Trip with Your Extended Family
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The lockdown has been draining, to put it lightly. From being coped in the same space to lack of in-person contact with family, Covid-19 has had a dwindling effect on a lot of us. Now that traveling sanctions are finally lifted, extended family vacations are gaining quite a momentum. Many of you might be considering visiting tourist attractions that aren’t far from home, such as the Great Smoky Mountains. Handling a large group (that too with all your family members) can be exhausting on an international trip. The cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have something for every age group, so why waste time and money traveling afar?

Why travel with extended family?

Before diving headfirst into hotel bookings and destination options to plan the perfect trip with your extended family, you should take a moment to reflect on whether this type of travel is suited for your family or not. While it is true that generational trips make for wonderful memories, they may not be for everyone. Spending a huge sum of money on – a trip that will leave you with memories you would rather not have – is not a wise choice.

Since you’re still here, it’s safe to assume you get along with your extended family. Multigenerational trips have several advantages too.

It’s a great bonding experience with all your cousins and aunts that you don’t get to see often. And there’s so much you can do with big groups. From road trips to the state’s national parks to a weekend getaway at the Great Smokys, where you can book luxurious cabins in Gatlinburg, you have a lot of options.

Ready to finally take that trip with your extended family but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. We have compiled these eight tips that will help you navigate through planning this trip.

1. Appoint a focal person to lead the planning process

Too many people in charge are a disaster waiting to happen. Appoint a person who’s willing to lead the planning process. Additionally, it is safer and easier to have a single point of contact for all your travel agents, booking offices, etc. Your focal person may not be planning everything, but they oversee tracking deadlines, dates, payments, making reservations, contacting family, etc.

It is better if your point of contact is someone well-versed in travel planning. Families who do not want to go through the hassle of bookings and whatnot should consider hiring a travel agent. It will also help you save a lot of time spent on research and negotiation. The focal person now serves as the point of contact for the travel agent.

2. Start planning well in advance

With bigger groups, finding the ideal dates involves navigating many schedule conflicts. One common solution to that is planning trips during school vacations, but this will only work for families with multiple kids of school age. Identify the common dates around the year when most people can easily get vacation days. It is very important to plan these trips well in advance as vacation destinations also book up fast during these dates.

The bigger your family, the earlier you should get to planning. Families with multiple households should plan at least a year in advance. Most companies and resorts tend to open their calendars and year early. Be sure to finalize your bookings before slots fill in.

3. Discuss budgeting and who is paying for what

Each household has different priorities regarding where their money goes. Additionally, not all of them have the same financial standings as others. Some people may prefer spending more on activities, but others may spend more on fancier lodgings or travel modes. To avoid conflicts, sit down before planning to discuss who’s paying for what and work around everyone’s interests.

4. Choose a destination that offers something for everyone

Choosing the ideal location that works for everyone isn’t the crisis you assume it is. Selecting the right destination will take a lot of research and time, but there are so many options out there. Try looking through all the activities offered to see if they have something for all ages.

A cabin in the mountains with access to multiple activities or a beach vacation are good options. Amusement Park trips are also a wonderful option for most age groups but may not be suited for people not up for long hours spent walking around.

Always feel free to think outside the box. What matters is that everyone agrees on the selected location.

5. One size doesn’t always fit all

When traveling with multiple generations, there’s a higher chance that everything planned may not be for all generations. Keep all activities planned optional. Try not to plan for more than one activity per day to accommodate the elders and toddlers who need early bedtimes and nap times. This will also give room to all those moody teenagers to do what they want to do.

6. Choose appropriate lodgings

Your lodgings should be accessible and accommodating for the entire group. The grandparents won’t be up for climbing multiple stairs, and not everyone will be comfortable sharing the same space.

For larger groups, be sure to go through your options. Families that prefer living in the same space should consider renting out cabins. Vacation rentals are also ideal and tend to be more economical when split amongst multiple people.

Whatever accommodations you choose, they should not be too secluded from all your planned activities. If you’re visiting a culture-rich country, get lodging close to where the action is.

7. Divide all work

Before leaving for the trip, it’s advised to discuss how all chores and work will be managed. When vacationing with extended family, several kids and larger spaces are involved. You are on vacation, but chores still need to be done, and if you don’t plan to eat out, then clearly draft up a meal plan assigning who will be cooking and when amongst all members equally.

Additionally, to avoid sour moods later on the trip, make it clear that everyone will be expected to clean up after themselves.

Lastly, remember that grandparents are always more than happy to keep the little ones company, but they are not built-in babysitters. However, sit down and talk out your babysitting schedule so that everyone can have a little me time or much-needed date nights.

Conclusion

Multigenerational trips can be a hassle if not planned properly, but they are almost always worth the time spent in planning around. With everyone so immersed in their fast-paced lives, staying in contact with extended families tends to be hard. A trip is the perfect bonding time to make up for all the missed birthdays and weddings.