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Dawn Browning

Scottsdale, Arizona Travel Agent

Family and Multigenerational Travel

As a grandparent as well as a travel agent, I know how important multigenerational trips can be in forging strong family bonds and identity. I also know how essential it is to plan each trip carefully based on the ages, abilities, and interests of each family member so that trips are not marred by crankiness and everyone can relax and have a great time. 

My family tradition in recent years has been to spend a week in Destin, Florida each summer. The youngest grandchildren are two and six, so on some evenings, I babysit so the 30-something parents can go out and enjoy the nightlife. And while we share some activities, I plan our stay so that everyone has the freedom to come and go as they please.  

Beaches are great for families, and I send a lot of multi-gen groups to all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. The ones that cater to kids have great children's programs, usually included in the cost, and you do not have to worry about paying $7 every time your child wants a soda or a hot dog.  

But families should not think that traveling with children limits them to beach resorts. With proper planning, it easy to take children almost anywhere. In a few years, when our youngest grandchild is five years old, we look forward to taking the family farther afield. I have my eye on some Tauck Bridges tours and AmaWaterways/Disney river cruises, both of which cater to family members of all ages. The kids can learn so much on these trips and traveling with a guided group like that makes it fun and relaxing for everyone.

Cruises with good kids and teen programs are also a great choice for families and multigenerational groups because everyone can have the freedom to go off in different directions when they want to. I have one family that usually starts out with a week on a Celebrity Cruise where their kids love the activities. Then, once they are in vacation mode, they spend a second week getting into a single place. One year it was a week in a Tuscan villa; another time, they stayed along the Amalfi Coast.  

I also send a lot of families to Hawaii, because there are so many exotic experiences for families to share, from swimming with dolphins and snorkeling through coral reefs to hiking through tropical rainforest. Each island has different unique attractions and many families combine two or three islands.  

The Big Island feels like you have landed on Mars in places. Volcanoes National Park offers lots of ways to discover the volcano, and on the other side of the island, there are snow-capped mountains and a space observatory. Oahu has Waikiki and Pearl Harbor, Maui offers every advantage imaginable, and laid-back Kauai has large expanses of land that are magnificently untouched. 

For off-the-grid experiences, I often suggest expedition cruises to destinations such as Antarctica and the Galapagos. There, zodiac expeditions can be as active or laid-back as you like and naturalists provide fascinating information about everything you are witnessing. 

The best thing about family trips is the bonding that happens among family members. Creating shared memories helps promote lasting relationships among cousins, aunts, and uncles as well as between spouses.

 Best of all, when I arrange your family retreat, I handle all the logistics and think through all the details so everyone can relax and focus on having fun together.

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