Tips for surviving a multigenerational family holiday

Don’t forget to pack the grandparents! That’s if you’re part of the latest travel trend – a rise in multi-generational holidays, also known as Gramping (going on holiday with the grandparents) or 3G – a trip consisting of at least three generations. As a willing participant in this trend of going on a family holiday with grandparents (the kids’, not mine), I can highly recommend it!

Don’t get me wrong, our parents were just as generous with their time before the patter of their grandchildren’s feet and we often holidayed with them. With relatives dotted around the country and everyone having busy schedules, multi-generational holidays also provide the perfect opportunity for families to spend time together. It’s just that these days the extra helping hands of grandparents now allow parents to feel like they have enjoyed an actual ‘break’ on a holiday with young kids. Eating an entire meal in one sitting is just one example that comes to mind…

Vaujany - family holiday with grandparents

Family holiday with grandparents

In addition to sharing treasured memories together, the grandparents hold another extremely valuable card. Free, trustworthy childcare. No need to sort out and pay for babysitters who are unfamiliar with your children and their particularities!

For some of course, it might sound like the ultimate nightmare – intrusive grandparents, sibling rivalry, bitter disputes and annoying family members. Getting on with your elders and not wanting to strangle the living daylights out of each other certainly helps, so here are a few pointers for avoiding family warfare on a multi-generational trip abroad.

multi generational travel mallorca - family holiday with grandparents

1. Don’t be a schedule bore

To upset a baby’s routine is to many parents, the equivalent of a gigantic slap in the face, the loss of months of tireless work. But you are on holiday and time zones, travel and missed nap times will have set things awry anyway. Try and stick to it as much as possible, but be prepared to rock little ones to sleep on mountain tops or wheel them down a packed promenade way past their normal bedtime. That way you’ll be able to go with the flow a bit easier and you’ll be amazed how easily they adapt.

Puerto Pollensa Mallorca Spain - multi generational travel mallorca - family holiday with grandparents

2. Saying that, make sure people are aware of the routine

It’s no good being militant about catching the first ski lift when you know there is no way in hell you will have breakfast-ed and dressed your kids – let alone yourself – by that time.  Group expectations should be addressed early on and flexibility is needed on both sides so groups can happily separate and do their own thing if necessary.
multi generational travel - Vaujany sking - family holiday with grandparents

3. Work in some babysitting on a family holiday with grandparents around

Even if every bone in your body is squealing for sleep or if your conversation starter will mainly focus on your toddler’s nappy contents (your chat literally stinks…), make the most of having babysitters on hand. You never know when this chance will happen again!
multi generational travel - family holiday with grandparents

 4. Make sure family members are happy to muck in

A ton of relatives should mean a few extra hands to help cart little ones and luggage from A to B or entertain or feed your offspring while you shower. It’s your holiday too, so why not take a few extra minutes to put your make up on at a leisurely pace, hell, why not even visit the toilet on your own! If your travel companions aren’t willing to help out, you’ll end up feeling resentful.

5. Make time for the kids as well as other generations

If your toddler is at an age when they need a LOT of entertainment to tire them out and avoid getting bored, make sure there are activities available for them too. For example, if you’re skiing but they’re too young for ski school, check out the local swimming pool or hire a toboggan to mix things up a bit for them.
Mauritius - multi generational travel - family holiday with grandparents

6. Accept it will be a different type of family holiday

Where once you spent hours sunbathing on a beach followed by a lazy sangria-fuelled afternoon, you’re now lucky if you squeeze in a cheeky tanning session and read a page of your book during your child’s short nap window. Apres-ski? Ha! Once you’re off that mountain it’s straight back for dinner, bath and bed. If you’re with people who are unaware of the responsibilities and restrictions having a baby throws into to the mix, prepare them in advance so group members can be flexible and tolerant of this adjusted way of holidaying.

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