Family Trips: Traveling Hacks from Infant to Octogenarian

By Brenna Kehew Sculley

by ELYSIAN Magazine

According to Frommer’s, intergenerational travel is now one of the fastest-growing segments in the travel industry, with a number of companies offering packages specifically designed for this niche market. There are safaris, cruises, and house rentals that can feel a world away. From Alaskan adventures to Caribbean relaxation, there is a trip for everyone just waiting to be experienced. 

Choosing the location can be half the fun. A popular TikTok trend showcases families having each member submit a PowerPoint presentation of their desired locale with the group voting for their favorite. Another popular game involves everyone putting a location of choice into a hat, which is then passed around. One by one, destinations are pulled out, the last location remaining becomes the vacation spot. 

Coordinating schedules and budgets is a process, and as recommended by the New York Times, it is best to start planning these endeavors at least six months in advance. Make budgetary expectations clear – who is covering what – and allow family members to book and participate in what parts work best for them. Flexibility is the key to happiness in group travel. 

With so many families scattered across the country and world, with only the internet keeping us together, these big family trips are only growing in popularity. The whole family doesn’t have to go; even small subsets of families traveling together is gaining traction. According to Forbes, the travel industry even has a demographic category identified as PANK, or Professional Aunts with No Kids — single career women who collectively spend billions when they travel with nieces and nephews. 

For those with young children, the best traveling accessory isn’t the slumber pod or Doona (which is an amazing travel stroller), but the family members who can help. Travel with young ones can be trying for parents, and having an extra set of hands can be an invaluable saving grace, allowing mom and dad to take a few minutes to enjoy their trip, and giving an aunt or grandma a moment for special connection.

A few years ago, my family headed to Italy with the whole clan – two pregnant women, a 6-month-old, a 7-year-old, grandparents, and great-grandparents in tow. My father-in-law rented a Tuscan villa with a pool, scheduled bus tours from local guides to wineries and landmarks, and utilized American Express travel agency to maximize our connections. It was an unforgettable experience, made easier by in-home chefs and a porter to make our lives easier. When traveling with a big group like this, budget is not the name of the game, and spending for the simple luxuries is essential for a good time. 

Having a home base that was large enough to fit us all, and a destination in and of itself, took the pressure off the day trips and sightseeing. We enjoyed Florence and Rome, but the highlight was being together in the villa, enjoying the view and making the memories that will last a lifetime. The moments passing around the baby while mom helped herself to a glass of wine, Grandma laughing with the locals and sharing her memories from the past. Everyone together, smiling in the sunshine, enjoying the sights and each other. 

Where will you plan your next family trip?

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