“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you,
as you are to them.”
— Desmond Tutu
Multi-generational family travel is a wonderful way to celebrate and to build priceless memories. Getting everyone together in a new place invites all the challenges of the usual winter holiday gatherings, but adds the rewards of fresh opportunities and new ways to be with each other. If you are in a place to be the one to initiate such a gathering, start planning well ahead of time, and consider all the options.
Some families might have restrictions of time or available funds. Hopeful planners need to suggest a whole family gathering well in advance so that everyone can consult and construct their calendars to fit. Cost questions should be addressed up front also. Who is paying for what, and how much is it likely to cost? We cannot know all the details at the start but being frank about expectations is vital to keeping everyone happy.
Cruises are a wonderful way to convene the family. There are multiple activities to enjoy and someone else does all the cooking and cleaning up. People can mingle in varying constellations or seek solitude as they see fit. If you want a special celebration for your tribe the ship’s hospitality staff are available and happy to help with the details. Each family only has to get to the port of embarkation and the rest of the event is already in place, waiting to happen.
Taking everyone to a resort, villa, or condominium is another popular option. You will want to be sure everyone has enough space and that there is an array of activities to keep people happy. Resorts usually offer planned activities (Kids’ Clubs) for a variety of ages. A “villa” is not necessarily a fine, old Italian residence with terra cotta roof and a fountain. The term is used loosely these days for a wide variety of home-style residences which can accommodate several people. Condominium rentals are possible in a variety of sizes also. Most condo complexes include a swimming pool and a low level of entertainment offerings. Having the option to cook your own meals can reduce the expense and daily decisions that come with eating in restaurants. Using a kitchen lets everyone share the favorite family recipes – and share in the shopping, cooking, and clean-up.
If you find yourself wondering how to see family and take a vacation you have been putting off for quite a while, you could do what one client does. She tells her extended family, “We will be going to Hawaii (or Alaska, the Grand Canyon, or wherever) the first week in July. Would you like to meet us there?” The invitation is clear and implies lots of independence. The responding families can coordinate how much they will do together. They might only be able to have one big picnic all together, or they might form a caravan of exploration. It is an easy way to get the ball rolling without having to be responsible for everyone else.
The options available for a large family gathering are limited only by your imagination — and wallet and time. Don’t feel that you have to do the obvious thing which has always been done. If there is no history, then you have no expectation to counter! All the world is possible, in theory at least. When will there be a better time to have vital shared experiences with the people most important to you? Let me know if you need suggestions!
Boundaries divide. Travel unites.
19 May 2016