Planning a vacation for just your immediate family can be overwhelming, let alone throwing in grandparents and other extended family members. We have done many multigenerational trips due to the benefits for our whole family. Grandparents get to have new experiences with their grandkids, and grandchildren get memories that they will always remember. We have many fantastic multigenerational trips, but there are some drawbacks that, if not prepared for, can put a huge damper on the whole trip.
We recently went on a trip with my parents and our two children. We chose Long Beach as the perfect summer destination for our kids that love the ocean, and grandparents that prefer a little more relaxation. Below you will find our family’s five best tips to make your multigenerational trip go smoothly and be an experience your whole family will always cherish; also how Long Beach added to this fantastic vacation! It might seem like a lot more work, but it is well worth it!
Tip #1 – Don’t over plan
The worst thing you can do for any vacation is over plan and cram too many activities into one vacation. This is only magnified when you add more people to the mix. It’s great to have plenty of fun things to do, just make sure you don’t plan too many activities in one day. I would highly recommend only one activity per day, and nothing too time intensive or grueling.
Also keep in mind, not all grandparents are created equally, plan only for what can be realistically done. Our kids have one set of grandparents in their seventies, and the other set is much younger. When we plan multigenerational trips, we have to take into account that the trip will be very different depending on which set of grandparents we take. For this trip to Long Beach, we were able to do quite a few activities, but we still left plenty of time for relaxation and down time. (Which leads us to tip #2)
Tip #2 – Plan plenty of down time and separation
(Even kids like to just sit back and chill!)
While the plan is to take a great vacation with each other and spend lots of time together, it may be necessary to go your separate ways for a meal here and there or an activity that might not be a great fit for everyone. One night, my parents felt like Mexican food, and we felt like checking out Parker’s Lighthouse Restaurant. It’s perfectly fine to not always agree on the same place to eat, and it can even be a bonus as you can let each other know how each of the restaurants were and if it’s something you should check out.
We loved Parker’s Lighthouse in Long Beach! It not only gives you an amazing view of the water, but they have a great menu with fresh dishes from both the land and sea. Definitely a must try when in Long Beach! Tequila Jack’s is also a must try in Long Beach; it gives you stunning views of the water and has traditional Mexican cooking you will love!
Both restaurants can be found at Shoreline Village, along with shops and other fantastic food options. Make sure you are prepared for the reality that everyone has their own travel style, you may not always mesh well, and you will need to plan different activities that work for everyone. Being separate at times during your multigenerational trip just leaves you open for even more experiences and places to see!
Tip #3 – Make sure to include all parties in the planning
Nothing makes you feel more excluded or like it’s not really your vacation when you aren’t included in the planning stages. While some may only want to have a say in a few activities, others may want to be included from start to finish. Make sure to include everyone in the planning to make it the best trip for everyone involved. Before heading to Long Beach, we made sure to ask my parents what they would like to see and do.
My mom really wanted to see the Queen Mary, so we made sure to have it included in our itinerary. We also knew they would appreciate time to just stroll around beautiful Long Beach and soak it all in. Long Beach has many wonderful walking paths along the water, and you definitely can’t miss out on taking a few strolls. We made sure to include my parent’s requests in our trip planning to make them feel like it was their vacation as well, not just ours.
(The views of Long Beach from the Queen Mary are spectacular!)
Our kids are old enough that we even try to include them in the planning, which really amps up their excitement for the trip, and make it even better. Also, including all groups in the planning helps to establish budgets and what activities can and can’t be done based on everyone’s budget/activity level. Making sure to do this will secure that there is no confusion on the itinerary, and no hurt feelings during or after your trip.
(Our daughter really wanted to do a boat ride, and this lucky girl got what she wanted! Seeing dolphins while on the Harbor Breeze Cruise was icing on the cake!)
Tip #4 – Make sure the accommodations are a good fit for everyone
Nothing puts more of a damper on a vacation than disappointing accommodations. Make sure the accommodations are a good fit for everyone. While a small cozy space may be comfortable for you, it may not be what the grandparents would feel comfortable with. Trip time also has a huge aspect on what your accommodations should be. If your trip is longer than a few days, you might need some more space.
(Hotel Maya even has S'more kits!!)
We did four nights at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach and found that having a suite and an attached room with two queen beds worked out best. The suite gave us a common space that we could eat and hang out in, and then at the end of the night we could retire to our own rooms. This gave us the freedom of having separate rooms and still the connectivity of having a shared space. Figure out what works for your group, and make sure everyone is satisfied with the accommodations.
Tip #5 – Don’t forget to capture those memories!
A multigenerational trip might be something your family does every year or it could be a rare special occurrence, either way make sure to capture all those memories! Pictures from a multigenerational trip will be priceless, and you will want to cherish them forever. Also be sure to share pictures that may have been taken by different cameras, so you have all the different angles of your trip!
On our multigenerational trip to Long Beach, my parents took their grandkids to the Aquarium of the Pacific and we definitely wanted to make sure we got those fun pics! Even for activities we all did together, like The Queen Mary, it was great to see their view of it and to share our photos with them. With multiple people taking photos, someone is bound to capture something you may not have even noticed.
Our Long Beach Multigenerational trip was beneficial for everyone involved, my parents had wonderful experiences with their grandkids that they never would have had back at home. It gave them an amazing opportunity to connect with their grandkids on a larger scale than they would get on a typical visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Our children will always have the memories of our Long Beach trip and the new memories they made with Grandma and Grandpa while there. We travel a lot, and it’s a really amazing for them be able to share new places and experiences with their grandparents.
It now is not only the cool trip to Long Beach, but now the cool trip to Long Beach with Grandma and Grandpa, which is even more priceless. I highly recommend sitting down this year and planning a multigenerational trip for you and your family!
Having this shared experience will make memories that will last forever and bring you even closer as a family. While it may not be an easy feat, these tips should help make it as smooth of a process as possible and make it a trip to remember!
We received hosting to facilitate our Multigenerational trip, all opinions and information are my own.