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4 Sanity-Preserving Tips for a Multi-Generational Family Vacation

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Traveling with multiple generations can have its own unique challenges. But there are ways to make things work better and provide a more enjoyable vacation. Here are four tips for any family.

Get a Well-Suited Hotel. Families with different age groups have different hotel needs than other groups. When choosing hotels for your trip, look for ways the hotel can help reduce stress. This can include upgrading to a family suite with separate rooms or finding a hotel with a small kitchen to make meals in the morning. Look for ways to keep kids and adults occupied, too, such as a pool, dog-walking areas, or cocktails. If grandparents have difficulty getting around, be sure to ask for accessible rooms.

Get Everyone Involved. Planning a multi-generational trip calls for more than one person doing the planning. Have family meetings during the planning process to get everyone's input—including the kids'. Try to ensure that every family member gets to do at least one specific thing that they want to do. The more kids and grandparents have ownership of their own activities, the more likely they are to actually enjoy them.

Don't Go Overboard. It might be tempting to plan a big, sprawling road trip or a once-in-a-lifetime adventure just because you have everyone together. But you might want to scale back those expectations in order to have a more successful time, particularly if your family isn't used to being together for long. Scheduling a vacation longer than a week or two might be asking for trouble with everyone in each other's space. If you do plan a longer trip, consider doing a few things separately here and there to give everyone a break.

Coordinate Luggage. This doesn't mean buying matching bags! What it does mean is coordinating how much and what you're packing inside that luggage. With multiple adults in a group, you can easily end up over-packing, wasting space, and duplicating items. Adults should discuss what they're bringing along, especially when it comes to things such as toiletries, medicinal supplies, snacks, outdoor gear, and technology, to see whether things can be consolidated or shared during the trip. This way, you can save energy lugging things around and save money if you have to pay for baggage.

Planning ahead with these few tips can help ensure that everyone in your big, multi-generational family has the best time possible on your family vacation.