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The Whole Family is Invited: Tips for a Multigenerational Vacation

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Grandparents love to spend time with their grandchildren, but for the generation in the middle, it can just mean extra work and stress if they come to stay at busy times. Even if that is not an issue, there may not be enough room in the house, and quite possibly they do not have room for everyone to stay with them, either. A multigenerational vacation may be the answer.

Share Expectations

Planning vacations is always a tricky business—multigenerational ones even more so. The most important point has to be communication and planning. Keep everyone involved in the decisions. If one individual expects certain things from a vacation and they don’t happen, they can make life miserable for the others. Perfect the art of compromise.

It’s especially hard as children change so much from year to year. As parents, you may realize that last year’s model won’t work this year, but grandparents may be taken by surprise. Keep talking and planning together as much as you can, so no one can say they weren’t warned.

Budget carefully and ensure that all those who are footing the bill are happy that they can afford their share.

Select Your Destination

Some types of vacation work better than others for three generations.

City breaks tend to be exhausting for everyone but can be great for a short time, because there is no time to get bored. Consider a hotel that doesn’t involve too much road time, and is close to a good amusement park for the kids. If you fancy a trip to Montreal, the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites fits the bill.

Camping trips work well for more extended families. A lot cheaper than renting large premises, everyone can be close to each other and muck in to help. But comfort can be an issue for older grandparents.

Villas are the most popular option. Remember that you will be on top of each other quite a lot, so draw up the ground rules well. Get as much space as your budget allows.

Plan the Time

This returns to the matter of managing expectations. Grandparents are happy to spend extra time with the kids, but that doesn’t mean that they can be taken for granted. Neither they nor the children want to feel that they are part of an unlimited free babysitting arrangement.

Everybody must take their share of domestic tasks, and everybody needs time to themselves. Make sure that each adult couple has at least one evening to go out and treat themselves to whatever they fancy. Teenagers need to be trusted to go their own way sometimes.

That said, the heart of a multigenerational vacation is the activities that are enjoyed together. Plan some highlights, but leave room for the spontaneous adventures that will be remembered forever.

Growing Your Vacations

Multigenerational vacations take some getting used to. Start with shorter breaks—much better to have too short a time together than too long. As you get used to the format, you can plan longer and more imaginative vacations every year.

The Top Museums in Los Angeles

 

Are you looking for something educational to do in Los Angeles where you can walk away with a different point of view? Most people imagine theme parks and beaches when they think of this city, but it’s also home to a number of art galleries and museums. So, why not take a trip from whichever vacation homes in Los Angeles you’re staying at and check out one of the following museums.

The Natural History Museum:

This has a total of 12 galleries and five exhibition halls that display things from fossils to a giant 20-meter long whale skeleton. You can also learn about the history of the region under the Native Americans and get a perspective into their way of life. The displays take you on a journey as the city slowly changed and evolved into what it is today. Kids will love the giant dinosaur hall that has skeletons of a T-Rex, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops. Expect to spend at least a few hours inside the Natural History Museum and it makes a perfect place for adults and children.

LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art):

LACMA is a great museum for people who have a passion for art. This is one of the biggest galleries in the city and has a number of paintings, installations, and sculptures. Fans of contemporary art are treated to three floors of exhibitions from artists around the world. You can also enjoy international art from Japan. Visitors typically spend around two hours at LACMA.

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The California Science Center:

This science center promises to be a treat for the whole family. You can see exhibits on life sciences and a section on space including Endeavor, a ship from the NASA Space Shuttle Program. Displays on human innovation and the creative world we live in are also intriguing. Children and teens tend to love the Science Center.

The Getty Center:

The Getty Center is a large complex in the hills surrounding Los Angeles. You can find six pavilions with various permanent and temporary displays. Visitors can marvel at the architecture and enjoy the serenity of the two gardens. The Getty Villa is the original home of the museum and now has a few ancient relics from Greece and Rome. Admission is free, but expect to pay a hefty parking fee.

The Griffith Observatory:

The observatory is on the top of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. This is one of the top attractions in Los Angeles and has a large observatory and planetarium, which makes for a fun trip with the family. You can also see different shows inside the museum including a demonstration of the Tesla Coil. And after you’ve spent a few hours inside, you can then explore and enjoy the views from the park.

The Japanese American National Museum:

Japanese emigration to the United States isn’t as well documented as it should be. This museum has displays that describe the story of the early Japanese migrants along with their difficulties and sufferings. You can also learn about the internment of Japanese citizens during the hostilities of World War 2. This includes a display of art, artifacts, and images from the brutal way of life in the camps. Visitors tend to enjoy the Japanese American Museum and come away with a completely new perspective.

The Broad:

This is another must-visit place for fans of contemporary art in Los Angeles. More than 2000 pieces of art from a range of artists including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are on display. The three-floor gallery houses installations, paintings, and sculptures and is free to visit.

Peterson Automotive Museum:

If you’re a fan of cars and want to see some of the nicest vehicles in the world, check out the Peterson Automotive Museum. This is located in Miracle Mile and has no less than 25 galleries that describe the history and evolution of the automotive industry. The museum recently had a $90 million renovation, which makes it feel fresh and modern. Expect to spend at least an hour or two here.

