Tag Archives: multigenerational travel

Traveling with aging parents

I don’t know if this is the case in your local grocery store, but often a sales rep from the local newspaper company has an elaborate set-up right by the shopping carts. As you explain to your youngest how much you hate pushing the car shopping cart with Disney TV playing inside, he still insists it’s his favorite and he must ride in it. And when you gasp in defeat, yield to the marketing and hard to push talking car shopping cart, the sales rep ask you, with the requirement amount of peppiness,

“Would you like a free paper?”

What I want to say:

Hell no! No, thank you. I’ll pass. Uhm, didn’t you just see this tough negotiation I had to endure and just lost?

My real and honest response is:

No, thank you. We already take the paper. Yes, both of those. Yes, on all seven days. You have a great day too.

So yes, we do take a hard copy of the paper. Why? Because my mother-in-law loves it.

My mother-in-law does the Sudoku every morning while my daughter reads the comics and laughs from her gut with her grandmother. My mother-in-law will also highlight any good horoscopes; circle the funny and drama ridden Dear Abby exchanges; set aside the coupons I want to clip; and pull out articles I may be interested in reading. Most of the newsworthy items are focused on schools and education, but many times she’ll find a good recipe I may want to try, or something related to multigenerational families.

Last week I came down to the kitchen and on the table, my mother-in-law had left out an article, from The Denver Post, about traveling with elderly parents. (So is “elderly” an okay word, but “senior” still a bad word? OK, that’s a different post.)

It made me smile to know my mother-in-law had thought of me and knew I was wrapping up it’s a full nest’s celebration of multigenerational travel.

Thomas Huang’s article, Travel with elderly parents a blessing and a challenge,  was poignant and sweet as he provided an honest account on what it meant, now, to travel with his parents as they were slowing down. His gentle approach to spending quality time with his aging parents and honoring their strengths and limitations clearly spoke to the silent passing of the caregiver baton – when adult children have to step-up to take on the nurturer role the aging parents once held.

I appreciated the clarity with which Huang outlined the challenges that cannot be ignored or pushed aside when traveling with elderly parents.

  • As parents age, they are not able to travel as much, nor able to do that much during the travel.
  • Health issues have to be taken into consideration.
  • Dietary needs have to be addressed, which may make dining less exciting, and more tricky.
  • Aging parents may not be as forthcoming with their needs, so be ready to negotiate, a lot.

Huang also speaks eloquently to the many joys of multigenerational travel.

  • An adult child and his/her parents can rebuild or strengthen their relationship.
  • Multigenerational travel provides a chance to enjoy the journey of a trip.
  • Having things well planned out is critical.
  • There will be many opportunities to practice flexibility.
  • You will be able to nap more during the trip.

The biggest takeaway, for me, while reading Huang’s reflections was,

“Expect the unexpected, and when the unexpected happens, roll with it.”

Multigenerational travel and living are for sure that way and I’m reminded, constantly, to stay mindful and enjoy the ride.



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Sudoku, Family, Hands

St. George Island – an annual multigenerational gathering {Guest Post}

By Monica Manning Miller and Caroline Manning Miller

This guest post is dedicated to Mrs. Pat Manning of Leesburg, Georgia in honor of her 70th birthday. Mrs. Manning is Monica’s mother and Caroline’s grandmother.

For the past 16 years our three generation family of 13 (2 parents in their 70′s, 3 daughters, 3 sons-in-laws and 5 beautiful granddaughters ages 10-23) have vacationed together. We spend one week together a few hours from my parent’s home in South Georgia on St. George Island off the Florida Gulf Coast.

Caroline in pink

St. George Island is very beautiful with development kept very low to protect the environment. One old motel, a B&B, and rental houses are the lodging choices. There is a grocery the size of a 7/11, a few t-shirt/bait stores, and a handful of very casual seafood restaurants. Everything is very mom and pop. Don’t go looking for a Starbucks, McDonalds, boutique, golf course, movie theater or cabana boy – not here. You come here to decompress, escape and be with the ones you love. It is casual R&R at its very, very best.

