There is something utterly magical about traveling with the whole family. But it is not always easy deciding on the best place for a multigenerational vacation. Where can you go where everyone will have a great time?
I love watching both my parents and daughter discover new things, and even more than that I enjoy having the people I love the most all in one place. Of course, having an extra few sets of hands to wrangle the kids is an added bonus. But it can be hard to find a destination that appeals to everyone, so if you have decided to take a vacation as a family to celebrate a milestone birthday, retirement, graduation, or just to spend time together, I have put together some ideas for multigenerational travel and some recommended destinations to inspire your next family trip.
An ocean cruise is probably the most traditional option when it comes to multi-generational travel, but it remains popular for a reason: there is something for everyone! The kids can spend the day in the kids’ club, Mom & Dad can spend some time at the pool, and the Grandparents can take a mixology class. With wine tastings, trivia, scavenger hunts, first release movies…you won’t run out of things to do unless you want to.
If you are traveling with young kids then Disney Cruise Line is the best in the industry. Traveling with children a little older, you may want to consider Royal Caribbean. Want to make this traditional vacation a little more adventurous? Consider a destination other than the Caribbean. Alaska, Mediterranean, and Norwegian Fjords cruises all offer something that everyone will enjoy.
Is anything better than beaches, family and barbecue? Being from New England I don’t know anyone who doesn’t remember spending time at the beach with their grandparents. But for my parents a beach vacation always meant MORE work and less relaxation. Packing everything up for the house rental, cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping. To make this a relaxing experience for everyone, look for resorts with villa style accommodations. Let them do the laundry and clean the sand toys.
One of my favorites is Hilton Head. There are some amazing beaches and even more amazing golf courses and spas there, and with many resorts offering kids clubs, the adults can actually enjoy some of those amenities. The city of Savannah is a short drive away and opens up a plethora of activities, adventures, dining options, and nightlife. Seeing as the cuisine is usually my driving point in decision making, this destination will always be top on my list.
A river cruise is my favorite way to travel. It allows you to explore a region in a unique and stress-free way. Rivers were the highways that most of Europe was built on. When you are traveling as a large group and/or with children, the stress of moving everyone from one location to the next can really derail a trip. Boarding your river cruise allows you to see multiple cities and towns without having to change hotels or spend hours on trains and buses. This style of travel used to be reserved for retirees but Disney has opened it up to families. Their partnership with AMA Waterways not only offers accommodations for families of 4 (which you will not find on other river cruises) but also itineraries that appeal to everyone. Imagine enjoying a wine tasting in France knowing that your kids are safe with trusted Disney cast members, having their own tasting…of pastries.
Adventures by Disney currently offers river cruises along the Rhine (Switzerland, France, Germany, Netherlands) Rhone (Southern France) Danube (Austria, Germany, Hungary) and Seine (France.) While I personally love the Rhone and can’t wait to experience the Danube next year, I would recommend families new to exploring Europe start with the Seine. It really immerses you in the French culture; it highlights history with visits to Normandy, art in Paris and Giverny (the home of Monet!), the natural beauty of the region with an option for bike, hike or zipline adventures in Rouen, and of course cuisine all along the way with food tours, brandy tastings, cheese seminars and more.
There is something for everyone to enjoy at a dude ranch and most are all inclusive, making it simple to plan and budget for your next family vacation. What is really nice about this type of destination is that you are surrounded by spectacular beauty, far from the noise and crowds of fast-paced cities, and it becomes hard not to reconnect. The BEST part is that there really is something everyone will enjoy…kids activities are numerous, teens will love adventuring on ziplines, rough waters, or horses, and adults can enjoy fine dining (yes, many dude ranches offer amazing 5 star restaurants!) and relaxation with fishing and spas.
I LOVE Jackson Hole WY. It is not somewhere I ever had an interest in visiting, but I had to go for a work trip and fell in love. The majesty of the landscape paired with the realness of the people was just astonishing – it was genuine in a way no other place I have visited has ever felt. Adventures by Disney has two amazing itineraries in the Yellowstone area – one that features Jackson Hole WY and the other Bozeman MT. If neither are in your budget, consider a stay in downtown Jackson Hole.
Heritage travel is essentially traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that represent where we came from. Through storytelling, authentic experiences and cultural tours, travelers can examine the life and times of their family’s history and the modern lifestyles of the region their ancestors came from. There is nothing more special than learning about your heritage with your family and the children that will continue your legacy.
I can’t really recommend a specific destination because this is based entirely on you. Right now I am planning on my own multi-generational heritage trip to Greece. It is a trip my father has been talking about and wanting to take for going on twenty years. While I have been extremely fortunate to travel to the country my great grandparents emigrated from, my father has not yet been. I am so excited to watch him discover the history and culture of his father and share it with Annabelle. Being from Boston, I plan a lot of heritage travel to Italy and Ireland as well. Both are amazing for the whole family but I would recommend waiting until children are a little older to get the full experience out of Italy. Ireland is easy for kids of any age, and if you need a little push… check out the reasons you should bring your kids to Ireland.
If you have a family that is scattered around the country and you are looking for a way to slow down and enjoy each other’s company without all the tours and activities, you may want to consider a villa rental.
With options for villa rentals almost anywhere, it can be hard to choose a destination. My preference would be in the Tuscan countryside or provincial France where agrotourism (staying on a working farm) is growing. Being able to walk to the village to get fresh food or stop at the vineyard to enjoy their best vintage sounds incredible to me. It is an opportunity to really live like a local and understand a new culture.
These are just some of my personal favorite ways to travel with my family. Of course the possibilities are endless and there are just so many incredible options for multi-generational groups. It can be overwhelming to coordinate multiple flights, many interests, and everything that goes along with a group. It can also be difficult to arrange something that everyone will enjoy. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. I specialize in planning multi-generational vacations and I am able to help you for no additional cost.
In the meantime check out Common Mistakes When Planning a Multigenerational Vacation to make sure you avoid some typical pitfalls.
Are you ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, but are starting to feel overwhelmed with the amount of choices you have, as well as the time it takes to research these choices? Travel is one of the best ways to get away from daily routines and reconnect as a family, but with so much to see and experience, it can be difficult to narrow down the best options for your family. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book your trip. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
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