By Tom Easthope, guest blogger
Every family has a "golden age" where the elders have the resources, time, and need to connect. Children are old enough to appreciate the experience and able to travel without hassle. Traveling together with grandparents, adults, and children provides the opportunity to separate from daily routine and form a more meaningful bond with extended family members.
When evaluating different options for intergenerational travel, here are several factors to consider:
- Choice - Does the travel adventure or tour provide enough choice for you to find the experience that best matches your interests and abilities? For family tours this could mean grouping opportunities by age ranges of children which allow kids to more easily form bonds with each other.
- Fun Factor - Many kids work very hard during the school year. A successful family travel experience should include entertaining activities with a high fun factor for the kids.
- Experiences that Teach - Learning new things enriches the mind and is a significant value for adult travelers. Is there an educational program integrated into the itinerary?
- Responsible Tourism - Does the tour practice a responsible tourism philosophy? Are the natural and cultural environments you visit treated with respect to sustain them for future generations?
- Family Orientation - Will your family travel experience allow you time to bond as family? This could range from meal times to free time for sightseeing and exploration, two prime bonding times.
- Value - What is included in the package or tour? Are there hidden costs such as escort and driver gratuities or "optional" admissions to attractions? Are discounts available?
- Financial Security - Are your prepayments put in a trust or escrow account? Does the company belong to a tour protection insurance plan? This can be important as many intergenerational family trips are planned months in advance and often the major vacation for the year.
Today, numerous companies are jumping into the family travel arena. Unfortunately, this creates additional confusion for those trying to determine the best match for their family. As the travel industry continues to evolve, niche companies like Generations Touring Company will emerge to address and specialize in specific types of family travel. Research and plan ahead to find a tour or travel mode that best suits the generations in your family.
Tom Easthope is a travel industry veteran, successful entrepreneur, and founder of Generations Touring Company, offering small-group travel experiences for families and their generations – kids, adults, grandparents.