Putting the Whole 'Family' Into Family Vacations

Putting the Whole 'Family' Into Family Vacations

When opting for a vacation, we usually consider only the kids. To make your next vacation a one your family will never forget, make it an intergenerational adventure.
The trend of grandparents, their adult children and grandchildren traveling together has increased over the past few years. In fact, more than 5 million family vacations annually include three generations, according to the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). In addition, the TIA predicts that 6% of travelers will take grandchildren with them this year, compared with 4% last year. To help make the experience fun, be sure to choose a destination that offers something for everyone.

Tips to Choose a Place
  • Hawaii offers kids and grandparents alike a variety of options. History buffs will enjoy the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center, while more adventurous groups may want to visit the Big Island, home to the longest continuously erupting volcano, Mt. Kilauea.
  • Orlando, Florida is for kids of all ages. Everyone will find something to suit their fancy―from guided boat trips in the Everglades, the ocean, miniature golf courses, and themed restaurants such as King Arthur's Feast (eat with your hands, no silverware allowed) to water parks, theme parks (including Ripley's Believe It or Not), Kennedy Space Center and more.
  • San Diego, Calif., is a wonderful place for animal lovers. Families can enjoy SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Wild Animal Park. In addition, San Diego has great surfing and nearly 70 miles of coastline. And Disneyland is only an hour away.
  • Mexico has an extensive list of all-inclusive resorts where grandparents and kids alike will enjoy the planned activities and day trips. All-inclusive resorts can offer value for families, since many offer free nights and meals for kids. In the Cancun/Riveria Maya region, travelers are close to the historic Mayan ruins and, of course, the beach. Cancun is also a great destination for snorkeling and other water activities.
  • Puerto Rico is a good option for an adventurous group. Because it's a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico's road system, language, and conveniences are familiar to American vacationers. Puerto Rico is home to abundant historical sights as well as eco-tourism at its best. In addition, kids and adults will enjoy a visit to the Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory (with a massive satellite dish featured in many recent movies), which is home to NASA's Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program.
Tips On Managing Activities
  • Remember that kids and adults don't have the same energy level. Account for that when planning a vacation―set up activities for the kids during the day when the adults can take a break, and schedule around your family's normal habits.
  • Young children and adults may get up early, but teens may want to sleep in. If you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, check to see if activities are planned for kids.
  • Explore taking a tour with a guide that can speak to any age group. Look for add-on day trips with a vacation package or tour groups that offer teachers or experts as guides. A great guide will understand that the adults and kids in the group don't have the same attention span and will plan accordingly.
  • Plan some separate time for just the parents or grandparents. Just because it's a family vacation doesn't mean that you have (or want) to spend every second together.
Opening up your vacations to several generations at once not only ensures that you'll be exploring a wider variety of destinations; you'll also be gaining a wider variety of perspectives and insights into the places you visit. Children will get to know their grandparents in ways they'd never be able to at home, and parents can reconnect with their own parents in ways that hearken back to their own family vacations when they were children. An intergenerational family vacation will be one you'll never forget.
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