Making family memories has never been more important, and with more of us holidaying closer to home, now’s the time to consider a multi-generational travel experience with the whole family.
Occasions like Mother’s Day are the perfect opportunity to plan a short break with children, parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. It will bring the entire family together and build life long holiday memories.
Never travelled with extended family before? Here are some practical tips for planning a multi-generational holiday.
1. Designate a group leader
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely the one that will be ‘doing the organising’. Some call this role ‘the coordinator’; some ‘the meat in the sandwich’. But it is important to have a designated leader when planning a multi-generational travel experience. Ask around, but chances are, you’re it!
2. Get group input
Begin the process by asking members of the group what type of trip they would like to go on, and what sort of experience they hope to have. How long should the trip be? Also ask if they have any concerns. You may find some family members are worried about physical limitations, time constraints, or about the cost. Get all those issues out in the open.
3. Choose a destination that’s doable and suits all interests
It’s time to decide on a destination, and a key consideration is how you plan to get there. Is flying an option? If you plan to travel by road, how far can everyone comfortably travel in a vehicle in the time frame you have available? Will you all comfortably fit in one vehicle, or do you need to take two (or hire a larger vehicle?). And does the destination offer enough to do to meet everyone’s interests? Shortlist a selection of destinations and put it to a vote.
4. Set some expectations on cost
One of the most important steps when planning multi-generational travel is to ensure that all group members are comfortable with the cost. Prepare a budget with as many costs as you can think of. That includes travel (flights/petrol), accommodation, meals, and activities and attractions. Designate what the split is, or if you’re taking someone like Mum away as a guest on a special Mother’s Day trip, make sure everyone is on the same page about what costs will be shared.
5. Ensure everyone has a space to call their own
Choosing the right accommodation for multi-generational travel is crucial. While ‘together-time’ is important on a trip like this, so is ‘me-time’. How much space do you all need? Do you need completely separate spaces or are you happy to share a communal space? Keep in mind that some of the group may be early risers, some may not.
6. Plan meals in advance
Meals can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of group travel. Pre-planning where you are going to eat, rather than leaving it to spur-of the-moment decisions, will ensure dietary requirements are met and meals are enjoyed by the entire family. Enquire about dietary requirements, research cuisine options close to your hotel, and make group bookings well in advance to avoid disappointment during busy seasons!
7. Be upfront about who’s on childcare duty
If you hope to get the odd spot of child-minding taken care of during the trip, be up-front about it during the planning phase, and research child friendly activities in regions you’re travelling to.
8. Give the group extra time
When putting your final itinerary together for a multi-generational trip, it’s important to allow more time between engagements and activities than perhaps you normally would. Plan no more than two main activities per day, with decent breaks in between. If there’s lots of walking or physical activity involved, is everyone up to it? And if some family members want to sit out a particular activity, how will that work? Quality, not quantity of experiences is the key.
9. Do your own thing occasionally
Togetherness is great, but it’s not a set-in-stone given, even on a multi-generational travel experience. Group members will have different interests and may want to do their own thing at times. Arrange a time to regroup, and enjoy some time-out.
10. Document the trip
You’ll want to look back on this trip for years to come, so document it with plenty of photos, videos, and small but meaningful mementos. Give the role of ‘social media manager’ to one of the younger group members and ask them to save all the photos and videos they take, so you can go through them together as a group at the end of the trip. Making a scrapbook from the photos and souvenirs is something all three generations can do together, and you can relive the memories from the trip for years to come.
Need a place to stay?
Choice Hotels has you well and truly covered across Australia’s capital cities and regional centres with a superb range of accommodation options to suit every budget. Multi-generational family travel is well catered for. Choose from separate or adjoining rooms, and even two and three bedrooms apartments at some properties. Search online and book direct for a Lowest Price Guarantee.
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten.
Cover image: Tourism and Events Queensland