Travel & Destinations

A Recipe for a Happy, Successful Family Vacation

Now that many Covid travel restrictions have been lifted, we can now enjoy the company of family and friends once again.

According to Kristy Mosolino, owner of Wishes Travel, families are clamoring to book multi-generational vacations to spend some fun, long-missed quality time together.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that acting on that long dreamed-of vacation certainly tops the “someday we’ll do it” concept.

Though traveling with family sounds like a lovely idea, the reality is when you bring together a group whose ages may range from toddlers to great-grandparents, there are factors at play that can make for a stressful trip.

This can be avoided by planning ahead!

Good Planning

The key elements of a successful trip is planning. It’s important to decide where to go, where to stay, and what activities all family members will enjoy.

Our multi-gen family vacation to Disney’s Aulani on the island of Oahu was wonderful for everyone because we’d considered all these factors in advance.

Choosing a good leader is important. You should have one person that’s a focal point for questions regarding the trip. The leader may also delegate aspects of the planning to other family members regarding dining and tours.

For example, if you want a family photoshoot to capture your time together (and it’s wise to do this), reserve a photographer in advance and decide on the setting and the attire. When planned well, this can end up being fun for everyone!

Good Communication

This is one of the most important aspects of a happy family vacation. Each member’s needs and wishes should be considered as much as possible—from youngest to oldest. When open communication is maintained, you can find a happy-medium for everyone.

Keep in mind families don’t have to do everything together. The kiddos and young adults may desire more adventure, while Grandma may be happiest visiting a pineapple farm or hanging out by the pool. But plan to fit in activities encompassing everyone. If you’re in Hawaii, for example, consider enjoying a luau together.

Allow for Flexibility

Like life, a vacation isn’t always perfect. The weather may thwart plans for a sunset sail, or someone may feel too tired to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

It’s important to prevent expectations from dominating the trip. Alternative plans can save the day.

On one Florida family trip, it poured rain all afternoon. We ordered a pizza and played board games while watching the storm. It turned out to be quite memorable!

Kayaking on the Bay Ec
Kayaking in the Bay

Give Each Other Space

Many family vacations include a home rental where members all stay together in the same place. While togetherness is great, it’s important to build in personal time.

Some members need a bit more alone time, while social butterflies may love the constant companionship. Each person has a unique personality and needs. Giving one another some space is much better than misunderstandings or disappointments.

Italian novelist Cesare Pavese once said, “We do not remember days; we remember moments.”

A happy, successful multi-generational family trip can be just that—a fabulous, unforgettable collection of beautiful moments.


Noreen Kompanik

Noreen Kompanik is a freelance journalist, associate editor, and speaker from San Diego. A retired registered nurse, she now travels the world and writes about her adventures. Her stories have appeared in TravelPulse, Edible San Diego Magazine, Europe Up Close, International Living and more.

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