Go to any tourist hotspot and you’ll see the sights—and hear the sighs, as bored teenagers reluctantly trail mom and dad through yet another medieval church. When multiple generations go on vacation together, what can begin with the promise of the perfect holiday can quickly head downhill as disagreements and resentments pile up.

Vacation time is precious, so if you’re sharing it with your kids or grandkids, you’ll want to avoid the usual pitfalls.


Luckily, nextavenue.org offers six valuable tips:


  1. Create an itinerary. There’s no need to stick to a rigid schedule—after all, you’re on vacation—but drawing up a “to do” list gives everyone a sense of purpose.
  2. Not everyone needs to be joined at the hip. Quality time together is important, but you’ll value this more if you devote at least a portion of the day to pursuing your own interests. Let the sun bathers catch some rays and the history buffs check out those medieval churches.
  3. Be generous with space. No doubt about it: vacations can be expensive, especially with an extended family in tow. But paying a bit more for extra space can be worth the extra costs. Vacationing on top of one another isn’t much of a vacation at all. So whether you’re in a hotel or a tent, upsize to ensure comfort for all.
  4. Make yourself scarce. Sure, it’s a family vacation but everyone needs a little down time. Take a solitary stroll or bury yourself in a book—quiet time can be just as important for adults as it is for children.
  5. Don’t nag – Airplane staff make you switch off all electronic devices and let’s face it: it’s tempting to extend that ban for the duration of the trip—but kids will be kids, and it’s their vacation too. Nagging them to switch off their cell phones all the time can be a downer.
  6. Be flexible. Structure is good—but don’t forget, vacation is time for your family to cut loose a little. Following a strict schedule can defeat the purpose of vacation.


Source: “6 Ways To Make a Multigenerational Vacation Fun,” nextavenue.org, July 2014


Have you ever gone on a trip with the whole (extended) family? What tips do you have for keeping things fun?