Plan a Multi Generational Vacation with Grandparents

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Planning a multi-generational vacation with grandparents and extended family is the perfect way to spend time together. Everyone loves a great vacation. It provides the opportunity to get away, relax, have some fun, and share experiences together. Many families live far away from extended family, either in a different city, state, or even another country. Taking a multi-generational vacation is a great way to spend time with those loved ones who you may not otherwise see so often.

Family life is busy with work, school, kids activities, meal prepping, taking care of the house, yard work, pets, and don’t forget to squeeze in exercise or time for self-care. But life isn’t about the non-stop rat race and busyness isn’t a goal to aspire towards. We should work to live, not live to work. You only have eighteen summers with your children before they will be grown and out of the house. It is important to make time to connect and enjoy time together as a family. Especially while the kids still want to spend time with you! Taking a multi-generational vacation is the ideal way to provide this opportunity of connection with grandparents and extended family as well.

In this post, we discuss what is multi-generational travel and why you should plan a multi-generational trip. As well as tips for planning a multi-generational vacation and the best vacation with grandparents. Plus the 7 key things to plan a multi-generational family vacation and make the process run smoothly.

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why should i plan a multi gen vacation with grandparents

What is Multi-Generational Travel?

Multi-generational travel is defined as three or more generations from one family traveling and taking a vacation together. It also refers to grandparents traveling with their grandchildren. Traveling with extended family is common among Europeans, but the rise of multi-generational travel is also becoming more popular in the United States.

Why Should I Plan a Multi-Generational Vacation?

Most grandparents will jump at the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren (and you – their child) by taking an extended family vacation. Planning a family vacation is a great way to get away from your usual routine, become happier and more relaxed, and create special memories with your children. What better way to extend that opportunity to your parents than to plan a multi-generational vacation?

Traveling with children is a way to encourage learning and exploration. While making special memories with the people you love most will help strengthen your family bond. Read these family travel quotes to inspire your family adventures.

During the pandemic, many families have been physically separated from each other. Many grandparents are older and have experienced isolation and missed out on precious time with their adult children and grandchildren. After more than a year of living with the Covid restrictions, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. As the vaccines are becoming more available many older people are starting to feel safer to leave home again. And many families are starting to look at making travel plans for the future.

Now, more than ever is the perfect time to plan a multi-generational vacation for the future to provide your extended family the opportunity to spend time together and reconnect.

tips for planning a multi generational family trip

Tips for Planning a Multi-Generational Family Trip

When planning multi-generational family travel it is essential to find out what is important to everyone in the group. Therefore, picking activities that are suitable for kids and adults, and choosing a destination that appeals to everyone – young and old.

The most popular multi-generational travel ideas for families include vacations at the beach, a cruise, all-inclusive resort, amusement park, city break, historical site, lake house, national park, camping, or an RV trip. Click here to learn more about the best multi-generational vacation destinations.

Every family is different, with its own preferences and family dynamic. What appeals to one family may not be fun for another family. For example, some families love relaxing on the beach and would spend every day with their feet in the sand and splashing in the ocean. However, other families may not enjoy the beach but still want to be outdoors hiking, camping, or doing adventurous activities. While another family would prefer a city break with lots of sightseeing or visiting historical sites to learn about history, heritage and culture.

You have to pick the type of multi-generational family vacation that best suits your family. Some large families love the idea of all the individual families staying together in one big vacation rental house, and being together 24/7. While other extended families do better if each individual family has their own space or accommodation and they can get together for meals and activities during the trip. It’s completely up to you to plan the type of family vacation (see also, ‘How to Plan a Family Reunion‘) that sounds fun and enjoyable for your family.

What is the Best Family Vacation with Grandparents?

When planning a family vacation with grandparents it is important to take into account their health, mobility, and fitness levels. Can they manage an active vacation with lots of walking or physical activity? Are they able to climb lots of steps in a rental house? Or do they need a bedroom on the main level, or an en-suite bathroom because they are up a lot at night? How do they feel about camping, or would they prefer to stay in an RV or cabin? Are they able to drive or fly long distances, or would it be best to break up the journey with an overnight stay somewhere?

Also, the destination and type of family vacation you choose will depend on the age of the children. If you have little kids who go to bed early you want to pick accommodation with separate bedrooms. Then the kids can go down to bed at night while the adults can hang out in the living room, or a connecting room or balcony area.

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easy planning for a multi gen vacation

How Do You Plan a Multi-Generational Vacation?

Now that you’ve decided to take a multi-family vacation, where do you start with planning? Here are 7 key things to plan a multi-generational family vacation and make the process easy and smooth.

1. Be Flexible

Find out what is important to each family member before choosing a destination. Keep in mind what is most appropriate, especially if you are taking little kids. Try to accommodate everyone’s preferences. Maybe it’s necessary to have a swimming pool, or a kitchen, or go to a specific geographical location. But at the end of the day, when you’re taking a vacation with other adults and multiple children it’s essential to be flexible.

