The Who, What, Why and Where of Multigenerational Travel

multigenerational travel

Multigenerational travel is growing – as quickly as a toddler can make a mess, as fast as a supermom can organize a carpool, as rapidly as a grandpa can impart his quiet wisdom. Traveling with family is a rich and rewarding experience, so naturally more “multi-gen” families are taking vacations together.

Multigenerational travel is typically defined as taking a trip with three or more generations, but grandparents traveling with grandkids count as well. Covington Travel has seen an increase in extended families traveling together over the last couple years and the trend is supported by industry-wide statistics: 40% of travelers went on a multi-gen trip in the last 12 months. Are you one of them?

What’s Driving Multigenerational Travel?

multigenerational travel

So why are more families traveling together these days? Today’s world demands a fast pace of life to squeeze it all in. Often both parents are in the work force. Kids are active in sports, clubs and extra-curriculars, and teens have after-school jobs and busy social calendars. Family time is at a premium. At the same time, baby boomers are healthier and wealthier than previous generations and they value travel and family.

Multigenerational travel is largely driven by grandparents who enjoy an active lifestyle, have some disposable income, and want to share experiences – not material goods – with their kids and grandkids. They want to build memories and introduce their grandchildren to the world on a global scale. They also want to provide their grown children (parents of the grandchildren) with a break from the hectic pace of their daily routines.

While grandparents often pay for multi-gen trips, the reverse is true, too. There are many prosperous boomers who invite their parents to travel with them on family trips. A heavy majority (77%) of multigenerational trips are planned around a milestone event – celebrating significant birthdays or anniversaries, retirements and destination weddings.

What Do Multi-gen Travelers Want From the Experience?

multigenerational travel

As mentioned, today’s family group wants to spend time together, so they are less interested in checking kids into a kids club to keep them occupied while the adults go about their vacation. Instead, they are looking for experiential activities that integrate all members of the family. Adventures by Disney includes activities that engage all ages by learning about local history, seeing native performance art, or tasting regional specialty foods.

Multigenerational travel can be complex, so families are often looking for turnkey services that are easy, yet have something for everyone. Pre-packaged tours that specialize in family travel, such as Tauck Bridges and Globus Monograms take the burden of managing transportation, accommodations and itinerary planning off of the head of the family.

Value is important as well, particularly for the family member that is footing the bill. Meals and excursions can add up quickly for a large group – or even a couple hungry teenagers – so having a defined meal plan, or certain tours and activities included helps keep the budget under control. Cruises and all-inclusive resorts offer high value for multigenerational groups.

Many families like to include an element of social responsibility to their vacations. They may arrange to volunteer in an orphanage or school for several days and then spend the balance of their trip at their leisure.

Where Are Multigenerational Travelers Going?

Family Celebrations

In the U.S., Orlando, with its Disney and Universal parks, is the “granddaddy” of family-friendly travel destinations, but other cities like San Diego and Chicago rank high with multi-gens as well. Beach vacations to North Carolina’s Outer Banks or Florida’s Gulf Coast are always popular choices, and national parks like Glacier National Park and Yellowstone offer activities for many interest.

With multigenerational travel increasing, the Caribbean and Mexico are paying attention and specifically designing family-friendly resorts and packages. There are many outstanding all-inclusives to choose from. Cruise lovers know that cruising is a high-value vacation, so that’s naturally become a favorite for multigenerational travel, too.

Europe also draws many families to its history, art and culture. Villa rental in Italy is a favorite, as is river cruising in France.

When a larger budget is available, Africa, Galapagos and Antarctica are top choices for a nature and wildlife focus. For active adventures, Australia and New Zealand are multi-gen favorites.

There are so many great destinations for multigenerational travel, whatever your price point. Orchestrating a trip for multiple ages and interests requires good research and planning to make sure everyone is comfortable and has fun. Covington Travel has advisors who specialize in group travel and particular destinations, so when you are ready to plan multigenerational travel for your family, contact our experts for help arranging a trip they’ll never forget!


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