The Value of Multi‐Generational Travel
Skip-generation travel is one of the leading trends in industry
If your clientele is primarily senior adults, you will find that many of them may be very independent with a full emotional life and a family of loving and attentive children and grandchildren. But others may be lonely. They may not be closely connected to family members, who perhaps live at a distance or are too busy with work and school commitments to spend much quality time with their parents and grandparents.
Traveling together on a multi-generational trip can strengthen relationships and at times even heal wounds.
“The goal with inter‐generational travel is to enjoy each other and share experiences,” noted Mary Stachnik, former co-owner of Mayflower Tours. “They don’t want to have to handle the mechanics, so a group tour is perfect for such travelers, since you are handling all the details for them. multi‐generational travel is the fastest growing segment of our business.”
I have had a number of trips which were inter‐generational. On a tour to Provence that I escorted, an 80-year old grandmother traveling with her helpful, loving, and attentive granddaughter were a joy to have on the trip. In London, I had a dynamic threesome—a woman, her daughter and a college‐age granddaughter. I also recall a woman whose daughter invited her on a trip, as a reward for completing a grueling session of chemotherapy.
6 Benefits of Multi-Generational Travel for All Ages
What might be the advantages of a multi-generational trip? Benefits include:
- Allowing the young to benefit from the wisdom of the old and the old, perhaps to begin understanding the thinking of the yo
- Allowing an opportunity for talking and sharing ideas and secrets between generations.
- Providing a fun, pleasant setting for inter‐generational activities
- Lifetime memories—memories for the future, when the senior may no longer be able to travel, and memories for the younger person to grow up with.
- Providing a way for an older person to do something nice for a younger person, giving them an experience they might not otherwise have afforded.
- Conveying the concept of “passing the torch” from old to young. Hopefully, when the young reach their mature years, they, in turn, will want to pass it on to the generation which follows
If this is a sponsored trip by an organization, the trip must not only be successful and beneficial to your travelers, but to your organization as well. It can:
- Expand enrollments in your trips and membership.
- Provide a continuum of new members who may later join your organization for travel and other act
- Give your organization an opportunity to reach out into the greater community and be known beyond present circle
- Provide an interesting focal point for news coverage from the media, raising the profile of your organization and its travel program.
You might start with a one‐day trip. Pick a weekend when younger folks are not working or in school. Plan a trip with some activity, not just a bus ride—a barbecue, a theater trip or sporting event, cultural festival or a historic theme.
Encourage older adults to invite a younger family member or friend, but make it clear they don’t have to do so. You don’t want your usual travelers to stay away just because they don’t have anyone to bring or because their children were unable to participate. Consider a special lower rate for the younger guests.
If you’re ready to try a longer trip, you might contact one or more of the companies that have already done it successfully. Thomson Family Adventures offers adventure vacations to such child‐friendly destinations as Alaska, Costa Rica and the Galápagos among others, and even designs departures for families with teenagers. Tauck Bridges is an entire product line developed by one of America’s legacy tour companies. Another family‐specialist company is San Francisco‐based Rascals in Paradise. Additionally, many tour companies like Collette Vacations set aside certain departure dates for this specialty or will customize a trip for your group, particularly during school vacation dates.
Hints from the Experts
“Make your trips more adventurous, more active, not passive,” suggested Sabrina Lozier, Especially 4U Tours, Mesa, AZ (she’s the younger half of the mother‐daughter team who run the company). “Our trips focus on the southwest and Mexico and are a natural for active seniors accompanied by intellectually curious young persons.”
Holiday trips have worked well for Heritage Tours and Travel, Stockton, CA. Katherine Setness noted, “We’ve had luck with mother‐daughter trips on or near Mother’s Day. Common interest is the key—theater or floral, for example. The same holds true for men. Trips designed around automotive interests or past military experience sell well.”
Multi‐generational tours should include a mixture of activities and sightseeing with adequate free time and with special emphasis on outdoor activity, according to Christine Cimino, Collette Vacations of Pawtucket, RI. “An educational component is also important.”
If you’re ready and willing to embrace the idea of an multi-generational trip, decide what age levels you’re going to target, start your plans well in advance, utilize your resources and go for it. You and your family will enjoy the very different atmosphere of such a tour.
By Marty Sarbey deSouto