3 Tips for Planning Your Next Multi-Generational Family Vacation

While I think solo travel can be fun and freeing, nothing beats traveling with a group of people you care about. Whether you’re hitting Las Vegas with a group of girlfriends for your friend’s bachelorette, embarking on a guided tour of Alaska with people you’ve just met or taking your kids to Disneyland for the first time, there’s much to be said about experiencing destinations in the company of others.

But what about a trip where you travel with your parents, kids, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all at the same time? According to a recent article from Forbes that references a study from luxury travel network Virtuoso, multi-generational family vacations, of all types, was one of the biggest travel trends in 2018 and is increasing in popularity. It’s not difficult to see why: These trips provide an excellent opportunity for families to reconnect with each other, all while taking part in an adventure of travel and discovery.

Thinking of planning a multi-gen getaway for your family? Here are a few of my tips so you can have the best time ever!

Choose a Location that Has Something for Everyone and Involve Everyone in the Planning

Successful group trips hinge on keeping everyone happy, so make sure your crew has a say in where you go and what you do while you’re there. Start a group chat or email thread to generate ideas about destinations and activities that are suitable for everyone’s age, travel experience and interest level. 

Stumped for a location that will be fun for grandma, grandpa and the kids?  Look no further than the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Pick up your rental at one of Alamo’s D.C. airport locations and you’re good to go!  The city is full of history, culture and loads of options for both knowledge-seekers and foodies. D.C. is a destination sure to keep everyone engaged, no matter their age bracket. 

The White House, Washington, D.C. The White House, Washington, D.C.

For example, grandparents can connect with their grandkids by taking them on a mini field-trip to the National History Museum, where they can spend hours walking through the institution’s enthralling and educational exhibits. At Bone Hall, for instance, they can compare and contrast the skeletons of animals like giraffes, snakes and flying fish, while the Butterfly Pavilion lets them get up close and personal with over 300 real live butterflies.  (Bonus: Limited free parking is located along nearby Ohio Drive, SW.)

Consider Mobility Issues

Multi-generational vacations require being aware of and sensitive to any issues that may make it different for the people on the trip to get around. Sometimes, traveling with older people means that limited mobility is a reality, so it’s important to be considerate of this by planning. 

The safety and happiness of the entire group is key when organizing a multi-gen family trip, so try to stick to destinations that either don’t pose problems with those unable to move around easily, or identify places that have alternatives for getting from point A to point B. This is why having a rental car is both convenient and efficient!

I speak from experience: I recently went on a vacation to Miami, Florida, with my mother, aunt and uncle, whose persistent arthritis makes it hard for him to walk. As a result, we made sure that he brought his cane on the trip, rented a car so we could limit the amount he’d have to walk on his own and stuck to well-trodden, paved pathways that wouldn’t hamper his movements further. 

Wynwood Walls, Miami Wynwood Walls, Miami

If you have similar concerns with your group, the area in and around Miami can’t be beat for a multi-gen family getaway. Hanging by the hotel pool or on Miami Beach, for instance, is a great option for those with restricted mobility (the 1 Hotel South Beach claims to have the largest rooftop pool in all of Miami). A scenic drive, or a day trip cruising around the Florida Keys, or to the Bahamas and back, are also activities the whole family can enjoy, regardless of age or physicality. Up for a bit more walking? A leisurely stroll checking out street art at Miami’s Wynwood Walls is a colorful alternative to the southern Florida’s famous beaches. Regardless of what you decide to do, pick up your rental at Miami International Airport and hit the town; the sky, sea, and surf is the limit!

Consider a Heritage Journey

The goal of a multi-gen family travel trip is for families to connect with each other, so what better way to do that than to base a family vacation around the exploration of your family’s heritage and ancestry? According to the same Forbes article referenced earlier, heritage travel is a huge trend right now and with good reason: Digging into your family’s history is not only fun, but memorable.

My family is from the Caribbean, so years ago I traveled to Jamaica with more than 15 family members to reconnect with the past. My cousins and I had an amazing time seeing where our parents and grandparents grew up. In turn, the elders got a kick out of taking us around to all their old haunts, and reminisced about all the fun they had, the people they once knew and the things they enjoyed doing in “back in the day.”

If you’re one of the many African-Americans that has roots in the South, heritage tours in Charleston, South Carolina are a wonderful way to explore your ancestry. With over 200 years of African-American history there are several impressive museums and tourist sites chronicling the legacy of the city’s black community! While the Old Slave Mart Museum relates a difficult part of Charleston’s past, it’s an important historical and ancestral site for African-Americans with roots in the South. Besides the sentimental value, embarking on a heritage journey on your multi-generational family vacation provides an excellent opportunity to connect (and reconnect) with your family in a most meaningful way.

Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina

Multi-generational travel is a travel trend that won’t disappear any time soon, as it’s the perfect solution for spending much needed quality time with loved ones while ticking destinations and experiences off your bucket list. Hopefully these tips will allow you to plan a memorable trip with the people you care about most.

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About the Author

Oneika Raymond

Oneika is the voice behind "Oneika the Traveller", an award-winning travel blog dedicated to inspiring, encouraging, and empowering women and people of color to see the world. A thrill-seeker who's always in the midst of planning her next trip, Oneika has bungee jumped over the Zambezi River, fished for piranhas in the Amazon, and climbed active volcanoes in Guatemala and Ecuador.