Going on a multigenerational trip with numerous family members presents an excellent opportunity to bond, create new memories, and have fun together in unique ways. This is especially true for families who don’t live in the same area and instead are spread out across the country or even different parts of the world.
It’s also a great way to vacation somewhat inexpensively, as costs are often shared between several people. No wonder this type of travel has increased in popularity in recent years!
On the flip side, multigenerational trips can also be challenging to plan and execute, especially when you have to consider everyone’s vastly different ages, interests, travel styles, and needs. Whether you’re planning your first-ever or 10th multigenerational trip, our tips will help ensure that your next one goes as smoothly as possible.
What is Multigenerational Travel?
Multigenerational travel is generally defined as three or more generations in one family traveling together. For example, this could be a son or daughter traveling with one or both parents and their grandparents, grandparents traveling with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or siblings traveling with their nieces and nephews and their children.
11 Multigenerational Trip Tips
From setting clear expectations to striking the right balance between togetherness and alone time, these tips can help make your multigenerational trip a success.
Get Everyone Involved in Planning
The first step to a successful multigenerational trip is to plan ahead — and get everyone involved in that process from the get-go.
Consider having at least one planning session, ideally in person (another reason to get together!). If everyone is spread out, a virtual meeting can work just as well.
During this meeting, give everyone an opportunity to speak. You should discuss the needs and interests of every family member, including (and perhaps especially) children, seniors, and those with special needs. Everything from the destination and accommodations to what activities to do and sites to see should be covered.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the first one. One of the biggest keys to actually enjoying a multigenerational trip is for everyone to be on the same page. This applies to every aspect of the trip, from how much downtime everyone will have and what each day will look like to the budget and specific dates everything needs to be paid by.
Again, it’s important to let everyone have a say in this conversation. Decide on a few trip priorities, whether that means specific attractions or activities or that the entire group will eat breakfast or dinner together each day.
Even if you have a particularly easy-going family, when it comes to multigenerational trips, it’s important to establish these things at the beginning. The last thing you want is to have someone’s feelings hurt or deal with a major misunderstanding once you’re actually on the trip!
Designate and Delegate
You’ve probably heard the saying, “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Essentially, it means that too many people working on the same task ultimately ends in disaster. When you’re planning a multigenerational trip, the “cooks” are your family members, and if too many of you try to do the same thing, it may not be done well…or get done at all.
Early on, designate someone (or multiple someones) to be in charge of specific aspects of the trip: Person A can book the RV rental, Person B can make dinner reservations and/or grocery lists, Person C can find the best tours, and so on. You should also designate one person to be the money collector.
Set a Budget
Speaking of money, before you get super involved with planning your multigenerational trip, determine how much everyone can afford to spend. It’s a good idea to approximate the total trip cost in addition to what each individual can contribute. In families especially, it’s not at all uncommon that parents or even siblings may be willing to cover part of someone else’s share.
It’s extremely important to be realistic and honest about what you can and cannot afford. Setting a budget and establishing expenses early on will help avoid overspending and keep everyone on the same page.
Choose the Right Destination
When it comes to multigenerational travel, not all destinations are created equal. Look for places that offer a wide range of activities and attractions that appeal to everyone in your group. And especially if you're traveling with seniors or young children, don’t overlook factors like the weather and accessibility.
Book Accommodations Wisely
Along the same lines, think about the needs and preferences of every member of your family when choosing accommodations. Whether you’re considering luxury resorts or RV campgrounds, weigh factors such as accessibility and privacy in addition to comfort and amenities.
Again, particularly if you're traveling with seniors or babies, find out if your chosen accommodation has features like handrails, wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, or cribs.
Create a Flexible Itinerary
It's important to have a plan for your trip, especially with a larger group and varied interests, but make sure it’s not too rigid. Building some flexibility into your itinerary ensures that you can adjust your plans if needed due to weather or something else unexpected, plus gives everyone freedom to explore on their own or take breaks if necessary.
Have Fun Together and Keep an Open Mind
One of the very best things about multigenerational travel is the opportunity to have fun with your family. Regardless of what your itinerary looks like, plan at least a couple of activities that everyone will enjoy, whether it's a hike, a museum, or a day at the beach.
Also, be open to trying new things. Even if an activity isn’t exactly your cup of tea, go into it with enthusiasm and have the mindset that it’s an opportunity to create new memories together.
Build in Downtime
Traveling can be exhausting, especially when it involves family — and even more so if you have kiddos or seniors in tow. Be sure to schedule in some downtime for everyone, whether it’s used to rest and recharge or explore on their own. This helps prevent burnout and ensures that everyone enjoys the trip.
Respect Each Other’s Space
With downtime in mind, it’s important to respect that everyone on the trip needs it, as well as some space. Don’t be offended if someone in the group turns down an invitation, and if you're staying in a shared accommodation like a house or RV, create some private or semi-private spaces that serve as relaxing retreats.
Finally, go into your multigenerational trip knowing there will be some challenges. An elderly family member may need to go at a slower pace than everyone else, or someone with a toddler may need to take breaks throughout the day.
Anticipating these things ahead of time can help you navigate them and possibly offer solutions, or at the very least, let it roll right off your shoulders.
RV Travel is Ideal for Multigenerational Trips
Multigenerational travel is a wonderful way to bond with your family and create lasting memories. There are several ways to make it even more enjoyable and stress-free, including renting an RV (or two or three!) from Cruise America.
RV travel naturally offers features that cater to multigenerational groups, such as the convenience for people to go do different activities on their own, plus accommodation where you can sleep separately and enjoy privacy but still be close.
And with nearly 120 convenient rental locations throughout North America, you can easily go far or stay near!