How to have a multi-generational holiday

Richard Mellor

Planning to take the kids and grandparents on a super-sized family holiday? Here are some top tips, and pitfalls to avoid

Plan in advance…

It’s an ugly conversation, but money needs discussing. Not just who pays what of the initial costs, but will there be a kitty for meals out, supplies and so forth? Clarify that now to prevent awkwardness later.

Equally, if you’re self-catering, look to establish a cleaning rota so there’s no ill-feeling brewing during the break. It needn’t be militant, just fair.  

 

….but be flexible

3G breaks, as they’re often nicknamed, have a habit of surprising, and some adaptation is needed. 

You might aim or need to schedule a couple of outings and celebratory meals out, and you may want to agree that the grandparents do some babysitting—but don’t over plan. That way stress lies. Rather, be prepared to adapt to circumstance and go with the flow.

 

Hire your own place...

Large villas or other self-catering options are the classic multi-gen pick, as they afford everyone space to spread out and have some quiet time. Even better if they have a pool—a proven means of relaxation or distraction for all ages—or come with staff.

If your villa or apartment is part of a complex where the kids might also encounter other children, and make friends, that can also work really well. Ditto having a nearby escape—a bar, a beach, a town —to which adults can go when the need for solitude arises, or after a squabble!

 

…or let others do the planning

Alternatively, consider a large cruise or all-inclusive resort. The former work well for 3G breaks by dint of offering near-limitless entertainment options to suit all ages, ample space and pre-arranged excursions with an emphasis on culture.

All-inclusives tick the same boxes, while offering a greater sense of freedom and, usually, free babysitting and kids’ clubs. In both cases, you’ll have flexible options for mealtimes and staff do all your washing and cleaning, and most costs will be paid upfront.

 

Check non-negotiables

Key to three-generational holidays is everyone getting something they want. There’s nothing worse than one party feeling they’ve been dragged along, and not being excited about the break.

Ask all parties for the one or two elements—be it an en-suite bathroom, a pool, good walking—key to them, and use those as your parameters.

 

Cars and bedrooms

If there’s a segregated bedroom, give that to the teenagers—so their noise doesn’t disturb—or the grandparents, so they can have a sense of autonomy and quietude.

In self-catering options, two cars work much better than one; it allows for choice on daily outings, and simply a greater sense of freedom.  

 

Choose your destination

Quite aside from eco concerns, long-haul flights can be physically demanding for the very young and old. If you decide to venture further afield, consider South Africa or Morocco as no jet lag is involved.

Otherwise, look to Europe, or even a new-to-all part of the UK. It’s possible to go somewhere exotic while keeping things domestic—with their beaches, gardens, walking and seal-spotting, the sun-soaked Isles of Scilly, say, can be just as exciting as any Asian or Caribbean break.

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