Over the past 1.5 decades, we have perfected the art of 13 people in one house, but everyone does need a little space. We have rented the perfect house for 12 years now. It has:

  • 6 master bedroom
  • two additional baths
  • two laundry rooms
  • a kitchen with two dishwashers and two ovens
  • three media rooms (2 of which we never use)
  • multiple decks and porches round out the creature comforts

Monica in the center

Our days are very freestyle. Some are up early for the best shelling and fishing while some wake up in time for a tomato sandwich at lunch. Usually by mid-day everyone has convened at the beach. Afternoons are spent talking by the water’s edge or reading on a shady porch.

We all take turns cooking fresh seafood dinners. The emails fly in the weeks before we leave discussing menus and adding to the grocery list. We do the majority of the shopping before we leave my parents. We pick up fresh seafood, bread and ice cream at the market on the island.

The five granddaughters have a daily chore list including taking turns emptying the dishwashers, trashcans, and sweeping the kitchen and stairs. They are also in charge of clean up after dinner.

After dinner is when the fun goes to a new level. It is time for cards, dominoes, stories, teasing and outrageous laughter. The competition can become quite ferocious.

Our lazy, crazy, happy, joyful days of the beach week fly by. Before we leave, we pull out a calendar to choose a week for the next summer. My husband lovingly calls this our fam”damn”ily beach vacation, but it truly is the best week of the year every year.

This is a dessert we make at least once during the week. It is very yummy and easy for kids to help make. Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream.

Fruit Cobbler

  • 2 sticks melted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups fruit (blackberries or cut up peaches are our favorites)

Spray 9×13 pan with Pam.  Put fruit in bottom of pan. Whisk remaining 5 ingredients and pour over fruit. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 45 minutes.
Check center of dough to make sure it is done. Sometimes if fruit is very juicy it may take an extra few minutes.



About the authors

Caroline is a 23 year old graduate of Vassar College with a degree in Neuroscience and has been accepted to the Master’s program in Biomedical Science at Regis University. She is currently employed at National Jewish Health in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

Monica is the very proud mother to Caroline, a retired caterer, and current trophy wife of 27 years to her loving husband, Dave.


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Multigenerational vacation in Italy {guest post}

by Andrea Salvo

In our family, we are not strangers to multigenerational travel, and certainly not strangers to Italy. However, our trip in the summer of 2007 was unique to me in that I hadn’t been to Italy with my grandfather and had never been to the town in which he was born.

The trip started out with a bang, our flight to Philadelphia was canceled, which meant we would not be making our connection to Rome, and would need to reroute13 people  to Italy in the middle of July, not an easy task. With 6 people working simultaneously we all ended up in a limousine to Toronto, to catch a plane on a different airline, our bags following in their own bus behind.

Once we actually arrived, luckily no-one was left in Rome as was threatened by the airline, the adventures began! We piled into two large white vans, ours was dubbed “The Magic Bus” and we navigated these beasts through the narrow streets of Reggio Calabria, in the southernmost part of Italy.

By the time we arrived at our home away from home, Sayonara, I was surprised we were all still talking. Whatever stress we had was forgotten as we approached our destination and my broken English speaking grandmother stated, “There it is, I told you, go straight, straight then turn around.” Thank goodness for her navigation skills!

We visited with our cousins and great aunt who still live in San Ferdinando. We met old neighbors and extended family. For the most part we remained a large group which meant considerable dinner tables. The dinner crowd grew to massive proportions when our Italian family members joined. We had one evening of pizza, french fries (the Italian side dish to pizza), and salad with approximately 29 people at the table. It was a typical Italian scene.

On day five my Mother decided we needed an adventure. My sisters, cousin and parents loaded into the Magic Bus and we made our way to the breathtaking landscape of the Amalfi Coast. If you ever find yourself in Positano in the middle of July, and you stumble upon an old man selling homemade lemon ice from a cart, get some, and then go back for more.

The trip culminated in yet another road trip. This time I hopped into the bus with my grandmother, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, and three cousins. Our destination was Montadoro or mountain of gold, where we would spend three days celebrating the feast of St. Joseph. My maternal grandmother and my father were both born in Montadoro, so when we arrived, we were greeted by my father and his entire family.

