A Guide to Multigenerational Traveling: Where to go and how to make lasting family memories

Traveling offers more than respite from the daily grind of your normal life and routine. Traveling is a way for you, and your family, to bond as you experience cultures and views you might have only seen in textbooks and TV.

Traveling creates lifelong family memories, which is why multigenerational traveling has become such a popular trend in recent years: As many as 21 million people in the U.S. took a multigenerational trip in the past 12 months.

What is multigenerational traveling?

By definition, a multigenerational trip is when a family (of at least three distinct generations) takes a trip together. This form of traveling has grown in popularity for a number of reasons, including:

  • Today, more and more family members live far apart from one another; traveling together brings them closer together
  • Even if you live near your family, we spend so much time “plugged in” and distracted. Traveling together gives us a chance to be more present with one another

In fact, the trips we take, as children, tend to be far more memorable than school events or even birthday celebrations. And when you bring multiple generations together, children get to spend time with grandparents, forming a connection that might otherwise not exist.

3 popular trends in multigenerational traveling

When planning a multigenerational trip, it’s important to remember that you’re all in it together. It’s vital that you design an itinerary, and decide on a destination, that will be suitable for everyone involved, from young children to grandparents.

This can be a challenge. Keeping young children happy, while ensuring older travelers are entertained or fulfilled, is no easy feat. However, these 3 popular trends may help you decide on the ideal journey for your family:


This portmanteau combines volunteering and tourism, and has proven to be a favorite for multigenerational travelers. The concept is to “go on vacation” with the sole purpose of social responsibility.

Grandparents love this notion, because it allows them to give back and share that experience with their children and grandchildren. A well-designed voluntourism trip will accommodate the sensitive needs of children as well. There’ll be plenty of time for play and sightseeing, all while helping others improve their lives.

Voluntourism opportunities are available worldwide, including in our many national parks.


Museum trips have always been popular among families, because it allows parents to teach their children such things as art, culture, and history. That’s why ecotourism is so popular these days.

There’s no question that the green movement is in. Recycling is no longer an alternative option for disposing trash; today’s children have grown up with the concept of caring for the earth. Ecotourism allows families to take trips that are specifically designed to help the local economy, while teaching children the value of sustainability.

Costa Rica provides a phenomenal opportunity for your family to see the natural beauties of the jungle, waters, and people, while learning how to preserve this land for future generations.

Adventure Travel

There once was a time when families couldn’t consider adventure traveling when they invited older generations on vacations with them.

But the country’s older generation – the baby boomers – are far from elderly. Baby boomers are healthier, wealthier, and more active than their counterparts from years past. This opens up many possibilities in the world of adventure traveling.

For your next family adventure travel, consider Christmas in the Rainforest, down in Belize. Ideal for travelers ages 14 – 79, this trip includes:

  • Diving, snorkeling, and dinner on a catamaran
  • Beach BBQ and bonfire (and eating the fish you caught that day)
  • Rainforest adventure
  • Each day, a family member hosts a cooking class, thus passing down a cherished family recipe

You may also want to consider a trek to Alaska or, if you’re up to it, an African safari.

Other travel ideas to consider

Perhaps your family is looking for a different type of journey than those listed above. You may consider the following:

  • A cultural trip. Bring your family to the “homeland” to learn about your family history and culture. Rather than show pictures to your children, show them the real thing.
  • City safaris. This type of journey can reduce the amount of travel you do, as most city attractions are centrally located. A trip to Washington D.C., for example, is not only ideal for your entire family, but many of the attractions are free.
  • A cruise. Cruises are typically packed with things to do, including activities for children, meaning you can avoid hearing that dreaded “I’m bored” line from your kids!

Tips to make sure your multigenerational trip is a success

When you plan a vacation that only involves your children, it’s easy to know who’s in charge. That’s not the case with a multigenerational vacation, which is why it’s key to make it clear who will take on all the tasks you’ll face along the way. This includes:

  • Who’s driving?
  • Who’s cooking?
  • Who’s paying?

Be sure to cover all your bases before you take your trip, so that you can avoid awkward moments and disagreements.

It’s also important to keep a loose schedule. You don’t want to lose sight of the fact that this is vacation. Besides, chances are there’ll be moments on your trip when everyone needs a break from one another. A tight and unforgiving schedule will make it difficult to sneak in those moments of calm we all need from time to time.

Make sure that everyone involved can enjoy the majority of the activities you partake in. That means factoring in such obstacles as walkers, strollers, or physical limitations. It helps to get everyone involved in the planning. That way the entire family feels invested in the journey.

Make the most of your multigenerational trip with Travel With Stephanie

Some vacations are designed to do more than help you relax. Some are meant to bring your family closer together, and to form bonds that will carry on for many lifetimes. The multigenerational trip is your opportunity to bridge the gap that’s normally formed by age difference.

Travel With Stephanie has a unique experience creating multigenerational trips customized for families of all backgrounds and interests. Learn more by contacting Travel With Stephanie today!

Miller Murphy Travel is an independent affiliate of Brownell Travel, a Virtuoso member
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