst a big group can be challenging, these family trips give Mom and Dad a much-needed parenting break and allow children to connect with their grandparents in a less formal, funsetting than a wedding or other family gathering.
Park City, Utah is one vacation destination that is seeing the multi-generational travel trend play out first-hand. Parents will hit the ski slopes while grandparents relax with kids too young to ski at the lodge. Besides famous ski resorts, Park City has a thriving arts, dining and culture scene that families can explore all together after perhaps being split up on the mountain.
The classic beach vacation is also popular with multi-generational travelers with many options for renting beach homes or condos within easy reach of Atlantic beaches, boardwalks and National Parks. Keep in mind that not all activities will be within walking distance and plan transportation accordingly so the family can explore in different directions.
Cruises are another popular vacation option for multi-generational families. According to SunSentinel.com, “cruises are especially active in marketing, emphasizing activities for all ages, meals included, a preset package price and group discounts.”
Royal Caribbean in particular is working to accommodate the needs of multi-generational families. Their new ship, Quantum of the Seas, launching in fall 2014, includes staterooms designed with families in mind and will introduce modular rooms that can be connected in different configurations. These “Family Connected” staterooms give multi-generational groups more space and flexibility in sharing a home base on board. Families also can look forward to activity options unexpected on a cruise ship, like bumper cars and roller skating. Really adventurous families may even take on the new Ripcord by iFly, which allows people to experience the rush of flying without the fear of sky diving.
As everyone goes along for the ride, wherever it might be to, kids, parents and grandparents are forging stronger bonds, create more lasting memories and redefining what is meant by “family vacation.”