What’s the big plus of multi-generational travel? Free child care!!
Of course, I also mean quality bonding time for grandchildren and grandparents, as well as for you and your parents.
But really, what I mostly mean is free child care, lol. Who can look past the potential benefits of free child care while traveling, meaning that you actually get some relaxation while on your vacation.
Bringing grandparents on your travels means you have the option of going out in the evenings as a couple since your kids can stay safe “at home” in your hotel or Airbnb apartment with Grandma.
If you’re going to go this route then there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.
– Who’s paying? Families vary a lot in terms of financial resources. In some case you should accept that you’ll need to pay for the expenses of your accompanying grandparents. Hey, they changed your nappies and put up with your teenage goth phase, you owe them! At the other end of the spectrum, you may have parents who are financially comfortable and who want to pay for more than their share of the expenses. We know families where the grandparents come on the trip and insist on paying for virtually everything except flights. When they have more money than they can ever spend themselves, they seem to like to do this and it’s not particularly awkward. You just need to make sure you can comfortably pay your share if for some reason they deviate from their usual pattern.
– Grandparents may have some special needs. For example, consider their ability to walk up stairs. Some places in Europe don’t have elevators so think about that before you book a 3rd floor apartment or budget hotel. Since you’ll be doing more walking than usual, everyone will probably be tired and not have much energy by the end of the day. The types of trips that allow for more relaxation and less walking, are things like European river cruises.
– If you’re travelling somewhere with a hot and/or muggy climate make sure the apartment or a budget hotel you book has good air-conditioning.
– You will need to pace your days slower when traveling with young children and older adults. If your kids are still taking naps then this can be a good reason for everyone to have a siesta in the mid afternoon or for just a long leisurely picnic lunch back in your apartment.
– If you’re hiring a car, keep in mind that it might not be as easy for older people to squeeze in the back. It’ll probably be cheaper to book a large size car at the outset rather than upgrade at the rental car counter. Rental agencies will likely have much more inventory of very small cars in Europe since small cars are more common there than in the US. You’re therefore probably less likely to end up with a free upgrade to a large car based on them running out of small cars, as often happens in the US.