A few years ago, three generations of the Miller family took on Europe head-on Ė me, my mother and my eight-year-old daughter. I drove, my mother attempted to navigate, I yelled at her a lot, and my daughter put in her two centsí worth from the back seat. We laughed, we shopped, we trawled around art museums, lingered over delicious meals and bonded in a way we never had before. Today, incapacitated and unable to travel because of an eye problem, my mother fondly reminisces over what was undoubtedly the best family holiday she Ė and any of us - had ever experienced.
Yes, todayís grandparents are very different from previous generations. No longer content to sit at home and grow old, they are on the move, fit and active and exploring the world. Consequently, more and more families are discovering the joys of intergenerational travel, creating treasured family memories that last not just a lifetime, but several lifetimes!
Itís not just the grandparents who enjoy this special time. My daughter really valued travelling with her grandmother, especially since my mother was far more likely to indulge her with gifts and mementos of each destination! And having my mother around was a godsend at times when I needed to be alone, whether for an important business meeting or just to have a night out. Thereís nothing quite like travelling with a live-in baby sitter when you have tickets to the Italian Opera, for instance!
Here are some tips on how to enjoy holidays with both the grandparents and the kids:
- Let the bonding begin in planning stages. If you share the excitement of choosing the destination and making arrangements, the rewards will also be shared.
- Go online. Do your research and enjoy the savings.
- Include activities to make everyone happy. And donít forget time out for yourself Ė use the bonus of a live-in babysitter to indulge at a spa or shopping complex.
- The more the merrier. Many companies now offer special family reunion holidays; and itís a great way of including extended family and even friends. Why stop at just three generations?
- Safety first. Be aware of special dietary and medical needs. Carry insurance information. And be sure to obtain a signed statement from the parents giving you permission to authorise medical care.
- Take notes. A great way for the whole family to get involved is to keep a scrapbook of your journey; itís also a great way to relive the good times!
by Julie Miller