2. Talk About Finances

Decide who will be paying for this vacation, and how you will share the expenses. Make sure everyone is comfortable with the price point for covering the cost of travel, accommodation, meals, and activities. Talk about finances upfront before planning your trip so there’s no tension later on.

3. Designate a Point Person

It is helpful to have one main organizer who coordinates the important details and reservations for the trip. Once the family has decided where to travel for your multi-generational family vacation, and what activities you want to do, someone needs to take charge of making it happen.

This point person would make the reservations for accommodation and any flights and then share itineraries and confirmation details with other family members. They would be the point person to communicate questions between your extended family and the property/rental accommodation. It makes sense for one person in the family to communicate with the owner so they don’t have to field questions from everyone.

If this role feels overwhelming for one person it is definitely okay to delegate research tasks to other family members. Have other people in the family research fun activities, or rental items like bikes, or restaurants at your destination, and then provide feedback to everyone else. Ask for help to coordinate meal planning so it doesn’t land on one person to do everything.

4. Share a Planning Document

A live sharable Google doc is a great way to share up-to-date vacation details with all family members. Everyone can access and update necessary details. Here you can store information about flights, accommodation reservations, activities, meal planning, and packing lists for shared items.

There’s no reason for every individual family to bring dish soap or aluminum foil when such items can be shared. Create a master list of shareable household items and have individual families sign up to bring certain things. Here is our Ultimate Packing List for a Family Beach Vacation. Share this with your family members and use the list of everything you need for a vacation rental house.

5. Share the Meal Prep

No one wants to spend the entire vacation working to take care of everyone else without a break. Don’t expect that Mom or Grandma is going to do all the cooking, cleaning, and look after the grandkids while everyone else relaxes.

If you’re staying in a place with a kitchen then take turns preparing meals. It’s ideal to delegate each individual family a night or two to prepare dinner, while others help with the clean-up after dinner. If your kids are older it’s important to involve them in helping too.

6. Discuss Child Care

Talk about child care ahead of time. If you are headed to the beach or the pool then make sure you know who is watching your child. Don’t assume that someone else is watching your child, especially around water. Be aware of how to keep your children safe while traveling.

Are the grandparents willing to watch the kids sometime so that the parents can have a date night? This is one of my FAVORITE things about taking a multi-generational vacation. My kids get to enjoy special time with their grandparents during our trip, while my husband and I have the opportunity for a kid-free date and uninterrupted time together. WIN-WIN!

If you travel with extended family and your kids have cousins, then once they are older all the cousins will have a blast hanging out together. This relieves some of the burdens from mom and dad because the kids will play together and entertain themselves. Cousin time is the best time!

7. Plan Activities Ahead

Talk about what everyone wants to do during the vacation. Schedule your activities and excursions as early as possible. Especially if you have a large family with everyone wanting to participate in certain activities. Booking early will ensure there’s space for a large group. This will ensure things flow smoothly once you get to your destination. Recognize that not everyone may want to be together all of the time. It’s okay if individual families want to go off and do something they would enjoy be themselves.

planning a family vacation with grandparents

Best Multi-Generational Vacation Ideas for Families

Once you’ve decided to embark on multi-generational travel there are endless possibilities about where to go. How do you decide where to travel with kids and grandparents, and your extended family? Check out our list of the Best Family Vacation Destinations in the US for 2021. Plus our post about the Top 10 Multi-Generational Travel Ideas for Families.

Printable Family Travel Planner

We created a Printable Family Travel Planner, a Vacation Planning Guide, to help your family plan a fun, easy, and memorable vacation with children.

The 65 printable pages include various family vacation planning information, printable worksheets, and vacation planner templates. This travel planner for families will help Simplify Your Family Adventures! 

vacation planning guide for families


Many of our favorite family trips have been multi-generational vacations with grandparents. It is such a special time of being together, sharing experiences and creating precious memories. These are days that our kids will remember for a lifetime and there is nothing sweeter than watching our children enjoy time with their grandparents and extended family. I hope you will have the opportunity to do the same with your family.

And remember, let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.

Until next time,
💕 Ruth

For more about family travel check out these posts:
How To Start Saving For A Vacation With Kids
Family Beach Vacation – Ultimate Guide & Packing Lists
Best Family Vacation Destinations in the US for 2021
Top 10 Multi-Generational Travel Ideas for Families

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plan a multi generational vacation
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Ruth Hutchins grew up in England and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, Doug, and their two young daughters. They always loved to travel, but once having children everything changed because family travel is more complicated. Traveling with a baby may feel overwhelming to new parents. Travel with a toddler can really test your patience, and traveling with kids can lead to utter chaos. However, travel with your little ones doesn’t have to be that stressful or exhausting. On the BE Family Travel blog Ruth shares her parenting wins, and even epic failures about traveling with kids. She provides resources to help you feel empowered to plan a family vacation and travel with your children.