How to Make Multigenerational Travel Work for Your Family
Was the last time you traveled with your parents and siblings that trip to Disneyworld when you were 11? If so, now’s the time to book a follow-up family getaway.
That’s because multigenerational travel is shaping up to be one of 2018’s biggest travel trends. According to Euromonitor International’s 2018 Global Consumer Trends report, the rise of multigenerational travel “is in part about finances and Boomer parents helping their cash-strapped kids. Even so, parents and children now have a lot more in common. Parents are traveling further and experiencing more. Their children want to experience it with them.”
The spirit of family adventure is having a big impact. According to the Family Travel Association (FTA), as quoted in Travel Weekly, “multigenerational travel is a $300 billion market in the U.S—and growing. In a 2016 survey by the association, 87 percent of respondents predicted the family travel market will grow robustly or moderately within the next three to five years.” If you haven’t already embarked on a group outing, then 2018 is the perfect year to try multigenerational travel on for size. And we’ve got some nifty tips to help ensure the journey is as smooth as can be.
Where to Stay
Instead of booking up multiple spendy hotel rooms per night, there are better ways to accommodate groups on the go. Airbnb’s offerings can be filtered to include large abodes and cost-effective bed-and-breakfast stays, while HomeAway—whose listings skew towards more expansive properties in popular vacay spots, many with pools and other touches that families will appreciate—is an excellent bet for bigger groups. Provided you or your parents are up for a trade, Love Home Swap is an even more cost-effective way of accommodating big groups (and gives you access to some truly impressive crash-pads).
Where to Go
Compromise is a key aspect of multigenerational travel—especially if your sister is a foodie, your brother is outdoorsy, and your parents are art lovers. Your safest bet? Opting for a bang-for-your-buck destination with a range of attractions in store.
In the US, think medium-sized cities that also offer close proximity to wild nature. Seattle, say, with its vibrant counter culture, next-level café and restaurant scene, and epic sightseeing—Mt. Rainier, Olympic National Park, and the sapphire waters of Puget Sound are all within easy reach. Or Denver, just a quick ziptrip from Rocky Mountain National Park and the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, but also with enough trendy bistros, craft beer breweries, and boutiques to keep urbanites engaged. Internationally, Barcelona (with its beach, its architectural masterworks, its art museums, and its tapas restaurants) typifies the something-for-everyone destination.
How to Get There
Naturally, we’re big fans of road trip travel, and our fleet of vehicles—from sporty Mini Coopers to spacious SUVs—caters to families of various sizes. If you’re traveling with family members who have less mobility (or simply want to relax), on the other hand, a winding river cruise is a good, low-impact way to discover a new destination. And as for flights, be sure to consider off-peak travel options, which are both more affordable and less crowded—both ideal conditions for sizeable groups.
Beyond the logistics, multigenerational travel will always come with its interpersonal challenges, though some advanced prep can smooth over rough patches (and ensure your getaway remains a good experience for everyone).
For starters, make sure to build in time for solo exploration—giving everyone the space to recharge is a sure-fire way to avoid disagreements. Build a playlist of mutually agreed-upon tunes or podcasts to fill the conversational gaps, and don’t overbook yourselves: a slower pace gives everyone the ability to get to know the destination for themselves.