Multigenerational vacations bring families together
More and more families want to travel together, and not just with mom, dad and the kids. Retirees and working Baby Boomers want to gather the group, bringing along adult children and grandchildren. Why? Because these special times together create powerful bonds that money can’t buy.
“In the past few years, we have seen a tremendous increase in multigenerational travel,” says Steve Loucks, vice president-communications of Travel Leaders Group, the nation’s largest traditional (brick and mortar) travel agency company. “These groups want diversity,” Loucks says. “Something that can be pleasing to the most jaded adult and to the younger children and to everyone in between.”
What else makes for a successful multi-age vacation? Think flexible pace and activities to do together and apart.
Here are three great choices for special across-the-generations trips.
Cruises offer multigenerational families smooth sailing by eliminating two travel-together trip-wreckers: budget blues and boredom. Forget about arguing with your siblings about the cost of lodging, entertainment, children’s programs and food. That’s all covered by cruising’s upfront price. The big spenders in your group can splurge on suites and pricey shore excursions while the cost-conscious can book inside cabins and take the bus to the local beach. Aboard, all enjoy the same musical shows, comedy acts, movies, buffets, main dining room meals and expansive sea views. Drinks, specialty restaurants and spa treatments do cost extra.
When you pick the right cruise line and ship, you won’t hear “I’m bored” from your kids or your parents or great uncles. More than 1.5 million children sailed last year. At day-long programs, children go on scavenger hunts, create burbling volcanoes (kitchen science), learn how to be a scratch D.J. and perfect their hip-hop moves at teen-only clubs. Even hard-to-please 20-somethings can lounge poolside during the day and dance at the late-night disco. Seniors can relax with bridge games, sports bars and the spa.
One of the best lines for multigenerational families with active tweens and teens is Royal Caribbean International. RCI’s Adventure Ocean offers supervised activities for ages 3-17, and the big ships have a nursery for tots 6-36 months. On Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas, launching in November 2014, you can ice skate, rock climb, zipline and surf (on a FlowRider that generates mini-waves). The Quantum will add simulated skydiving, bumper cars and roller skating, as well as more connecting cabins, another plus for multigenerational cruisers.royalcaribbean.com
Tip: Megaships sail 5,400 passengers. To be sure to experience what you want, pre-book tickets to the complimentary ice shows, Broadway musicals, comedy shows and the AquaTheater’s high-diving, and make reservations for the specialty restaurants and spa services.
Cities sizzle with excitement. The key to a successful urban, multi-age trip: pick a centrally located lodging within walking distance of your most desired attractions. That makes it easy for you, grandpa and your teenage son to visit the art museum followed by a shopping blitz through boutiques while grandma and your kindergartener head to the children’s zoo, have pizza for lunch and then return to the hotel for afternoon naps.
Washington, D.C., is a multigen jewel and a budget-stretcher since many attractions ?the White House, Capitol, monuments and Smithsonian museums?are free. And you won’t lack for conversation after touching a moon rock, ogling the 45.5 carat Hope Diamond, viewing the original Star Spangled Banner, and cracking codes at the International Spy Museum and other attractions are ready to welcome families.
Puppets and pandas add to this winter’s allure. At?Puppetry in America, opening Dec. 13, National Museum of American History, each generation can point out favorites such as Punch and Judy, Howdy Doody, and the Muppets. Toward the end of November when the baby panda reaches 100-days old, the white-and-black bundle receives a name. Soon after, expect to see the cute new Washingtonian on view.
In December, the city shines with the National Christmas Tree, pageants and special programs. And D.C. rules spring with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, March 20-April 13, 2014.The hundreds of trees surrounding the Tidal Basin’s Jefferson Memorial burst into a profusion of delicate pink petals. Celebrate by watching the parade and the fireworks and flying kites on the Washington Monument grounds.
The Kennedy Center features more across-the-eras fun. Take your kids to a musical or introduce them to the symphony or opera. Then let them explain one of their musical genres to you at?One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide,?March 28-April 7, 2014.
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