Featured Image Caption and Credit: Austin Adventures offers a wide choice of active journeys and culturally-rich adventures for multi-generational family groups. Credit – Austin Adventures
Profound changes are taking place in how generations vacation together. Today’s multi-generational vacations come in all shapes and sizes, including those that include just adults. Tour companies, resorts and cruise lines are seeing more multi-generational groups with young adults traveling together. In fact, Backroads recently named “Family Travel with Kids Ages 20-Early 30s” as one of the hottest trends in adventure travel for 2020.
A number of demographic changes are contributing to this trend. Young adult children are generally more connected to their parents and grandparents than in previous generations and have grown up taking vacations together as a family. All generations are putting more of an emphasis on collecting experiences rather than things and making memories through travel often tops the list. In addition, millennials are often waiting until they’re older to get married and have kids. As a result, there are now a number of years when multi-generational trips and family reunions can be comprised solely of grandparents, parents, and their grown-up children.
As the 72 million Baby Boomers in the United States transition and retire, they have more time and disposable income to spend traveling. Parents and grandparents want to maintain strong ties and make cherished memories with their not-so-young children, but college-age kids and young adults starting their careers have busy lives and packed calendars. Taking a break to travel with their parents and grandparents can be an appealing way for them to make time to reconnect with loved ones. Since families often live farther apart than ever before, meeting up for a fun multi-generational trip can be a convenient choice as well.
All-adult multi-generational vacations can be different types of trips than in the past. Parents and grandparents are often healthier, more physically active and better able to keep up with their young adult children than in previous generations. As a result, there’s a greater interest in planning more adventurous multi-generational trips and bonding through activities like hiking, biking, exploring new places and sharing authentic experiences together. A variety of customizable travel options and innovations like electric bikes can make these active multi-generational trips easier. Cultural immersion and food-oriented endeavors are popular as well. While days on these vacations can be packed, it’s important to build in lots of options as well as free time that family members can spend pursuing their own individual interests or simply relaxing.
As with any multi-generational vacation, it’s essential to consult with all family members and involve everyone in the decision making process. This is particularly true for multi-generational vacations with young adults. While travel plans should be designed to please all generations, it’s important to build in some exciting experiences that will be particularly appealing to the 20’s and 30’s crowd. In addition to the travel preferences mentioned above, young adults also seek out travel options offering Internet connectivity, opportunities for Insta-worthy moments, flexibility and personalization, and fitness and wellness activities.
Exciting Vacation Options With Multi-Generational Appeal
The best destinations for all-adult multi-generational vacations offer plenty of attractive choices for every age group and interest. Domestically, travel agents say national parks and spots in Florida, California and New York are popular. Multi-generational groups with young adults often seek out resorts loaded with plenty of family room and lots of activities, such as Florida’s Hawks Cay Resort. Recently transformed after a $50 million-dollar renovation, Hawks Cay has seen an increase in bookings from all-adult multi-generational families. The property features a new Oasis Cay adults-only area as well as spacious villas with multiple bedrooms, allowing young adults and older generations to have the space they crave. Hawks Cay is also catering to all-adult multi-generational groups with special programming like rum tastings, as well as exciting experiences like sunset sails and fishing excursions that can be enjoyed individually or as a group.
Cruises are also a popular option for multi-generational travel with young adults. Today’s ships provide a highly-inclusive vacation with flexible daily schedules, a wide variety of amenities for all ages and opportunities for making memories both together and apart. International itineraries are also particularly attractive for multi-generational trips with young adults and cruises can be a hassle-free way to explore exciting destinations and ports of call. In addition to the Caribbean, Alaska and European voyages are a strong draw for all-adult multi-generational family travelers. European river cruises and active small ship expedition sailings can be appealing as well.
Carnival Cruise Line is seeing more bookings from both millennial travelers and multi-generational groups and is incorporating features designed to cater to both markets. Carnival has introduced enticing options on their ships including onboard breweries, a first-in-fleet culinary studio offering more than 15 onboard cooking classes, food outlets like Bonsai Teppanyaki and Bonsai Sushi, the cruise industry’s first social media plan and the first-ever roller coaster at sea. Norwegian Cruise Line is also ideal for multi-generational vacations with young adults, offering studio staterooms for solo family travelers and The Haven by Norwegian’s luxurious VIP accommodations that are perfect for grandparents seeking an upscale cruise experience. The cruise line’s Freestyle Dining program and adrenaline-fueled attractions like the largest racetracks at sea, laser tag arenas, and state-of-the-art Galaxy Pavilion virtual reality play spaces appeal to both young adult vacationers and their young-at-heart loved ones.
All-adult multi-generational trips may include programming and logistical challenges, which can be masterfully handled by the right tour company. Top family-friendly tour operators are seeing significant increases in all-adult multi-generational bookings for both pre-planned group departures and customized private journeys. Active trips and bucket list adventures in exotic destinations like Africa, Southeast Asia, Italy, Greece, Australia/New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands are big draws for these groups, although Costa Rica and visiting Yellowstone National Park with young adult kids still hold considerable appeal.
Austin Adventures has lots of experience with this growing all-adult multi-generational travel trend and cites the importance of full days and having loads of options for all interests and fitness levels. Listening to what everyone is looking for and hitting the highlights for all are key in delivering the perfect trip. While the company matches up families with similar demographics on their planned group departures, multi-generational groups with young adults often opt to make great travel memories on customized trips and exclusive tours.
Thomson Family Adventures and Wildland Adventures are also receiving more bookings from multi-generational groups with young adults. Thomson Family Adventures offers totally customizable experiences based on guest preferences and trips specially designed for families with older teens and millennials. Their journeys provide a complimentary blend of both high activity and cultural immersion experiences that work well for parents, grandparents and young adults. In addition to creating lifelong family memories, Wildland Adventures also finds multi-generational groups with young adults often want to celebrate rites of passage, give back, and leave a lasting legacy for others. Their travel experts make special arrangements to fit each family’s interests and goals.
Backroads, a company specializing in active and adventure travel, is seeing strong growth in all-adult family and multigenerational group bookings. The company divides its family trips into distinct segments to offer different programming and adventures for specific age and life-stage categories. This approach has proven to be particularly appealing to guests traveling with older children. As a result, Backroads recently launched a new “20s and Beyond” trip segment specially designed for families and multi-generational groups traveling with young adult children in their 20s and early 30s. This grouping expands the Backroads’ family-focused offerings to a total of four age segments including Younger Kids (ages 4-12), Kids & Teens (ages 9-19), and Older Teens & 20s (ages 17-23). Families and multi-generational guests seeking 20s and Beyond journeys can choose from over 134 dates and 91 trip itineraries around the world.
With so many exciting options, it’s clear that kids are never too old to travel with their parents and grandparents. There are a wealth of active and enriching ways to celebrate, bond, and make memories together. The time to start planning is now.
by Nancy Schretter