Top tips for multi-generational holidays with grandchildren

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It’s fun to travel with the grown up children and their offspring, but there are some challenges along the way and pitfalls to be avoided. We’ve put together our top tips to ensure a stress-free holiday for all generations!

♦  Plan your money.  This can be tricky, if meals are out are on the agenda, who will pay?  Maybe everyone takes turns to pay for a meal, or maybe you go for a kitty system, all adults put in £15 for example, children under 12 £7.50, so that no-one feels put upon.  Or perhaps the grocery bill is shared this way. A quick conversation before you depart can prevent any misunderstandings later. 

♦  Work out babysitting, if you are happy to take charge for a couple of evenings, let everyone know in advance.  If you are definitely keen to have the youngsters for whole days, do say so, then their parents can organise a special day out for themselves.  And perhaps you’d like to take off for a day alone, so plan this too. 

♦  Cooking can be great fun on holiday with new ingredients to try, again perhaps organise being catering chief on alternate days, with teenagers helping.

♦  Communication about bedrooms is vital. Some people like total privacy in their bedrooms, let everyone know how you feel.  If you love a toddler diving under your duvet at 5am, fantastic, if not, be sure you keep the door shut and ask everyone to knock, should that be what you prefer.  A small reward can work wonders.

Multi-generational holidays♦  Be honest about bathrooms. Maybe you have a set bathroom routine, bath at 6pm before dinner perhaps, let your family know.  And if everyone is sharing one or two bathrooms, it could be useful to have a 10 minute shower rule, especially if teenagers are with you.  Some Cif and a cloth may encourage a cleaner experience for all.

♦  Time is important too, getting a whole family out of the door at once can be fraught with tension, we give an hour and a half warning, with 30 minute reminders.  And not everyone goes at the same pace. Grandparents can need a lot longer to get ready and are not necessarily used to deadlines.  Packing a day full of activities may only suit some members of the group whilst others may be content to do very little.

♦  Clarify what treats are acceptable, it’s worth checking that your grandson really is allowed as much cola as he likes, and that his mummy actually does let him spend all his pocket money on sweets. 

Multi-generational holidays♦  Be clear too with regard to bedtimes, although holiday times are generally more relaxed, knowing what is normal or expected if you are babysitting means everyone has a better time the next day.  And yes, it’s true, most youngsters go to bed far later than we ever did.  They probably get up later too!  Ask what family rules there are, if any, and then stick to them - roughly!

♦  Tolerate differences, it will not be the same as life is at home, but that’s the fun of a holiday!  Eating at unusual times, doing different things and being surrounded by your family, are all to be enjoyed.  Our Gran, rather proper and particular normally, did cartwheels on the beach and left her stockings off so she could paddle on seaside holidays, we (my sisters and cousins) were shocked beyond belief.  I rather think she enjoyed that!

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Other Members' Thoughts - 4 Comment(s)

  • jaynealicia
    over 5 years ago
    Think I will take this article with us for the next 3 generation holiday. Some very useful groundrules. Have to say I smiled at the "Grandparents can need a lot longer to get ready and are not necessarily used to deadlines" Experience says this is not exclusively the field of the silver club!
  • Catriona
    about 6 years ago
    Had two successful holidays to USA with son & family. Allow days to chill out at pool in between sightseeing. One family member paid for all joint purchases then it was sorted out at home when bank statements arrived.
  • Sue
    over 7 years ago
    Thank you . We are having our first 4 generation holiday in August and really looking forward to it. We are planning some of the catering in advance so that my daughter can make use of her own butcher to bring quality meat , while great gandparents are responsible for wine as Great Grandad is an expert in that field and will be happier knowing what he is drinking.
  • JennieSilver
    almost 8 years ago
    Yes, I agree with all of these ideas! My mother hated being woken early by small children, we put a picture of a dragon on her bedroom door to remind them. She would happily play cards for hours with the youngsters in the evening instead. And she taught my nephew to cook on a wet holiday to Cornwall, very useful for University.