The Multi-Generational Holiday Trend.

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With the hectic pace of life and demanding schedules making for days packed with commitments as we balance work and home life, it’s no surprise that the travel industry is seeing a rise in family-focused holidays.

Not only are parents wanting to spend relaxed quality time with their children, but they’re also looking to share their annual leave with the grandparents, maximising on the value of time together and turning it into a multi-generational bonding opportunity that compensates for an otherwise hectically paced existence.

Off the grid safari itineraries are being requested in a bid to put families back in touch with each other – and the basics – and have the group sharing stories as they gather around the dinner table or open fire each evening, relating anecdotal accounts of both modern- and early-day travels.

Accommodations both in the city and in country settings are designing and adding family rooms, offering children’s programs and even having in-house babysitters. It’s recommended that you check with your tour operator the difference between ‘accepts children’ and ‘child-friendly’ when making your booking. In fact, exclusive home rental has been identified as one of the top travel trends for 2019 by Conde Nast Traveller, with families pooling together to rent homes away from home for an extended period and adventuring from there.

The age dynamic may mean that matching interests for all three groups can be challenging. You are likely to find the parents out on adventures while the grandparents hang out with the young grandchildren; or relaxed time for the grandparents while the parents and children head off on excursions. There’s something for everybody though, from the rich culture found in newly discovered cities, the hierarchy of nature, cultural appreciation and the breaking down of barriers, both within the family group and through the destinations they visit.

Further fuelling this interest, Airbnb has launched a selection of social impact experiences, a positive to explore new communities by partaking in inspiring activities that support local non-profit causes. Ideal for families wanting to learn about wildlife or ocean conservation, spend a few hours walking shelter dogs or going trekking with a Masai guide. Incorporating the practice and lesson of giving back as they go.

Whatever you opt for and wherever you’re next headed, create opportunities for quality time with your loved ones while building forever memories and being reminded of what really matters. You’ll find it adds wonder and depth to your holiday and is equally rewarding for all.

Planning your family holiday? Here are some useful tips.

  1. Let choosing your holiday destination be a combined effort. Talk about the places and options, and what you will do and see there. It helps build the anticipation once the decision is made and the countdown to departure begins.
  2. Look at maps, blog posts and guidebooks together to help all three generations understand where you will be travelling to in relation to home, activities on offer and accommodation choices.
  3. Encourage learning about the people and culture that you’ll be exposed to, as well as how to say, ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ in the language of the destination that you will visit. It goes a long way.
  4. Support the ‘why’. We know that travel brings many lessons and the sooner children are open to these benefits, the better. Let them ask how far, how long, names of attractions and the people they will meet each day.
  5. Give children and grandparents cameras – or phones – and encourage them to take photos of whatever interests them, whether it be the architecture, cars, food, animals or scenery – and especially each other. At the end of the trip, get together over a meal and let each photographer share what they found most interesting. There is no age limit to this method of storytelling. Printing a photo book of the best of them makes a wonderful keepsake.
  6. Write a journal, share anecdotes over dinner at the end of each day, learn new things, be open and respectful to those who will host you – and each other, and you’ll find the greatest gift of all will be the conversations and quality time with each other.

This story first appeared in the SA and Beyond printed magazine. Read my other published articles here.

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