The Hollywood Museum:

This is the biggest and probably the best Hollywood Museum in the world. Inside, there are exhibits that describe the Hollywood story from its birth to the present day. You can see a range of movie memorabilia and collections from famous movie sets. One of the highlights is an exhibition that’s dedicated entirely to Marilyn Monroe. Anyone who has a love for movies will enjoy a trip to the Hollywood Museum.

The Autry Museum of the American West:

The Autry Museum is all about the heritage of the American Wild West. Various memorabilia related to cowboys and the Native Americans including art, sculptures, and beadwork are part of the exhibits. This is the perfect place to come and learn a little about the Wild West and is a great place for anyone with an interest in cowboys. Exhibits are regularly rotated and you should expect to spend around two hours inside.

The Wende Museum of the Cold War

This is a great museum for history buffs who have an interest in the Cold War. Learn about the various parts of socialism in Europe including the reunification of West and East Germany. Lots of artifacts educate visitors on the story including art and books.

The Takeaway Message:

If you’re looking for a cultural experience in Los Angeles and want something different to do and see, check out one of the top museums. There are museums dedicated to art, history, and even cars that are certain to satisfy anyone’s interests.

Top 5 Family Friendly Activities in Las Vegas

Tournament of Kings Excalibur

This family experience takes you back to medieval times with exhibitions of period dancing and songs as well as jousting matches all while you enjoy a delicious feast. The kids will enjoy the feel of the arena-designed theater and be able to choose a country to “sit in” as each section is identified by a different European country. There is even a section for the “dark knight” who does the bidding of the evil Mordred of King Arthur fame. The initial characters of Merlin and his sidekick, the court jester, get the audience ready to participate with their introduction of medieval jeers so everyone in the audience knows they are welcome to participate in the festivities. This is followed by a line-up of drummers that introduce King Arthur as the reigning monarch of the time with all the others kings from each country following on horseback behind him.

The components of the dinner are called by medieval names, but they are modern favorites. For example, the course of “dragon’s blood” is actually tomato soup. The only authentic part of the meal has to eat it with your hands as forks, knives, and spoons were not used yet in the Middle Ages, so kids will enjoy having to eat with their hands without getting in trouble for doing it. There is sodas and juice for refreshments and alcohol for the adults.

Westgate Las Vegas Hotel & Casino 

You can have the best of both worlds at this resort with adult and kid-friendly activities. The accommodations offer one as well as two-bedroom villas that fit a family of four comfortably, and it is minutes from the famous Las Vegas Strip or stay right at the resort casino and play.

There is also an on-site spa that the adults can enjoy while the kids occupy themselves on the 10-acre property and swim in the tropical-themed pool, watch the water display, use the playground, exercise at the fitness center, or practice on the putting green. It is also minutes away from Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the famous Bellagio Fountains Light show. If the kids need more activities, they can sign up for some of the kid-oriented scheduled daily events.

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage

This habitat is about as close to an interactive animal experience as you can get for your family. There are three separate habitat activities to explore.

Trainer for a Day: Enter the water with an aquatic animal specialist who will guide you in actively participating in training the dolphins. They will first show you how to get in the water properly, then you can play with the dolphin as it gets to know you. You can then learn how they train the dolphins and even practice the techniques with your dolphin on your own. You will complete the experience with a photo of you with your dolphin friend.

Dolphin Painting: Float on a raft in the water and observe up close how the dolphins paint their own artistic interpretations while you paint on our own canvas along with them. You will be guided by a dolphin specialist and receive a copy of your art with a certificate and a photo of you with your dolphin artist.

Dolphin Yoga Class: While the kids enjoy swimming with the dolphins, you can relax in the viewing area and participate in a one-hour yoga session in front of a vast see-through aquatic paradise filled with dolphins. You can view the graceful swimming aquatic creatures as you practice your yoga poses, and then you will receive a smoothie when it’s all done.

Adventuredome at Circus Circus

This is truly an adventure park in the heart of Las Vegas. There is something for every kid to enjoy from 5 to 55. There are interactive games like Batman Laser Challenger where actual lasers are used with the objective of catching the Joker and saving Gotham city, and the Xtreme Zone where you can experience rock climbing as well as indoor bungee jumping. There is also an array of video games in a gigantic arcade area and a vintage midway for an experience with an old fashioned game of chance.

Pirates Bounty is 18 holes of miniature golf, and you can take a break and watch the free clown shows that take place every hour on the hour. There is also Highway 66 which is a competitive mini-bowling game that the whole family can play together

The Children’s Park at the Las Vegas Town Square

This kid’s adventure is set up like a mini-village where kids can roam around through their own version of a town with a surrounding park and a variety of playhouses with different themes. There is also a hedge maze to run through. An oak tree house is featured with a rock wall, fort and slides to make their way down safely, and a Pop-Jet Fountain for running in on very hot days. For smaller children, there is a bakery café playhouse that has all kinds of bakery cake toys to play with and bear and giraffe rotary toys just outside. When it’s time to take a break from playing, you can take them over to the children’s stage and watch a performance or listen to a storyteller. For a picnic, there are sails for shading.

