When I first heard the term ‘multi-generational family holiday’ I did a double take. You see, to me, that’s a pretty normal family holiday. As a child myself I had lots of cousins and have really great memories of days out in big groups and hordes of us descending on my Grandparents.
Both Matt and I are the eldest of four and Luisa is the only grandchild so we’re quite used to doing things in rather large groups. Lu is really lucky to have so many aunts, uncles and second cousins who seem to have infinite patience and can almost match her appetite for fun. Of course in five or so years, with a few more little people running around, that may change but for now multigenerational travel and days out are normal to us – we wouldn’t have it any other way.
According to The Telegraph, 12.5million Britons went on a trip consisting of at least three generations in 2014. A more recent survey of 1500 families showed that 46% were planning a trip in 2018 involving grandparents and/or aunts and uncles. So it seems we’re not alone in our love of a big, noisy adventure.
What are the benefits of multi-generational travel?
By far the biggest benefit in my opinion is the quality time. I don’t know about your family but often we squeeze in visits at the weekend which are great but always working around various schedules and commitments. Being on holiday together means you have time to catch up and reconnect with siblings and parents in a way you can’t do so easily on a snatched Saturday afternoon. Activities Abroad have some fantastic trips available that can be tailored to be full of action or downtime – whatever combination suits you best. I love the idea of being able to go off for an adventurous day with some of the group while others relax. A destination where everyone can set their own pace is ideal for a multi-generational family holiday.
Practically speaking, multi-generational travel allows you to make the most of your annual leave – especially if you don’t live close to your parents. You can take time off work for a family trip and enjoy it in a big group rather than split your holiday allowance visiting different people.
In the same vein, you have more opportunities to save money when travelling with extended family. You might decide that having your own space is important but the option is there to share a villa or split the cost of car hire.
Another big benefit for us is having extra help. Even if you don’t get a night ‘off’ thanks to a kind offer of babysitting you do have people to share the mental load by helping to entertain your children and listen to their chatter.
Above all, the memories you can make on a multi-gen family holiday are priceless. I don’t mean to give in to cliche but it really is true, regardless of where you go or how long for there’s nothing as fun for children as having all their loved ones relaxing together forgetting about life for a few days.
What about challenges or downsides?
I’ll not lie, there are aspects of multi-gen travel that are difficult for everyone. For starters, everything inevitably takes longer. From the planning, to the booking to actually getting out the door in the morning – more people, more issues. I think the best thing to do is be flexible and establish early on that it’s okay to do different things. Just because you all went away together doesn’t mean you need to spend all day together. That’s no fun for anyone.
Talking about your priorities for the trip will make for a better experience for everyone. There’s no point in booking a really sleepy remote villa when half the group are craving adventure or a rustic lodge when some of your party have a spa day high up on their agenda. Communication from the start is so important. That applies to budget too – if you’re on a tight one make sure to let people know early on and pick a destination that will work financially for you all.
Overall, despite the inevitable stresses and strains that you get doing anything in a large group I think multi-gen holiday are worth it. There’s no better way to reconnect and once you’re been home for about ten days those rose tinted glasses kick in and you’ll be ready to plan the next adventure.
Read more of my family travel content here and do let me know if you’ve got any questions about our experiences of multi-gen holidays – we’ve been on a few, near and far.