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We have done a few multi-generational holidays over the years so I thought it was about time I shared my top tips on how to plan them! The first one we did was with Mr B’s parents and mine, plus my kids, Caity’s then boyfriend (now husband) and my granny. A grand total of eleven of us in a holiday cottage in Cornwall one Christmas, it was so much fun but we definitely learned what you need to do (and not do) to make this sort of holiday work! We did a smaller one in Barbados in October last year with just the six of us, and my folks, which was a roaring success but probably because we had done our homework beforehand.
The destination has to be the first thing you think about when there are is a large group of you going away. Do you want to be by the coast, in the countryside, in the city centre. You also need to think about what there is to do during the day or evening to keep everybody amused and how easy it is to get to places. And how easily accessible things are if you have somebody in a mobility scooter for instance. When we went to Cornwall we were limited on what Mr B’s parents could do everyday as we were a little way out of the village and there was hardly any parking other than at our cottage. If we had hired a mobility scooter from Pro Rider Mobility for Jim he would have got much more out of the holiday. And loved nipping off to the
pub on his own for half an hour shop to get a newspaper. In order to get anywhere they had to get in the car and that was a bit of a struggle and something we should have really thought about a bit more.
It is well worth spending a far bit of time also researching further afield in an area to find out exactly what there is to do, and how much things cost. It is all well and good booking a holiday to the Peak District but if members of your family are less active they might prefer somewhere else. Or basing your holiday somewhere that has lots on offer if every time you go out it is going to cost a stack of money.
Make sure that the accommodation you book is going to be right for everybody. We had Mr B’s dad with us when we went to Cornwall and in hindsight the accommodation saying there were just “three steps” to one of the bedrooms was too much for him. We should have made sure the property had bedrooms on the ground floor. Ditto looking at the number of bathrooms. Eleven bedrooms is great but if there are only two bathrooms it might not work.
We once stayed in a property in France that slept 22 and whilst it had four bathrooms there were actually only two toilets. That is never going to work if there are 22 of you for a fortnight!
I would suggest that you think long and hard about whether you can actually get on with your extended family for a fortnight. When you are all away it is a long time and you might wish you had only gone for a week, or ten days. Don’t be afraid to be honest and only do a short break if it is the first time you have done something on this scale!
Set some ground rules
Nobody wants to feel they are on a school trip when they are in their sixties but at the same time nobody wants to feel that they are the one always emptying the dishwasher or making the coffee. We made sure we had a rota of who was going to be in charge each day. It was their job on that day to empty / reload the dishwasher to cook dinner and to grab logs for the open fire. That way on our ten day trip people only had to do something once and didn’t feel it was falling to the same people all the time.
Have a kitty
We all put money into a pot on the first night for the communal things like loo rolls and tea bags. Then when supplies ran out they were replenished from the kitty and nobody was left feeling they were contributing more than anybody else.
Don’t be afraid to do your own thing.
I think it is really important to feel you can say “actually no I don’t want to do that today, but you go”. There were lots of instances where people wanted to do things that others weren’t so keen on and we wanted to ensure that nobody felt they were being dragged out to a cultural attraction that they didn’t really fancy.
This is, after all, your holiday and if that means that you spend your time lying on the sofa reading a book whilst the others hit the local sights, that is just fine!
Image of multi generational family courtesy of Shutterstock