If you plan on taking a lot of indoor video at many of these venues to commemorate your family trip, consider bringing along the ring of light for better video performance and higher quality output.

Emily Kil is a professional blogger that writes about travel, family, and digital marketing.  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and two dogs.  When she’s not helping her husband with his bio hazard cleaning business, she’s RVing with her family around the USA.  She’s driven across the country five times, including an epic trip to Alaska.

Top 4 European Locations for Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels are some of the coolest places to stay when you go away, these niche hotels are designed with style in mind and often have themes to suit the discerning traveler. Some of the best boutique hotels in the World exist in Europe and each time I go away the only place I want to stay is in these fabulous hotels.

During my trips around Europe I have looked for stylish hotels like these and I want to share with you my favorite cities with the best boutique hotels.

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Paris

I love Paris, it oozes with class and style and I try to visit as much as I can, the last time I went, I stayed in a beautiful place called the Coq hotel. The hotel was one of the most affordable that I have found in Paris and the standard was brilliant. Whilst it is a hotel, it is also a members club that holds regular arty gatherings with craftspeople and also lots of wine tasting evenings, right up my street. The rooms are beautiful, mixtures of wood and brass, classic art and natural colors, a great boutique hotel.

Berlin

Boutique hotels really suit Berlin, a city with one of the coolest art scenes around and a city that should be on everyone’s list to visit. I stayed in a super cool hotel called the Oderberger, the location used to be public baths and the building is still the same, albeit with a far smarter interior. The hotel utilizes small features from its past life for things like coat hooks, stair rails and tiled walls. The rooms are full of Earth colors, wooden features and still has those beautiful wooden beams, a beautiful hotel in a brilliant city.

Zurich

I absolutely love Zurich, I’d like to get back there more often and I plan to this year, the city is beautiful and if you use a car rental service like I did then getting around is an absolute synch. I stayed in the Hotel Helmaus, a hotel that is very central with amazing service and incredibly cozy. The food here was delicious, and the rooms were small but super comfortable and beautifully designed, if you are heading to Zurich then I absolutely recommend this delightful hotel.

London

London is absolutely packed with boutique hotels, they range from classic beauty to underground, grungy style and everything in between, you can find all sorts of cool hotels here and I love to sample them. Most recently I stayed in the Haymarket Hotel, a hotel that is very close to the theatre scene in London so if you’re heading to a show then definitely check this place out. The hotel itself has a spa that offers all treatments, perfect when you want a break from the busy city. All of the rooms have flat screen TVs, i-Pod docks and are beautifully designed with floral furnishings and modern lay out, I really loved this hotel and the afternoon tea here was very British and very tasty!

How To Build Your Own Motorhome

If you are looking to combine your love of DIY and travel then what better way to do it than by building your very own motorhome. This may sound like a daunting task at first but once you start the planning process you’ll see that if you keep things simple then you could be heading off on the open road in no time at all. This project is by no means simple and you will have to spend a lot of time both during the planning and the construction stages. Without further ado here is how you need to go about building your very own motorhome.

The Motor

First and foremost, you will need to buy the vehicle, the best thing to look out for here is a van with a good wheel base, similar to the ones that plumbers, construction workers and electricians use, these have plenty of space for you to play with, excellent stability and sufficient horsepower for carrying your home. Keep your eyes peeled at auctions and second hand traders for the best bargain and you should try to buy one that is no more than 6 years old.

Simplicity

When it comes to designing your home, simplicity is key, if you overcomplicate the build then it could leave you frustrated at not being able to get it finished, it could end up costing far more than you bargained for and it also allows more things to possibly go wrong. Measure your space in the back of the van and draw out a plan for the bed, the sink/kitchen area and any seating or cupboards that you wish to install.

Warmth

The first key to turning your van into a motorhome is insulating it and protecting it from the weather, to do this you need to do exactly the same as you would do in a house, prepare your frame for your false walls to sit in and use insulation behind each wall board. Once this is complete then you should look to seal any holes or crevices from the outside. Now that you have your walls in and your insulation sorted, you can begin to plan out the rest of your home.

Stability

It is important that whatever cabinets, attachments, beds or seats that you place in the rear of your motorhome are full stable, remember that you will be driving your motorhome on bumpy roads and round bends, the last thing you need is unstable furniture bouncing around. Fold away items are perfect to use in the back of the motorhome such as beds and seats, these can provide space when you need it and can pull out when it is time to sleep, if using these then ensure that they have excellent fixings that will keep them from opening out during your travels.

Water and Electric

If you are building your own motorhome then the best thing you can do is to buy an electric generator to power the sockets in the van, an electrician will be able to install wiring in your dry walls before you commence the rest of the build. For water and bathroom facilities, the sensible option is to forego these and stick to using campsites, you can make your own motorhome fully plumbed but the cost and the effort of doing so doesn’t prove worthwhile.