Reflections on summer travel and fun – multigenerational style

When Friday came around, I was absolutely thrilled!

Hubby was back from work travel, my daughter was heading to a sleepover, my mother-in-law was going for a night on the town, I had a dinner date with a great girlfriend, and I was actually looking forward to tackling my mega home-chore list.

(Oh, the little guy was hanging out with hubby on Friday – boys’ night!)

When Saturday morning came around, it was raining a bit and overcast. Forget about that mega home-chore list. It was time for some scrapbooking.

I love taking pictures. I enjoy sorting and categorizing them. I especially love putting the pictures in a scrapbook and retelling a story and reliving those fun moments. (This is a common interest my mother-in-law and I share.) And that’s how Saturday and today went as I scrapbooked.

Here is a glimpse into some of the summer memories of our multigenerational vacation time.


When it comes to vacation and leisure time, hubby and I are very selective, protective, and selfish about it. We make it a priority for the four of us to have enough of our own nuclear family time. That means sometimes my mother-in-law is on vacation with us, and many times she is not. Is this a touchy subject? I’m not really sure.

Hubby and I have always been clear that vacation time and time-off spent with extended family is not at all the same. We have had many conversations with our other parent-friends who ask, “How do you get away with not using your vacation time with extended family?”

We’re not getting away with much, but we are definitely good at setting proper boundaries. In the case of my mother-in-law, she needs a break from us and vice versa. She also has two other married children (my hubby’s siblings) and four other grandchildren. She needs (and likes) to spend time with them. And of course she needs her own time to vacation and to do what she chooses.

As an only child, vacation time can get a bit tricky. My parents want to see me and their only two grandchildren as much as possible. I love it, but at the same time, I am challenged by some of the vacation time demands. My mother loves to travel, and my stepdad…well, not so much. We’ve found that shorter visits or three-to-four day multigenerational trips with my parents work the best.

When hubby and I are really trying to maximize the multigenerational vacation experience, we’ll take my mom and my mother-in-law with us, at the same time. Yup, we’ve done it and we’ve all lived to tell about it. I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but there are tense moments and very sweet moments. That’s how it is with family.

In case you haven’t heard, multigenerational travel is definitely on the rise. Families are living all over the world and want to stay connected to their loved-ones. Time is very precious and everyone is trying to squeeze in as much face-time as possible.

  • In 1997 – More than 5.5% of American households are headed by grandparents. Roper Starch Worldwide, 1999
  • In 1998 – More than 34% of all US travelers travel to attend a family reunion.  Telenation, 2000
  • In 1999 – More than 21% of all family trips involve grandparents.
  • 16% of travel by grandparents includes grandchildren. Roper Starch Worldwide, 1999
  • In 2000 – More than 33% of the US population over 50 will control 70% of America’s wealth.
  • In 2005 – More than 35% of American grandparents take at least one or more trips with grandchildren.YPB&R National Leisure Travel Monitor, 2005
  • By 2009 – The U.S. Travel Association estimates that 30% of all U.S. leisure travelers have taken at least one vacation with their grandchildren at some point in their lives.  U.S.T.A

-Family Travel Forum

I agree with David Handelman,

The potential rewards of multigenerational vacations are many. So are the challenges. The goal is to overcome the obstacles so everyone can enjoy the benefits: Kids get more attention than usual and the chance to enjoy relatives in a less formal setting than a family function. For parents, the trip can provide a respite from 24/7 child rearing, earn them brownie points with their own parents, and maybe even create some husband-wife cuddle time.

Our last *big multigenerational trip was in 2008 when we went to Paris. Uhm yeah, that was some years ago.

I think it’s time for us to plan another trip like that.

Have you done any multigenerational travel? Tell us about it.

*Big = Both grandmas were traveling with us


3 Responses to Reflections on summer travel and fun – multigenerational style

  1. Your blog is just wonderful. Reading about family vacation brings smile on my face as I know how memorable an experience it is. (It reminds me of vacations with my kids).

  2. Hi Margot! Your site looks great! Where do you find the time, my friend?? Mom; career-woman; daughter; wife; friend; blogger; etc., etc., etc.! Is there anything you don’t do?

    O.K, I admit, the Biscuit Bag got me here! I do love those bags and I’ve been lamenting the loss of the one I had my eye on at your party a couple of years ago (someone else snatched it out from underneath me! Well, if truth be told, she did have it first, but it belonged to me in my heart!). So since 9/25 (the drawing date) is my birthday I think it is cosmic justice for my name to be drawn!

    Keep blogging my friend!

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