Travelling with parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, and other family members can be an enriching experience. Not without its challenges, multigenerational travel is a goal for families with limited leisure time who seek togetherness in faraway places. But it requires some careful planning to make sure that everyone’s travel expectations are met. Technology is a huge help.
‘Multigen’ travel is a rising trend in global leisure travel, according to a recent survey conducted by GroupAccommodation.com. In the survey, 83% of respondents said that they enjoyed taking holidays with three (or more) generations of family members, and 75% said that they planned to do it again in the future.
“There are many reasons why multigenerational travel is so popular,” says Vera Nagtegaal, the executive head of Hippo.co.za. “People are extremely busy during their working year, so it’s great to be able to unwind with family members during holiday times. For parents of young children especially, there are real benefits to having grandparents around to share the load. And of course, for the grandparents, it’s a wonderful opportunity to make valuable memories with the family.”
Multigenerational travel requires a shift in thinking for families planning this kind of holiday and by the travel providers offering group packages. Small children might need supervised play areas, teenagers enjoy outdoor activities, while adults might prefer watersports or fine dining, and grandparents may prefer group activities or tours.
“Travel providers need to provide destinations with all of these options, and the flexibility for every person in the family to choose what they want to do without it being too complex,” says Nagtegaal.
For those planning a multigen family holiday, technology is an enormous boon. It’s possible to research destinations in detail with images to support decision making, read reviews from other travellers, and interact in real-time with chatbots or real people to get any specific questions answered.
Nagtegaal provides the following tips for anyone considering a holiday with three generations of their family.
• Have an upfront discussion about each family member’s priorities for the holiday – including food, entertainment, sporting activities, cultural excursions and so on.
• Establish a daily budget per person for all these activities – accounting for the fact that there might be more expensive items like tours, entry fees or transport on specific days. Compare experiences and holiday packages for destination-specific costs to give you a better idea of the total cost for your holiday.
• Settle on a short list of destinations, researching online the extent to which they meet each person’s set of holiday requirements.
• Read online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, paying special attention to the seasons in which the reviews were written. For instance, a waterfall worth visiting in the rainy season might not be running in the drier months.
• Once you’ve settled on a destination that best meets your family’s requirements, double check for things like wheelchair access or other mobility concerns if these factor into your plans.
• Create a rough travel itinerary using an Itinerary Builder tool from Travelfy or Wetu (there are free trials available) or to make sure that enough time has been allocated for all the activities that everyone wants to do.
Nagtegaal says that it is important that the entire process of planning and going on holiday as a family is an enjoyable one. “Before setting off on your next trip, it is important to make sure that you do your homework online by comparing travel experiences, packages, accommodation and flights – to ensure that you get the holiday that will meet your multigenerational needs.”