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Pat Schneider

Roseland, New Jersey Travel Agent

Multigenerational Travel That’s Fun for All

Planning multi-generational travel comes naturally to me. Travel is a long-standing tradition in my family. I traveled with my parents from a very young age, and have taken my children and grandchildren on vacation from the time they were small. Now a new generation of nomadic Schneiders has emerged: my children, their spouses, and four granddaughters all share the travel bug. Together we have explored destinations near and far, exotic and familiar.

I’ve seen the importance of family trips grow with each generation, both in my own family and those of my clients. These days, between sports and other extra-curricular activities, internships and parents’ work schedules, many families rarely have a meal together or do things as a family. In many cases, it can be challenging to find dates that work for everyone. 

It is just because everyone is going in different directions all the time that multi-generational trips are so important. These trips are often the only time that everyone spends time together. It’s no wonder that multi-generational travel is one of the fastest growing trends in travel.

Travel is also a great education. Seeing different cultures and how different people live expands children’s horizons. They usually come home with a greater understanding of their own culture and an appreciation for what they have. 

In planning a multi-gen trip, it’s important to consider the ages and abilities of everyone. It can be a mistake to take young children on a trip that requires long attention spans or lots of supervision. For example, most four-year-olds aren’t old enough to enjoy a cruise through the Galapagos or even on a safari in Africa; they miss a lot, and the parents and grandparents can’t focus on anything but the kids. 

For families with young children, all-inclusive resorts and cruises that have children’s programs are often a happy choice. That gives parents and grandparents a chance to share some adult time, while kids can enjoy meeting and playing with others their age. Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are among the lines that have activities geared to every age group.

Staffed villas can work for some families, but I usually suggest they rent a villa that is part of a hotel. That way, everyone has some freedom as well as a shared space for family time. For example, I’m sending an extended family group of ten to Hawaii. The kids are aged from one to nine. They will be staying in a four-bedroom villa that is located at a beach resort. The villa has its own pool, and I expect that the younger kids probably will be happy spending most of their time there and on the beach. On the other hand, because it’s part of the hotel, family members also have the freedom to easily enjoy the resort facilities and not feel limited.

When families want to explore Europe, Africa, the Galapagos and other destinations that involve a lot of moving around and sightseeing, I often suggest Tauck Bridges. The company does a great job of engaging everyone. They find awesome activities that families can enjoy together and it’s easy on the adults because everything is organized for you. I’ve used them with my grandchildren and sent many clients with them. Everyone returns thrilled with their experiences.

Multi-gen travel doesn’t always have to involve the whole family. One of my clients takes his sons and sons-in-law to Africa almost every year while his wife takes the daughters and daughters-in-law to Las Vegas. It can also be wonderful to take just one grandchild at a time on special trips. These are getting so popular that there’s even a name for them: Skip-gen! I love planning these. Like all multi-gen travel, these are great opportunities to bond and deepen family bonds.

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