6 Tips for Fued-Free Family Vacation - Fued for Thought
Without proper planning, big family trips that include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a few toddlers thrown in for good measure, can turn on a dime from fun to fearsome.
Multigenerational travel has seen tremendous growth recently. According to the Travel Industry Association, more than five million family vacations each year include three generations.
"Some of the best memories and experiences can occur when extended family members vacation together," says Rick Fisher, vice president of Specialty Lodging for Hotels.com. "However there is always potential for friction when different personalities get together for an extended period of time. Finding vacation accommodations and creating a game plan that is suitable for every age group is fraught with challenges and obstacles. However, with proper planning, big family trips can truly be a wonderful experience for all involved."
Hotels.com, which is the most comprehensive resource for booking vacation rentals and bed & breakfasts worldwide on the Internet, has compiled the following list of tips and hints to help families planning their next trip that includes a variety of age groups.
1. Plan ahead. Let the whole gang have a voice in preparing for the trip. Let the kids get on the Internet and do some research. On the hotels.com site there's even a tab called Suites, Condos and B&B's to make shopping for lodging even easier. Ask grandparents to do some research too. Sketch out a plan so everyone knows up front what is on the agenda. That way, there is little room for argument. However, don't forget that every vacation needs some flexibility and spontaneity, so plan for last minute changes.
2. Plan activities that suit each age group. Just because it's a family vacation, don't feel that every member has to spend each waking moment together. Plan activities that appeal to everyone and then divide and conquer. Big kids might want to go to an area amusement park, grandparents might want to check out the local art gallery, and toddlers might want to build sand castles on the beach. Remember, it's everyone's vacation, so allot special time for each age group to do their own thing.
3. Everyone needs their space. When booking accommodations, consider vacation rentals, which come in the form of condo-miniums, townhomes, villas, suites and private homes. One of the advantages of vacation rentals is that family members can each have their own room and much- needed privacy. In addition, everyone can easily gather together for meals and family time in the common living room/kitchen areas.
4. Avoid restaurants, slow service and costly meals by taking advantage of your vacation rental's kitchen. Since many age groups follow different eating schedules, use the kitchen for breakfast, lunch and snacks. That way, restaurants are a treat and not torture for all involved. And of course, many vacation rentals come with outdoor grills, so stay in and relax with a home cooked meal at the end of your busy day.
5. Do Unto Others. Even though it's time to let loose and relax, remember to mind your manners. Any group experience comes with a degree, or two, or three, of stress and inconvenience. Go with the flow, stay cheerful and remember that you are traveling in a group, even if it's a group you grew up with.
6. Book early. According to Fisher, top summer family destinations for condos and homes shown on the hotels.com travel site are booking up fast even though the site offers the best selection of online bookable inventory available on the Internet. Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Panama City, Miami, Destin, FL, the Hawaiian Islands, Virginia Beach and Gatlinburg, TN offer great family vacation rental choices, and there are many vacation rental opportunities in city destinations like New York and Washington DC.