One of the most meaningful memories I have this year is celebrating our 5 year anniversary by taking our parents on their first vacation. Many first generation Americans share similar stories to us; growing up with parents that came to the US in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Their primary focus was to work hard, succeed in school and provide a better life for their children. Rarely was there a moment leftover to enjoy because the pressures of adulthood in a foreign country with few friends and no family is exhausting. They taught us how to hustle, and now we’re teaching them to relax. It’s been important for us to plan and execute this multigenerational family trip because our parents have worked so hard to give us the opportunity in a country foreign to them. They’ve dedicated blood, sweat, and tears into our well being and have been blessed to gain citizenship here. Now its time for them to take it easy.
10 Tips for planning a multi-generational family trip
Aim for a destination that is new for the older generation
Most of our parents had never experienced a beach outside of going to Galveston Island. It was such a treat to be able to see our parents touch the ocean (with a little bit of fear in their eyes).
They held onto each other for dear life but they are more than happy that they have the chance to experience it in their lifetime.
2. Designate one trip planner
While everyone should get to put in their input about the trip, it works best when there is one person doing the main planning. This will help you to feel organized and not overlook anything. The saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” is around for a reason!
3. Schedule time to relax
For most of us, when visiting a new place, it’s easy to plan events back to back and end up getting exhausted rather than relaxed from vacation. It is also easy to get at each other’s throats while spending almost every waking moment together, even the closest families. Take time to relax separately; for example, the grandparents can take the grandchildren to the beach, while the others have a nice dinner.
4. Consider everyone’s interests and capabilities
When planning a family vacation, make sure you go in with blinders on. It’s easy to plan what you think would be fun or what you want your children to do. However, if you’re running around doing children’s events all day, the grandparents are going to feel left out. It is easy to make a good balance between activities for every generation, with a little research when planning! Be sure you take into account what each person is capable of, as well, especially if you have grandparents along.
5. Check your packing lists
While going on a trip, especially when there are multiple women and men, make sure you’re sharing your packing lists with each other. My biggest anxiety was having my parents forget something like medicine that they needed every day.
6. Schedule events with your family’s sleep routine
If you have a bigger family, with infants, toddlers, and grandparents, make sure you take into account their schedules. For example, toddlers don’t sleep in very late, and typically, grandparents don’t either, so it is best to schedule events for toddlers in the morning, and teenagers in the afternoon, since most teenagers like to sleep in. Accommodating for normal sleep schedules can help everyone stay happy and add a variety of events to each day.
7. Discuss finances with adults while planning
Even though it’s okay to splurge for a good vacation now and then, don’t put yourself in debt for an elaborate trip. We decided on Cancun since it was one of the most affordable locations out of the country for us to buy flights from Texas. Make plans for free activities that can be done at your trip’s location, as well! Thank goodness for all inclusive!
8. Consider renting a house
Booking several rooms in a hotel or resort can cost an arm and a leg if you don’t go the all-inclusive route. I would have considered renting out an entire house, whether that’s in a city or at the beach. That way, you can save money both on housing and on food, by utilizing the kitchen and grabbing some groceries! We caught a great sale on the trip and didn’t have to worry about anything when we got there.
9. Expect the unexpected
While we’d like to think nothing will go wrong on our vacations, but as I’m sure each of us has experienced, that doesn’t always happen. Making sure you have an extra set of clothes in your carry on, some medicine in case someone gets sick, and backups to important travel documents are always a good idea.
10. Make sure to document your time together
While I am a firm believer in being in the moment and not attached to electronics, make sure you’re taking pictures and videos of your time together as a family. It doesn’t need to be over the top, but you’ll want to have these memories down the road. This was my first time hiring a photographer at the local hotel and I will continue to hire someone to shoot us as a family moving forward.
All of this to say, having a multigenerational family vacation is a great idea. They are always so fun and, oftentimes, your family will come back from the trip closer and with new memories to hold on to for the years to come!