A family of children, parents, and grandparents holds hands while walking through a field.

5 Tips for Planning a Multigenerational Vacation

Vacationing is, ironically, hard work. From dealing with the logistics of packing to dealing with the TSA, planning everything yourself can lead to anxiety and exhaustion. When you're adding grandparents, parents, and children all in the same trip, there are even more things to think about. Here are some ways to help it go smoothly.

  1. Involve Everyone in the Planning
    As obvious as this sounds, planning a vacation can create complicated logistics, and it's easy for people to get lost in the cracks. Maybe some family members are too young and their opinions aren't taken seriously. Maybe family members don't live in the same house, or, worse yet, they say they don't have an opinion. Here's a secret: they really do have an opinion. Getting everyone on the same page helps to make sure that everyone has fun, and it keeps one person from feeling like the weight of the whole vacation is on his or her shoulders.

  2. Choose Accommodations Wisely
    Maybe you're the kind of family that can share one room or suite, but depending on how many of you there areand how long the trip is—it might be wise to consider separate rooms or a vacation rental. No matter how much you love somebody, sometimes you need a wall that you both can be on opposite sides of for a few minutes. Consider the closeness of the quarters you're used to and how long you're going to be in them when you choose a place to stay.

  3. Schedule Relative Downtime
    Give everyone a break from time to time. While a rigidly planned vacation can be fun, it's probably not going to be relaxing, per se. Plan a few hours for the grandparents to watch the kids while the parents take a break, or for the parents to take the kids out somewhere while the grandparents catch a break. If everyone is trying to take everyone else's needs into consideration all of the time, you're going to come back more exhausted than when you left. Give everyone space here and there. Make it a deliberate decision, and build it into the schedule.

  4. Consider Everyone's Interests (And Abilities)
    Maybe you want to snuggle into a mountain cabin hideaway with a good book, listen to the falling rain, and sip wine all day. Your kids are going to go out of their minds with boredom, and in turn, drive you out of your mind. Likewise, if you're considering hiking the Appalachian Trail, the grandparents might not be up for that. Honestly, this is a place where something like a cruise or a resort can come in handy. Providing a semi-structured environment with a wide variety of things to do across a relatively small space is perfect when you're trying to get people of all different ages together for a good time.

  5. Be Ready to Compromise
    With so many people going at once, all parties aren't going to have the perfect vacation where they get to tick every box off of their list. But you can do your best to make sure that everyone has a good time together, and that everybody gets to do at least one thing he or she really wanted to do. Set your expectations realisticallyknow that this will be fun, but probably not relaxing. Remember that this is more about togetherness more bucket lists. Be open to things not going as planned, and keep your priorities in order. Trips like this can be unpredictable, but incredibly rewarding if you allow them to be.

Last Updated: July 14, 2016