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.
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.