As Baby Boomers retire, they’re on the go, and more often than not, they’re bringing their extended families along. Today’s retirees are healthier and wealthier than previous generations, and they’re looking to make memories by traveling with their kids and grandchildren, as well as siblings, nieces, and nephews.
The good news is that younger generations are on board. Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z welcome opportunities to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend time with family, especially when family members don’t live nearby. Traveling as a multi-generational group can be magical, strengthening connections through shared experiences.
At Cruise Dreams, we’re seeing four basic types of multi-generational travel. Which ones fit your family?
1. Celebrations included.
Most multi-generational trips – 77 percent – are built around a milestone event. A significant birthday or anniversary. A destination wedding. Family reunions or holiday get-togethers. No matter the event, group travel adds an extra layer of celebration.
In addition, by traveling to a “neutral” location, everyone is able to get away from their routines and focus on the milestone event itself. Cruise lines, resorts, and tour companies specialize in making these types of family celebrations memorable by helping with the planning, adding special touches, and offering activities for all ages.
A couple of years back, I took my family on a Christmas cruise. Our group – which included my children and 12 grandchildren, ages two and up – celebrated Christmas at sea. I highly recommend it. We had a fantastic time and a holiday filled with fun, laughter, and togetherness.
The cruise lines are experts at appealing to all ages. On our family trip, we had plenty of activities we could do as a group, including family karaoke and swimming with dolphins. But cruise vacations also enable families to break into smaller groups to relax with indulgent spa treatments, take part in kids’ club activities, or spend a day at Royal Caribbean’s have-to-experience-it-to-believe-it CocoCay island. Another plus for cruising as a family is the kids-travel-free promotions the cruise lines offer at different times of the year, which help make multi-generational travel more cost-effective.
2. Shared bucket lists.
Today, 74 percent of Americans prioritize experiences over possessions. The desire for new experiences is one of the main drivers behind the increased interest in multi-generational travel. Parents and grandparents want to introduce younger generations to their favorite destinations or bring extended family along as they cross places off their bucket lists.
The different generations mix nicely. Studies show that younger travelers prefer opportunities to explore and try new things. Baby Boomers are interested in bucket-list travel, with options for sightseeing as well as time to relax. In the middle, Millennials and Gen X generations favor experiencing new cultures combined with the chance to relax and unwind.
With a little planning, one trip can satisfy all these goals. The Cruise Dreams team has vast experience in custom-designing multi-generational group travel. On land or at sea, we can help you plan a one-of-a-kind bucket list trip that checks the boxes for young and old alike.
3. Grand getaways.
One of our favorite multi-generational travel trends is also known as skip-gen travel or grand getaways. It’s when grandparents travel with their grandchildren. Not only are grand getaways a perfect opportunity for bonding with grandkids, but they also give busy parents a chance to take their own child-free vacation.
Taking an annual trip with all your grandkids or treating each grandchild to a trip to mark a special birthday or occasion, such as graduation, is a wonderful tradition to start. And, with more than half of all grandparents living 200+ miles away from their grandkids today, traveling together provides a unique bonding experience.
Of course, the trips can be tailored by age and interests. We advise picking a theme – adventure, education, relaxation – and getting the grandkids involved in the planning. From biking in Europe or an African safari to river cruising in Asia or relaxing on a Caribbean beach, the most important thing is spending uninterrupted time with your grandchildren.
4. Giving back as a family.
Between work schedules and kids’ extra-curriculars, everyday life gets busy. There’s not always enough time to give back. As a result, we’re seeing an upsurge in travel that combines vacation with social responsibility elements – and the trend is a perfect fit for multi-generational family groups.
There are many options available that combine giving with authentic cultural experiences. Volunteering can be a powerful way for families to connect with the locals in the communities they visit. We’ve helped groups volunteer at local orphanages by building bicycles for the kids or delivering their favorite children’s books. The possibilities to do good while traveling are endless, but it’s essential to do your research and tap into legitimate, established programs offered through cruise lines and resorts or organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
At Cruise Dreams, we have partnerships around the world that help us match our clients with authentic volunteer opportunities. For five ideas on how to incorporate social responsibility into your travels, read our blog, Travel with Purpose: How Companies, Groups, and Individuals Can Make a Difference.
Look to the Cruise Dreams team to help you design once-in-a-lifetime trips for your multi-generational family group. Whether you’re celebrating a milestone event, accomplishing your bucket list, or just spending time together, we’ll handle all the details so you can focus on family time. Call us at (877) 999-4533 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waves to you and smooth sailings ahead!