Multigenerational vacations, virtually unheard of 20 years ago, are trips being taken together by grandparents, parents and grandchildren, all destined for the same location. This type of vacation is becoming quite common and growing increasingly popular. One type of multigenerational vacation only involves grandparents and grandkids while the “middle generation” stays at home, allowing quality time between their children and their parents.
Two factors appear to have spearheaded this new multigenerational trend. Career opportunities, health issues, geographic preferences and lifestyles have all played a part in families leaving the “homestead.” Family members have become scattered over the state, the country and even the world. Setting aside multigenerational vacation time allows families to spend time together reconnecting.
The economy has also redefined the family vacation. Recently families have had to downsize their budgets, but eliminating a much-needed vacation is downright depressing. Multigenerational vacations may just be the answer to “How can I get away and save money too.” Sharing expenses such as accommodations, food and car rental can greatly stretch your vacation money.
Planning and communication are keys to any successful vacation. First, set the date; the sooner, the better. Last minute reservations are traditionally more expensive and rarely offer group discounts or special packages. Next, decide on the destination. You will want to get everyone’s input. When everyone feels they have a voice, they feel more vested in the decision and will remain more understanding and positive when involved in specific activities they did not choose. This is also the time to honestly discuss the trip’s costs. Unless grandpa has said, “This trip’s on me,” everyone needs to specifically state what they can and cannot afford.
Now is the time to select your accommodations. Consider the number of people that will be sharing your “homebase.” Most multigenerational families seek lodging that will provide an area for togetherness as well as privacy. Accommodations such as cottages, cabins, and some hotel suites provide large living areas and kitchens that can be shared while allowing individuals their own separate sleeping quarters. This type of lodging also stretches the vacation budget. Meals can be prepared for much less money than eating out every meal. You also have the added advantage of stocking up on mid-day snacks for the kids or late-night snacks for the adults. Plus keeping a well-stocked pantry allows for extended day trips away from the home base. Pack a picnic, then plan to spend the day hiking, swimming or site seeing without having to corral everyone to travel to a restaurant at lunch time. Plan family “cook offs” or assign clean-up duties to your non-cooks. Involving everyone shares the workload and decreases the chance of someone feeling like they are the resident maid. Also consider any medical or dietary needs of your group. After you’ve checked in to your accommodations is too late to remember that you need special accommodations for Uncle Ted.
While planning each day’s activities, remember to stay flexible and considerate of everyone’s needs. Some in your group may love a non-stop agenda; others may be looking for a much more laid back schedule. Remember the objective is to relax and reconnect. When everyone feels the freedom to pick and chose activities, your shared time will be quality time; not a battle over who’s making who go where.
Be realistic about your transportation needs. It may be cheaper to rent two large vans, but it may be more practical to rent one large van and two mid-size cars.
A trip to Clinton County offers the perfect location for grandparents to spend quality time with their grandchildren while taking in family-focused festivals, such as the Banana Split Festival, Holidazzle, the Clinton County Corn Festival and more. Another option is sharing a bit of history at one of several museums or visiting an authentic historic covered bridge. Perhaps picking fresh produce such as strawberries, raspberries or pumpkins in the fall at one of our u-pick farms would be a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Visit Grandpa’s Pottery and witness the magic of the potter at his wheel. Grandparents and grandchildren can even try their hand at creating their own masterpiece.
For a look at nature, we suggest you go to Cowan Lake State Park to watch the sailboats and walk one of the many trails or visit Caesar Creek State Park to hunt for fossils along the lake bed. More treasures are waiting to be found.
Whether two or three generations are up for a vacation, we welcome you to Clinton County in southwest Ohio. Call the Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau for assistance planning your own special itinerary. We’d be glad to help.