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6 Multigenerational Travel Tips

With long-awaited warm weather right around the corner, thousands of families will soon begin planning their family vacation, but this year they may well be planning a new kind of vacation. Multigenerational travel has recently become one of the fastest growing areas of the travel industry, as many families are now including grandparents, aunts and uncles in the family getaway.

According to the Travel Industry Association, each year more than 5 million family vacations each year include three generations, as a result, many families now face the challenge of finding a vacation that is suitable for everyone from toddlers to grandparents.

"The most important part of orchestrating a three-generation vacation is being able to accommodate everyone's needs and realizing that our differences are what makes traveling together such a unique experience," said travel expert Christine Loomis, noted family travel author. "The trick to this type of travel is simple: planning, preparation and flexibility."

TIP #1: Let everyone in the family help chose vacation activities. When kids - or adults - have a voice and a choice, they feel more invested in the trip and stay more positive even when involved in an activity they did not choose. When preparing a list of options, don't forget free and low-cost activities like swimming, sunbathing at the beach, hiking, exploring state and national parks, biking and renting boats.

TIP #2: Choose the right accommodations. For much less than the cost of multiple hotel rooms needed for a group traveling together, vacation rentals provide exactly what multigenerational families need - a sense of togetherness and privacy. An ideal alternative when one room/one bath accommodations are not enough, vacation rentals include two, three and four-bedroom single-family homes, condominiums and town homes with full kitchens, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, private pools, Jacuzzi tubs, washers and dryers. The RCI Holiday Network offers the world's most diverse selection of vacation rentals available online at www.RCIHN.com or via telephone, toll-free: 1-866-844-2018.

TIP #3: Schedule activities with your family's normal routine in mind. Toddlers are generally most active in the morning, a time when grandparents are often early to rise. Teens typically sleep late, so it's best to schedule the thing they most want to see or do in the afternoons or evening. If grandparents normally rest or take a reading break in the early afternoon, keep in mind that they may need that time to rebuild stamina for later activities.

TIP #4: Don't sell grandparents short.Today's grandparents are often energetic and adventurous, so consider active multigenerational vacations. Possibilities include bike tours, rafting trips, theme parks, hiking, whale watching, foreign destinations and covered wagon adventures.

TIP #5: Take advantage of kitchens. It's all about flexibility. Grandparents and grandchildren often have different meal schedules, and young children may find it difficult to sit through three meals a day in restaurants. Stay in and save money for the easy meals - breakfasts of cereal and yogurt, and quick sandwiches and snacks for lunch. Then give the whole family a treat by going out for dinner.

TIP #6: Just because it's the family vacation, don't feel the whole group has to spend every minute together. It can be good to take a break from one another. Parents can be with young kids while grandparents visit an art gallery or historical monument. Grandparents can also have a special evening with the grandchildren while parents go out for a romantic dinner.

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