Many families are scattered across the country. They rely on texting, phone calls, emails, Skype, Zoom and, of course, emojis to express feelings. In today’s world, this seems to be the norm regarding how we share love with our loved ones. Sending emoji kisses is a far cry from planting a kiss on your child or grandchild’s cheek and having a face-to-face conversation.
A wise grandmother knows the value of a well-planned trip with her children and grandchildren and a trip with a grandmother at the helm is the way to go. Above all, she personifies wisdom.
While there are a variety of trips families will take this summer, here are 3 travel tips every grandmother should consider for a successful multigenerational vacation:
1. A Well-Thought-Out Plan
When I plan a trip, I think of what will be fun and unforgettable for everyone. I want the trip to give my family shivers of delight. I want them to come home begging for another adventure because I quenched their thirst by taking them out of the classroom and into the real world. Hooking their curiosity, intoxicating them and amazing them is so important. And, I want to further instill within them the importance of their family ties.
Planning a trip starts with the players, the budget and the destination. Make your plan based on these criteria. Always remember, it is not how far you travel but what you want your family to take away from the trip. I want my family to realize they can go halfway around the world or, like their grandmother, travel down a block with their pup and come home with a story or two to tell.
I don’t have to travel thousands of miles to experience adventure. Neither do you. I want the trip I plan to spark curiosity. I want them to catch the trade winds like their grandmother so they can dream, explore and discover something exciting down the block or in Rwanda watching the Silver Back gorillas. My goal is to expose them to wanderlust.
2. The Destination
I ask myself, What will all the members of my multigenerational family enjoy? Why am I excited about this destination? What is the educational and emotional value? What is unexpected about this trip? These are examples of how I weigh options. Let’s imagine I want every member of my brood to take marvelous pride in being an American. Do I want to travel to Washington DC or do I want to take them to Normandy, France, walk the beaches of Normandy with a history guide so they feel the fear and the bravery of young American troops who fought back the Nazis during the Invasion of Normandy in World War 11? The theme is the same: God Bless America.
Do I take them to New Orleans where the food scene is one of America’s most remarkable and experience a Mardi Gras and true jazz for the first time? Or do we fly off to Italy for cooking and art classes? These trips are all about culture.
You will have no problem choosing a destination. The trick is taking your time in choosing a destination and an itinerary that your multigenerational family will never forget.
Savor Every Moment
It is important to travel as a family every minute of the trip. The only time my family is apart is during bedtime. Many multigenerational family vacations are taken aboard cruise ships. If this is your choice, remember there are several activities on board, allowing families members to go off on their own. This is not ok with me. I might as well be texting! I want a trip to draw my family together and inspire conversation so we return home even closer-knit.
If you decide on a cruise, find out its activities and make a family itinerary beforehand. Everyone likes organization. It is up to you to provide this. A van is a great way to travel. You are close enough to have interesting conversations as you traverse from place to place. Or consider a bike trip or a river cruise. I recommend Tauck Tours for a family river cruise.
3. The Rule
While this may sound counterintuitive, instead of giving my family a rule, I give myself a rule. Everything about the trip is based on my desire to please my family. Memories are so valuable. A family trip should be full of incredible memories our children and grandchildren will look back on with wonder.
On our trips, my ultimate concierge is in charge of the finances. He checks us in and out of hotels, handles the payment of guides, mode of transportation, dining and events. I am in charge of choosing where we stay, how we travel, the tours and keeping everyone happy. How do I do this? Always relaxed, I am one of the gang (age difference to me is a plus) and I am very tuned in to my family members’ personalities and quirks.
I watch body movements; I listen to conversations; if someone gets out of line by being late or constantly on a cell phone, I see to a fast recovery. This is a team trip. I also keep on top of my ultimate concierge because he is not always as relaxed as I am. Kindness counts. Love counts. curiosity counts. A smile counts. I make certain to do my best to meld our family together, that’s what really counts.
The Delights of Travel
I adore everything about travel. Watching the delight in my grandchildren’s expressions and listening to their conversations bring me such joy! I love the unexpected. I love to learn. If you are at the stage of your life to start your travels, please do not sit around thinking about a trip; plunge in and make it happen. I know you will not be sorry.
What are your best tips when you travel with your multigenerational family? I’m interested in learning from your ideas, my darlings! Join the conversation below or reach out to me on Facebook and Instagram.