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How to plan the perfect family trip

Wednesday Oct 17th, 2018 Tripfocal

When I was in my late 20’s, even early 30’s, there was no way I was going on a multi-generational trip.  I love my parents and in-laws, but my wife and I are active travelers and, honestly, we have our own style of travel.

But children change all of that and suddenly the multi-generational trip is actually not a bad way to travel.  It’s pretty simple.  Grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren, especially if they don’t live in the same city, and they enjoy seeing their kids in a more relaxed setting.  And…. built in babysitters!  Need I say more…

I now have 3 wonderful children and we travel regularly with my parents, who are just into their 70s.  We enjoy time with them without worrying about everything that goes on at home and their time with our kids, we live in a different city, is priceless.  This is a small multi-generational trip, easy and fun.

Then there are the trips with my wife’s side, 19 in total.  Sounds daunting and possibly overwhelming, but they are actually a ton of fun.  We get great time together and watching all the cousins play together is amazing.

However, it takes a bit of work to make both types of trips fun, exciting and enjoyable for all.

Here are my best tips to consider, when developing your next itinerary, based on my experience over the last 13 years:

1.      Cost

- some parents pay the whole thing, others pay some and some don’t have the means.  Don’t let any of this get in the way of planning and enjoying your trip.  Make sure it is crystal clear before you go who is paying for what and what the costs are.  Here are some examples

-          Split the condo or hotel if the parents aren’t able to pay for most of the trip, most likely you still come out ahead.

-          One great example I heard: I family went on a multi-generational trip and didn’t stay at an all-inclusive, so the grandparents gave a check to each family to cover food and then proceeded to cover entrance fees to various activities. 

-          Just go to an all-inclusive.  It saves any worry about costs and who is paying for what.

2.        Kids and Grandparents first

- kids and grandparents each have their own limitations and so best to consider a spot where there is a lot to do, but also enough down time so you still feel you are on vacation, especially if naps are needed. 

3.       Attitude

- remember what this trip is about and why you are going.  In general, this is about family time and spending time with people you love and care about and don’t get to see too often.  This alone will ensure you have an amazing trip.

A few of our favorite spots for multi-generational trips:

Punta Mita, Mexico – North of Puerto Vallarta, tons of condo rentals and amazing amenities.  This is high end so be prepared to spend. 

Puerto Aventuaras, Mexico – east coast, about an hour south of Cancun.  Gated communities with a bunch of restaurants around a marina.  Rent at Villa Del Mar 1 (2 is less expensive) and the beach is awesome.  Lots of retirees and families and close to Tulum.

La Jolla – the La Jolla Beach and Tennis club is a great family hotel to stay and the setting is idyllic.

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