Why multi-generational travel is now a real thing

Think taking your kids AND parents along on holiday is a recipe for disaster? Think again.

It's time to explore the world with your whole family
  • Dilvin Yasa
  • April 2019

Picture a dreamy scene where you’re riding a horse along a secluded beach or sipping Champagne as you watch the sun set over a mountain. Out there, it’s just you, your partner, your kids and, oh yes, your parents.

For those of you still shuddering at the suggestion, it could be time to reconsider your position. Multi-generational travel – holidays where three or more generations of a family travel together – is gaining popularity. In 2018, 3G travel (get it, three-generation travel?) was declared one of the biggest trends in the Australian Virtuoso Luxe Report, which is put together by a network of travel experts.

Now, tourism operators including cruise lines, hotels and resorts, are reporting significant increases in the number of grandparents travelling both domestically and internationally with their adult children and grandchildren.

Cruises can be fun for family members of all ages.
Cruises can be fun for family members of all ages.

But what’s driving our desire to share our vacation time with more or less everyone we’re related to? The reason is both simple and heartening, says Michael Londregan, managing director of Virtuoso Asia Pacific. “Never before have our older generations been as fit, healthy and wealthy as they are today.” Natalie James, general manager for On The Go Tours opens in new window, adds that a return to family values lies at the core of the trend, but explains greater affordability of travel is also playing its part. “Families are now able to reach destinations that weren’t always accessible due to travel costs. With most of the travel arrangements sorted and activities and meals included, group tours make travelling as a family easier, more desirable and more affordable.”

Before you start eyeing up your folks with the same zeal you had when you were 16 and needed the keys to the family car, it’s worth considering what kind of holiday would suit your particular family dynamic. Cruises, for instance, are popular. Multi-room villas in tropical destinations (hello, Bali!) also rate highly with multi-gen groups but, interestingly, tour operators such as Intrepid Travel opens in new window and Trafalgar opens in new window now also offer a broad range of family tours specifically designed to cater for all generations.

Bali is a great destination for a multi-generational trip
Bali is a great destination for a multi-generational trip.

“Tours across Asia are particularly popular for our multi-generational groups because it’s an easy haul for both the little ones and the elderly,” says Dyan McKie, family travel guru for Intrepid Travel. “It’s also one of the more affordable options if you opt for somewhere like Vietnam.”

Of course, while the benefits of a multi-gen holiday are endless (quality bonding time, babysitting on tap, the aforementioned reduced costs), care will need to be taken to reduce the risk of tension. Choose a destination and holiday style that will appeal to all and make sure you set aside plenty of space for yourselves – physically and emotionally.

And for all those occasions when you do find yourself riding a horse along a secluded beach – just you, your partner, your kids and your parents – remember, you’re simply making memories for your kids to cherish for a lifetime. Isn’t that what holidays are all about?

Inspo for your multi-gen trip

1. Check out Club Med opens in new window across Asia – most of their all-inclusive resorts offer great kids clubs for all age groups.

2. Rent a multi-room villa in Bali, Fiji or around Australia. Great accommodation options can be found on Airbnb opens in new window or try Major Domo opens in new window for holiday home rentals in New Zealand.

3. Enjoy a family tour through Japan, Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia with Intrepid Travel or Peregrine opens in new window.