We spent three days with my father’s family and my grandmother stayed with her family. On the night of the feast my grandmother had tears in her eyes as she walked in the procession, through the streets of her town, two generations in tow. She pointed out the house she grew up in and the balcony from where her grandfather was once assaulted by a woman’s dirty water, a story we heard often as kids.

On our way back to the main land, which included a six hour drive and one hour ferry ride, we made sure to stop at a gas station and get Panini. In Italy, the best Panini are sold in the gas stations. Add to that the most decadent snacks and exquisite coffee and you might begin to understand why I always look forward to an Italian road trip. My grandmother treated us to yet another of her famous one liners when she stated, “I feel like I was born and raised in this bus.” We quote all of her pearls of wisdom from that trip to this day.

Not only were we multigenerational we were multifamily. In total we had three generations and members from five different families intertwined at any given time. To be certain, I will never forget that trip. I may go back to Italy once a year, but Italy they way it was in 2007 will be a place I visit only in pictures and memories.


Andrea Salvo is a wife and mother who lives in Broomfield, Colorado. Andrea enjoys reading, cycling, dancing, cooking, and spending quality time with the ones she loves.  Andrea’s days are filled with taking care of her beautiful daughter and working as a School Counselor. She takes pride in mentoring young teenagers to find their purpose and talents and to live their best life.


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Paris vacation {multigenerational adventure}

In 2008, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Of course we wanted to do something special to celebrate – and so we did.

We took our then 10-month-old, 8-year-old, and our two moms to Paris.

Yup, we went on a multigenerational – 10th wedding anniversary – vacation. When I mentioned our plans to friends, they thought we were nuts. They were thinking, “Why would you take your kids AND both moms/grandmas on a romantic trip to Paris?”

Well, hubby and I were not nuts. We had a clear plan. We wanted our 8-year-old to see Paris because she had started learning French and she was fascinated with French baking. I was still nursing our 10-month-old and I really couldn’t leave him for 10 days to go to Paris.

So hey, we wanted to make it work to give our daughter another stamp on her passport, keep our youngest thriving, and to romance each other. How could we make sure we achieved all of that…take the moms along!

Hubby was fantastic and pretty much planned the entire trip. In December 2007, he purchased packing cubes for all of us and gave them as Christmas gifts. He researched Paris apartment rentals, found the best airfare, assembled a family-friendly Paris guide, and ordered t-shirts for all of us.

My mother-in-law and I took a travel French class together. I studied hard and my mother-in-law scoped out the cute men in class. (Yes, that is true and accurate.)

My mother flew to Colorado a few days before we left for Paris. She has the tendency to over pack, so it was a hilarious spectacle to watch my hubby coach my mom in her repacking efforts. It took them about two hours to complete this task. I really wish I had videotaped it.

When we arrived in Paris, super late and the night before Easter, my mom was the only one whose bags made it from Colorado (well actually O’Hare airport). We laughed about it and I had to use my French and Spanish to describe all our lost stuff. My mom was fairly impressed with my language skills and announced she was pleased with the amount of money she and my stepdad spent on my undergraduate education. (Yes, it was random – but again, we all laughed.)

On Easter Sunday, my monolingual hubby and mom went for a walk with the baby. I don’t know how they managed this but they met a Frenchman (that barely spoke English) who gave them some diapers for our baby – because our bags were still lost. This generous Frenchman took my hubby and my mom to his home and gave them the exact size and brand of diapers we used. It was magically amazing.

We did a lot of sightseeing and loved when the admissions personnel moved us to the front of long lines because we had the baby. We ate great food, watched people, took a gazillion pictures, and had a fabulous time. Most nights we ate dinner at the apartment, and then hubby and I would go out while the grandmothers watched the kiddos.

It was a fantastic multigenerational vacation. We can’t wait to go back to Paris.

Multigenerational travel does not have to be difficult or cumbersome. Be sure to check out our tips and resources that will make planning your next multigenerational vacation easy and fun.

Share some of your multigenerational travel trips or stories from your multigenerational travel. We’d love to hear from you.

