I grew up in a small town in Iowa, where spending time with my grandparents simply required crossing the street. In fact, we seldom went more than a few days without seeing one another. But for families sprawled across the country, or farther, time together can be a precious commodity.
That’s why so many are using our vacations as an opportunity for bonding. Bringing everyone together for a shared holiday creates not only a fun experience in the present but family stories to be recounted for years to come.
Over the past decade, multigenerational travel has become increasingly popular. In 2011, a Preferred Hotel Group study reported that 40 percent of leisure travelers, or 20.8 million Americans, had taken such a trip in the previous 12 months.
Two-and-a-half years ago, I jumped on that bandwagon myself and traveled with 25 members of my own brood and close friends to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Our grandchildren were just two and four, but we were thrilled to have quality time together beyond our infrequent sleepovers and day trips to local attractions.
The joy of waking up to breakfast with my grandkids seven consecutive mornings, followed by playtime at the pool, was, as the ad says, priceless. As young as they were then, they still remember — and talk about — their Mexican beach adventure. The surprising bonus was the bonding time I enjoyed with my grown daughter and son-in-law. It was such an all-around success that we’ve made three-generation trips a new family tradition.
“Taking a vacation with our extended family not only gifts us with precious time to strengthen our connections, but it also allows us to share our love of travel,” says Nancy Schretter, managing editor of the Family Travel Network. Beyond that, it lets us enjoy activities of our youth, like building sand castles, and challenges us with new adventures, such as zip-lining through the rainforest.
To help you get psyched to take a trip of your own, consider the top multigenerational destinations in this slideshow for your next trip or family reunion.