Multi-Gen Travel Tips

We believe there’s something special about the way generational mingling can fuel a great vacation. A kind of synergy happens when a multi-gen tribe gets together to play that makes the experience exhilarating and interesting—if you adhere to some basic guidelines that allow people of different ages to enjoy each others’ company.Friends-Silhouettes


1. Don’t judge. Young people and even some folks further along on the timeline are often glued to their devices. If this bothers you, ask them nicely to unplug during certain times so that you can enjoy face-to-face conversation. Don’t reprimand them, or go on a tirade about the evils of technology. Similarly, if you’re a 20-something or 30-something who gnashes your teeth hearing repeated stories from “the good old days,” kindly steer the conversation to the present instead of sneering (or turning to your device). It’s always about being respectful and considerate.

2. Find common ground. There are plenty of opportunities for multi-gen getaways that appeal to everyone in your group—if you’re considerate of generational differences. Retirees often prefer long vacations, but younger people who work full time typically can’t afford a two or three-week holiday—or may not want to. Older folks should be open to the charms of a short getaway—it can allow you to make the most your family time together, minus the tension that can accompany a lengthier visit. Or maybe you’re an athletic millennial into extreme sports with a dream of hiking Kilimanjaro. Be sure to assess the fitness levels of your older travel companions before trying to persuade them to join you. You get the the picture—every multi-gen vacation is not going to fulfill your own personal bucket list. Instead, identify common interests and research travel opportunities that will appeal to all.

3. Do Different Things. It’s okay to spend some time apart while you are on a multi-gen holiday—in fact, we recommend it. You’ll find me sipping hot chocolate by the fire or having a hot stone spa treatment while my young skier friends spend an afternoon on the slopes. When the golfers are enjoying their 18 holes, I’ll be swimming or hiking. Buenos Aires Tango photoAnother example: during a tour of Buenos Aires, we boomers retired around midnight after a Tango show while the “kids” in their 20s and 30’s went out to enjoy the city’s robust nightlife until early morning. Then they shared their stories over breakfast and we all had good energy to explore this fabulous city.

4. Respect Boundaries. it’s important for everyone in a multi-gen group to give each other personal space—regardless if you changed your kid’s diapers in earlier years. If you’re sharing a hotel room or a ship stateroom with a platonic multi-gen companion, be sure to ask for double beds and check out the room’s square footage to ensure that it’s spacious enough for your comfort level. Better yet, if you can afford it, get a suite or two separate rooms.

5. Have Fun. Remember that you’re on holiday! Leave the stress at home. If you follow the four easy travel tips above, you’ll be primed to enjoy the companionship of your multi-gen tribe and have a great time.

About Regina Baraban

Regina Baraban is a veteran magazine editor and the author of Successful Restaurant Design (John Wiley & Sons, Third Edition, 2010). She was the founding editor of Hospitality Design magazine; “Best Dressed Restaurants” columnist for Metropolis magazine; and editor of Financial & Insurance Meetings magazine. She writes frequently about travel, design, and the arts and is content editor at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She lives in Newmarket, New Hampshire with a basic black wardrobe of no-iron travel clothes and too many shoes.