Imagine this: Your eight-year old daughter strutting her moves beside you at the disco; dad and son learning to cook together; or the grandkids oohing and aahing as grandpa points out the wildlife on a safari. The heart-warming benefits of multi-generational travel ensure it is a rising star in the world of holiday styles.
From mum and dad and the kids travelling with grandparents; to aunts and uncles, cousins, and in-laws joining a holiday to celebrate a special occasion; multigenerational family travel is on the rise. For extended families that may live far apart, it’s a way to come together and spend some quality time.
In the last few years, cruise lines have been steaming ahead when it comes to multigenerational cruising, and many now provide facilities to cater directly for family members of diverse ages and interests.
Take for example Royal Caribbean International’s new Ovation of the Seas. The cruise line has introduced a new generation of staterooms, perfect for multigenerational family groups. Family Connected Suites allow families to share time together, while also allowing everyone to have their own spaces, separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Along with a multitude of activities from a circus school, bumper cars, roller-skating rink, full-size basketball court, indoor sky diving and surfing simulator, there’s something to keep the whole family entertained. Cruises also offer value for money, with all meals included from a range of dining options, catering for even the fussiest eater.
Disney has long been associated with creating family magic, and all its ships - Disney Dream, Disney Magic, Disney Wonder and Disney Fantasy – strive to provide entertainment for everyone from tots to nanna. The family might find themselves taking part in game shows, magic lessons, karaoke nights, dance parties and cooking classes. And it’s not all about fuzzy cartoon characters: adults can enjoy the latest movies, adult’s-only fine-dining restaurants and nightclub, and an adults-only pool and spa. ‘Dine and Play’ allows families to enjoy dinner together before youth counsellors take over the kids, letting adults spend the evening in adults-only parts of the ship. Disney is also the leader of the pack for its family-friendly excursions that are both fun and educational, such as a lumberjack show in Alaska to ziplining through the forest in the Caribbean.
Europe by water
It’s not just large ocean liners that cater for family groups. Uniworld’s Generations cruises offer European river cruises that are specifically designed for multigenerational families, and are an excellent way to introduce young travellers to Europe. Shore excursions and on board activities on particular sailings are tailored for different age groups; there’s ‘Live the Lingo’ lessons in various languages, plus the all-important complimentary wi-fi access, so they can keep connected with friends back home. Departures are conveniently scheduled during summer and winter school breaks.
For at least half the year, it is winter somewhere in the world, and for skiing enthusiasts, that means a ski holiday is almost always on the agenda. However, one doesn’t need to be a skier to enjoy a winter holiday, even non-skiers can find the welcoming winter spirit invigorating when travelling to the world’s most breathtaking snowy mountain retreats.
Abercrombie & Kent has a range of ski chalets in some of Europe’s best ski resorts with après ski options - from indoor pools and games rooms, to in-house chefs and childcare, to ski schools and chauffeured transfers. Some grandparents will be happy exploring beautiful European villages, while others are better skiers than their children and grandchildren, and can lead the tribe around the mountain.
Once the family has gotten a taste of having their own private chef, it’s likely to be something that must tick the box for every family holiday. A private villa in Bali, Fiji or Thailand, with multiple rooms, its own private chef, private swimming pool and local culture, provides a relaxing getaway for all the clan to come together for a special occasion such as a milestone anniversary or birthday.
Big city living
A big trend for multigenerational travel in cities like London, New York or Paris, is to rent centrally located apartments or houses rather than hotels. Onefinestay offers some of the finest luxury private homes in these cities and many have multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as rooms created especially for kids.
An incredible range of destinations and private accommodation are just the start when it comes to multigenerational travel choices. Safari operators are also embracing the trend, with the African continent a destination that appeals to everyone, no matter their age. Exploring massive African wildlife parks such South Africa’s Kruger National Park or Tanzania’s Serengeti will bring those David Attenborough documentaries to life, and create special moments and memories that everyone will be talking about for years to come.
It’s said that the family that plays together, stays together, and there is no doubt that travel with your loved ones has the greatest potential to bring families together through extraordinary shared experiences.