Traveling with grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and kids is one of the hottest trends in travel. But a multigenerational trip requires far more planning and coordinating than your average family vacation.
Assuming your goal is to have a great time, make some great memories for your kids and ensure everyone is speaking when the trip is over, consider these tips:
1. Communication is key.
Call a family meeting--in person, via Skype, on Facebook, or any other way that allows everyone to have a say in the decisions. Solicit input from everyone, including the kids (if they're old enough to have an opinion).
2. Choose a destination with many options.
All-inclusive resorts in Caribbean locales are a popular choice. They have lots of activities for visitors of all ages and everyone gets their own room when they need a little alone time. Cruises work for families that prefer to see more of the world without having to repack their suitcases. Renting a big house where everyone stays together under one roof can work, but generally only for very close families.
3. Don't overschedule.
A multigenerational trip is not the time for back-to-back-to-back museum visits or any other demanding touring plan. Spending time playing cards, chatting and relaxing together with those more distant relatives should be the point of this trip, not seeing how many attractions you can check off your tourist list.
4. Accommodate everyone's need to sleep.
The baby and toddlers still need to nap (and maybe Grandpa does too) and the tweens and teens need to sleep in. Respect their need to sleep. It will make the trip better for everyone.
5. Work out the financial details before hand.
This is the most important--and potentially most dangerous--part of the whole process. Everyone needs to be clear about what they can and can't afford and who will pay for what--BEFORE you pack the suitcases.
Cindy Richards is the travel writer for Chicago Parent and editor for TravelingMom.com.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.