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Eiffel Tower

Multigenerational travel & impromptu visit

A few weeks ago my aunt passed away from a long battle with cancer. She was a vibrant woman and  had a full life. She was only 47. Yes, she was taken too soon and we’re still in the mourning phase.

With that came the request from my mother to come visit us (she lives in Georgia). She needed and wanted to be close to her only child and only two grandchildren.

Of course my response was, yes.

This is an insanely busy time for me at work and I had a huge list of things I had planned to get done. No big deal, all of that could be postponed and reevaluated.

Usually when my mom visits (or when both my parents visit), there is a lot of long-term planning. This helps my multigenerational family get ready (as in – clean the house) and my mother-in-law can make her own travel arrangements if she wants to go on a granny-nanny vacation.

Hubby and my mother-in-law were surprised when I announced, at dinner, my mother would be arriving in about five days.

This wasn’t bad news, but it did make my hubby and mother-in-law wonder if I had been withholding travel and vacation plans.

My mother arrived on a Wednesday and did the granny-nanny hand-off with my mother-in-law. It was a tiny bit chaotic, but we all rolled with it.

The five days my mother spent with us were completely unstructured and hilariously fun.

We played and stayed close to home.

We made big messes and worried about clean-up later.

We stayed up too late and napped often.

We watched silly movies and listened to my mom make “sleep noises” (as my 3-year-old called them) during the movies.

We celebrated Easter with a sense of renewal, hope, and awakening.

We created beautiful and sincere multigenerational memories that made us stop and appreciate quality time together.

Now, we are in the countdown phase to when my parents (mom and stepdad) will return for a longer visit in July.

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Multigenerational Travel {round up #1}

Hey everybody!

I’ve been having a great time reading about multigenerational travel and finding great resources.

Here are some great resources you may want to check out:

Multi-Generational Travel

This quote pretty much sums up how I feel about multigenerational travel:

While we often don’t realize it at the time, the moments we spend with family – grandparents, parents, children and siblings are among the most cherished memories we have. And, when the whole clan gathers for a shared vacation those times become magical, forever engraved in the archives of your family story, to be recounted time and again with smiles and laughter. That’s the essence of multi-generational travel – the sharing of new experiences together that will grow in meaning and significance with time.

This site offers multigenerational travel ideas that are simple or exotic.  The trip that interested me the most was the Serengeti family safari. I’m thinking about calling a full nest family meeting – pronto – to see if I can get everyone on board with this trip. Hmm…

Multigenerational Vacation Ideas

This site is simple, to the point, and can help you generate ideas for planning your multigenerational vacation. The site outlines ways to plan low-key or extravagant multigenerational vacations.

One thought I’m having is this site could be used as the carrot to get other family members interested in having initial discussions about multigenerational travel.

Traveling with adult children: 6 tips for an unforgettable, stress-free trip

Janet Varn shares some excellent ideas on getting the conversation going when planning a multigenerational vacation. I love that she points out the need to keep communication clear and how to keep the trip focused on the interests of the various age groups.

Janet  highlights ways to minimize stress and to keep the focus on quality family time.

Invite Grandma: The Benefits of Multigenerational Travel

I love how to the point Heather K. Scott gets when she describes the challenges of working and being able to take quality vacations – without being too exhausted.

Heck yes, take the grandparents along. I’m totally down with that.

I love the idea of using travel sheets to plan a multigenerational vacation. Why spend time to figure out what family members want to do? Just ask them. These “cheat sheets” can be taken on the trip and fun can be had without messy miscommunication.

I had not considered hiring someone to plan a multigenerational vacation for me (I’m a mega list maker), but Heather shares resources for services that can do that for you. Fantastic!

Multigenerational Travel with a Twist

Eileen Ogintz does an excellent job sharing various travel adventures for multigenerational families. No one is too old or too young to have a great time and to try out something that may be considered “off the beaten path”.

The sweet story she shares about having a multigenerational vacation prior to her father passing away was touching.

The big takeaway for me was: Don’t wait! Make your multigenerational travel plans TODAY!

Share some of your multigenerational travel trips or stories from your multigenerational travel. We’d love to hear from you.

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