The extended family vacation

When you were a child, you went on holiday with your parents. Then you grew up and went away with friends or with your partner. Then you had kids and they came on holiday with you. Does that sound familiar? You may have been missing out. One in five families regularly has a holiday that involves three or more generations: grandparents, parents and children all going away together. Why? Because there are lots of advantages to taking an intergenerational break.

It’s a great way to spend time with extended family when you might not live close to each other. Not many families stay in one place these days. Grandparents often live in another city or another country and don’t always have the space to accommodate a growing family. Of course, they can Skype their grandkids, but that’s not the same as spending quality time together. Instead of taking a three-hour drive each way to go and see them, why not spend a week together?

It can save money. Pooling resources means you might be able to find a nicer place or to stay for longer. You might even come home with money left in the bank. Many people plan to have an active retirement, travelling and seeing places they didn’t get a chance to experience during their working lives. Why not ask if they’d like to come along with you?

Obviously, you would never invite your parents or in-laws as unpaid babysitters, this is a time for all your family to come together and share a wonderful vacation together, to reconnect, for your children to hear stories about you when you were growing up, for you to spend some quality time with your parents and for your own children to learn about their family history.

An extended family holiday is a great way to celebrate milestones. Important birthdays and anniversaries are times for the whole family to get together but that often means hours of travel to get to the venue, followed by an overnight stay in an unexciting hotel and a long journey back the very next day. Instead of a party, why not plan a short break together? There’s more time to spend celebrating, and you can choose a hotel or a self-catering venue that’s not just a bed for the night. Out of season breaks don’t have to cost the earth.

It’s also chance to get to know each other better. Lots of adults assume that their parents will always be the same and need reminding that everyone changes and develops throughout life. But if you only see them occasionally, and only ever in the same environment, it doesn’t give your relationship an opportunity to grow. Going somewhere different and trying something new together can kickstart a positive change. And grandparents get to see the world in a new light when they explore it with grandchildren and their adult children.

Intergenerational holidays are opportunities for families to bond through shared experiences, to spend time together that might otherwise never happen and to deepen relationships. They’re a great way to celebrate the good times and with planning, they can even be a cheaper way to take a break and solve childcare problems. So when you’re planning your next family holiday, think about all that a three-generation break can offer.