A multi-generational trip is an amazing way to create authentic, long lasting memories with your friends and family. But coordinating a multitude of individual needs and desires can overwhelm even the most intrepid traveler. Here are some tips to help make your vacation planning stress-free:
The larger the group, the farther ahead the planning. Start at least a year in advance to give everyone ample time to arrange for vacation time away from work or school.
choose a leader:
Assign a point person who can represent the group, coordinate its needs and wants, and present vacation options based on an agreed upon set of parameters including price per person and length of trip.
call your travel agent:
Sure, there’s lots of travel advice online, but it’s so easy to experience information overload and wind up down the “internet rabbit hole.” A travel agent (that’s me!) is a valuable resource and can suggest destinations, negotiate group rates, arrange complimentary amenities or upgrades, and organize your entire itinerary door to door. Need more convincing? Read my recent article “Top Twelve Reasons to use a Travel Agent.”
narrow the choices:
Discuss the needs of each traveler, including the kids and the teens, who usually have some genuine input and ideas. Do they favor city tours or country pursuits? Are they “Harry Potter” fans or “Beatlemaniacs”? Beach bums or adventure junkies? Foodies or fitness freaks? Remember, their opinions matter.
Guided group tours geared towards families (like Tauck’s Bridges Program) are a great option. Or, consider a cruise or all-inclusive resort. Many offer children complimentary accommodations or at a reduced rate, and both offer plenty of activities that appeal to a wide range of age groups. Private guided excursions in a van or minibus will bring everyone together and allow you to tailor sightseeing to everyone’s wishes, especially if individuals have physical limitations that need to be accommodated. Look for unique activities that will keep everyone engaged: a cooking class – think, pastries in Paris or pizza in Pisa; a Segway session in Seville; or London MINI-Cooper tour.
include some downtime:
Alone time is important – don’t expect family members to spend every waking moment together. Everyone can use a good afternoon nap no matter his or her age.
purchase trip insurance:
Comprehensive cancellation and medical coverage is crucial in the event of an emergency or unforeseen situation while away or back home, either prior to or during travel.
keep it fun!
Remember, the goal is being together with friends and family and taking time off from the busy lives we all live to enjoy some real (and electronic-free!) time together. Make it an unforgettable experience, and everyone will sign up for another trip, even before the first one has ended!
For more travel advice, check out my recent article: “Smart Traveler Tips”
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