Planning a trip abroad for three generations. It can be done!
Last summer a sweet Facebook friend posted pictures of her family's trip to France and England. Because this blog is (mostly) for grandparents, I'm always on the lookout for things exactly like this to share with my readers. How did they go about this? How did they carve out the time? How did they know what excursions to plan? How did they include everyone's wants and needs? My questions were endless. I also wanted to know what they considered the blessings and benefits of such an endeavor because, after all, that's really what it is all about.
I asked Judye if she would write my blog about the experience, and she did me one better. Besides letting me in on the back details, when she got together with her grandkids this Christmas, she asked them to write about their experiences, and they complied! What a friend! And what a family!
So here it is for you to savor and decide if you want to engage in such a trip with your children and grandchildren. Judye and her daughter Arlette have given us some good tips. I'll start with them:
From the grandmother, Judye~
More tips from Judye:
Tips from Judye's daughter, Arlette: (The middle generation represented here; also called "the mom")
Choosing a trip:
I started by asking my parents what are their “bucket list” trips. They have lots domestic travel wish trips, but I thought I could help most by planning international travel, as they haven’t done that in a while and one of my kids and my nephew haven’t either. So planning and implementing an international trip would help both the younger and older generation. My parents’ wish list included: Alaska, Hawaii, and Scotland/Ireland. I chose to think about planning Scotland/Ireland, and I started planning a full 18 months ahead of time. I thought about, since family member has memory and accessibility challenges, ways to travel easily. I looked at guided tours where they move your luggage, “hopper” tours where you are on your own but they help move you from city to city/country to country and cruises. We chose a cruise because you return to same the room every night, and can see the most places. We traveled on the Princess Cruises 11-day British Isles cruise as it seemed like the best deal for the most locations.
Getting buy-in from multiple families/generations:
I asked everyone if they were interested.I made sure to accurately describe the type of trip it would be. For example, my daughter, in her late teens, loves live music and nightlife, but we would have to be back on ship most times by 6pm or sometimes 9 pm. I made sure she understood that before she committed. But I suggested she think of it as an “appetizer” or tasting menu--she could experience a bit of many places and decide where to go back. My brother and sister-in-law travel frequently for work and weren’t interested in an 11 day cruise. But they were interested in meeting us at the beginning or end of the trip! So we extended our start of the trip in Paris, and had a fabulous three day weekend with them. Sometimes you can do part of a trip together and some generations can keep traveling or go home.
Communicating to plan:
I found that teens/20somethings respond to text messages the best. So once we had our group, we texted to plan the trip. When we had everyone together for a holiday, we chose excursions on the website. Each family booked their own vacation, but we did it through the same cruise travel agent. We purchased plane tickets through the cruiseline so they would help us get to and from airports and help with missed connections.
Leave room for different generations/people to do different things and take time to tailor
We made people aware of what the excursions were. It is fun to do different things sometimes, and then come back together for dinner and talk about your adventures! In Inverness, we didn’t choose any of the day-trips offered. I contacted the Visitor’s Center by email and asked for recommendations on tour guides for personalized day trips, and we planned a personalized tour of Cameron Clan lands in Scotland. I was nervous about a personalized tour, but it turned out to be one of the best days, and was actually less expensive than some of the other excursions! We saw the flag flown by the Cameron clan at Culloden, and saw the house lived in for three generations by our ancestors, and unexpectedly met the Lochiel—the head of the Cameron Clan. We made amazing memories!
Note from this blogger:
I think these are great tips! I want to thank Judye and her daughter for providing us with such great ideas about how to go about such a trip.
Please note, next week we hear from the grandkids with their reflections. And grandfather too! If that doesn't inspire you to plan such a trip with your kids and grandkids, I don't know what will! Thanks again to Judye and her family!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!