• – Marianne Vogel

Traveling with the grandchildren: Will I be able to handle it?


- As read in Silver and Gold Magazine's FALL 2018 issue. Read the whole beautiful issue right HERE (click).

Today’s baby boomers are younger than ever, not only in years but in health, due to better knowledge about nutrition and exercise, and improved medical developments. After retirement, many are travelling more, and are now including their children and grandchildren in sharing their special events such as milestone anniversaries and birthdays. Wedding celebrations have also become preludes to multi-generational travel with the whole family.

It is becoming nothing unusual for a parent to call a travel professional and make a booking for all their children, whether they live in the area or in another province, and want them all together for mom’s 70th birthday or their 50th anniversary. People no longer want to have this kind of celebration at home with all the planning stress involved, but would much rather enjoy having the children and grandchildren join them in a fun place like Dominican Republic, Jamaica or Mexico, where some hotels gladly cater to multi-generational family travel.

I have noticed the growth of grandparents wanting to share an experience with their grandchildren at a resort, where they can just make one stop and enjoy watching everyone have fun at their own pace!

Great places to go

The Karisma Hotel & Resort chain has a “Generations” hotel in Mexico, offering three bedroom options, including special services and amenities that cater to this type of family travel. I have been there myself, and amenities provided are just amazing! Beaches is another hotel chain that caters to the multi-generational set… and this type of service is quickly growing in the travel industry.

Many of the Grand Bahia Principe hotels also have family rooms, which consist of two-room suites that can accommodate up to seven people – and the savings are worthwhile! There are other hotels also offering family rooms, but be careful on what property you’re interested in, and have your travel agent do some research, as some hotels are equipped to handle these situations better than others.

Some have bunk beds (which can be small enough to only fit a child) while others offer just a big room with lots of beds. When children are a little older, you can also just book a number of rooms as a group, which can mean discounts plus maybe even a free room if there are over ten people in the group (note: children under a certain age usually will not count as part of a group booking, but will still receive a good discount if there are enough adults in the group).

Multi-generational travel doesn’t only mean taking a flight to a warm place – many families choose to get together and rent a full cottage or house together for a week. A client of mine has done this for a group of sixteen or more, and have enjoyed a beautiful Canadian lake getaway, where the family ranges from 10 to 75 years old. It’s a great experience when everyone contributes to the “theme of the week,” sometimes it’s country music and everyone brings a favourite country song or meal, sometimes it’s a favourite game night contribution. It’s a great opportunity to renew family ties and get some much-needed R&R while catching up with loved ones.

Cruising with the family

Cruises are a popular way to enjoy a multi-generational vacation. Disney Cruise line is one example, as they offer adjoining cabins… so mom and dad and the kiddies have one cabin, while grandma and grandpa are in the next one over. The little ones can have fun with Mickey or Snow White, and the adults can enjoy some adult time watching a show or enjoying dinner alone, as Disney even offers babysitting services! The Disney Specialist at our agency has shared numerous stories from satisfied customers, and their shared photographs say so much!

Royal Caribbean also has amazing kids programs that will keep the youngsters occupied for the day, with on-board zip-lines, rock climbing walls, pools and so much to offer, everyone can enjoy the day and then get together for a fantastic meal and show at night... This is how memories are built! If that wasn’t enough, Royal Caribbean ships are also Autism Certified, which is a great advantage for those who want the extra help during a vacation.

Sharing in family history

When the grandchildren are a bit older, historical multi-generation trips are a perfect opportunity to share in family history – taking them back home, whether to Europe, Asia, or anywhere else around the world. Show them the country, have them meet family that lives there, share stories with them first-hand, and make new memories... Not much else will help them get closer to family history, and to you!

Travelling as a multi-generational family is easy to do and can be cost effective in many ways. I highly recommend speaking to an experienced multi-generational travel agent, or giving me a call to discuss the many options and benefits to traveling this way. If properly organized, traveling with your children and/or grandchildren can be an extremely rewarding venture, and one which everyone will remember for years to come.•

Marianne Vogel is a Certified Travel Counsellor and Cruise Specialist. www.justforyoutravel.ca or call 905-627-0272

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