Whether it’s an exciting multi generation family trip to the Disney Parks, or a relaxing tropical resort vacation in the Caribbean, here are some tips for planning a vacation that’s enjoyable for every generation.
1. Start Planning Early
- Start brainstorming vacation ideas and basic planning well in advance of your trip. We recommend looking at options 18 months out because it gives the members of your group plenty of time to think about the trip, budget, and save for the trip, if necessary. About 12-18 months before your trip it is a good idea to start talking with a travel agent to ensure your trip is as fun and carefree as possible. The earlier you book your vacation, the better. Booking early may give you access to better rates and make it easier to get rooms and flights together. Keep in mind that rooms may not be available for booking more than a year out and most airlines do not allow you to book flights more than 330 days before they depart.
2. Use a Travel Agent
- The logistics of planning a multi-generational vacation can be a nightmare for the family members tasked with planning and coordinating the trip. You will likely have family members of all ages coming from all over the country and coordinating the flights, ground transportation, lodging, meals, and activities for a large, usually opinionated group, can be quite a challenge. Enlisting the help of a travel agent can help to create a more enjoyable experience for all involved.
- Travel agents can help coordinate airfare to ensure your whole family arrives at your destination around the same time and has transportation to and from the hotel. Travel agents can offer recommendations on destinations and activities as well as negotiating better rates or group discounts. Best of all, travel agents will save you the time and hassle required to plan a large group trip and can provide the “voice of reason,” if necessary.
3. Determine Common Interests
- Find out what everyone wants to do on their vacation. Before you pick a destination, ensure it has something for everyone to do either as a group or independently. Make a wish list of everyone’s desired activities and focus on the activities with the most interest. Once you know what your family wants to do, it will make it easier to pick the right destination for your vacation.
4. Pick the Right Destination
- When picking the right destination for your multi-generation family trip, there are a variety of considerations to consider. How easy is it to get your entire family to the destination? Are there non-stop flights? How long are the flights? Are there lengthy layovers, etc.? Also keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always better. You may be able to find cheap airfare on a travel site, but if it has three layovers and takes you on a 12-hour scenic tour over half of the United States, the slightly more expensive three-hour direct flight may be the way you want to go, especially if you are traveling with small children.
- When picking your destination, also keep in mind the overall feel of your location, how your family likes to vacation, and consider any mobility issues family members may have. Destinations, resorts, and hotels have very different vibes and so do cruises. Some have more of an active party atmosphere while others are more relaxed and better for older families. So, it’s important to find the best fit for your family dynamic.
5. Pick the Right Accommodations
- It’s important to pick the accommodations that will be best for your family. You may be dreaming of a wonderful and cozy beach house where your whole family can gather for meals and social activities, but don’t forget to take your family dynamic into account. Sometime, too much togetherness on a family vacation can be an issue. If your family is very close and enjoys that close proximity, then that’s wonderful, but making reservations for a block of rooms near each other at a hotel or resort may also be a great option because it still allows for family time when it is desired, as well as some privacy when each family can go back to their own separate rooms.
- Keep in mind all costs associated with the accommodations that you pick, not just the cost of the room itself. For example, when planning a trip to Disney World, you can find lots of rental communities or hotels around the parks. They’re often less expensive, but they are not on property, so you may be missing out on many of the perks and discounts associated with staying in a Disney resort. When you stay off property, you’ll need to figure out transportation, parking, at the parks, etc. There are not as many discounts available on tickets or attractions, and you will need to plan or cook all your own meals as opposed to using the Disney meal plans, etc.
- When picking accommodations, you will want to pick a hotel, resort, or cruise with a variety of activities onsite or nearby just to keep everyone occupied. Some resort and cruises can be very family-friendly with fun pools, kids’ clubs, water sports, and other activities, but be sure there is plenty for the adults to do as well with age appropriate entertainment like shows, casinos, water sports, etc. That way families can enjoy being together for some activities or split up for alternative activities on their own.
6. Plan Group and Independent Activities
- Set reasonable expectations for your family members. Everyone won’t want to do all the same things every day. Be in tune with each person’s wants and needs and be open to planning different events for different family members. Some people will really enjoy a very active trip with plenty of activities to take part in, while others will be wanting a relaxing trip where they can sit by the pool or beach all day. Chances are that everyone will want to do something different, so plan to have a little bit of something for everyone.
7. Get Travel insurance
- When planning a vacation with a large group anything can happen and you don’t want to see your hard-earned vacation money wasted due to an unforeseen event. Having travel insurance can help reimburse you for your non-refundable travel expenses should you need to cancel for any reason. Be sure to read your travel insurance policy closely so that you know what is covered and how to be reimbursed should the need arise. A travel agent can give suggestions on the best policies and coverage needed for your trip.
8. Have Fun and Go with The Flow
- Remember, this is supposed to be a fun family vacation! It’s important to plan but be open to changing your plans once you arrive. Some members of your group may change their minds about pre-planned activities once they get a feel for the destination or accommodations. If you’re open-minded, you just might find a wonderful restaurant or activity that you didn’t plan on but really enjoyed!
If you need help in planning your next multi generation family vacation, call us. We can help. (410) 588-6938.