Making Multi-Generation Gatherings Work

Eileen
Posted by Eileen on March 6, 2011

Forget about cooking for the family much less washing piles of dishes. Skip sleeping on the lumpy sofa bed in your sister-in-law's family room. Give up trying to entertain a bunch of squabbling, impossible-to-please kids.

screen-shot-2011-03-05-at-10-18 (screen-shot-2011-03-05-at-10-18)

There’s a better way to get together with the family:  Get together on vacation at a snow resort. Growing numbers of families are doing it on cruise ships and at theme parks, in big cities and resort towns, at camp grounds and all-inclusive resorts and especially at snow resorts. They’re gathering for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break—whenever the gang can get together to celebrate a special birthday, anniversary or just being family.
 
We’re not talking huge reunions, but rather an average of seven people who want to spend time together and don't want to be responsible for housing, feeding and entertaining the bunch. It’s as much about sharing the experience as about where you go. Here’s how to make it work:

  • EVERYONE ON BOARD with the idea, where you want to go and how much it will cost.
  • PLAN AHEAD months, if not a year in advance, so that there are as few conflicts as possible with school, camp and work schedules. You’ll also get the best deals when you book early.
  • DESIGNATE one member of the family to be the organizer-in-chief, dealing with airlines, hotels, resorts and cruise lines. They can negotiate group discounts.
  • FUN FOR EVERYBODY is the motto. Plan to meet someplace that will offer activities for each member of the gang, whether they’re two, 12 or 82. This might be aboard a mega cruise ship (www.cruising.org), a YMCA camp (try www.ymcarockies.org) or Orlando (www.orlandoinfo.com)
  • GET WIRED to make planning and communicating easier. Trading information online is the quickest and most efficient way to organize a trip like this.
  • ENOUGH BATHROOMS are essential as is room to spread out and even get away from the gang. This is not the trip to skimp on space, especially for grandma and grandpa. Make sure there are enough cabins, hotel rooms or condos so that everyone is comfortable.
  • DON’T EXPECT grandma and grandpa to spend the whole trip babysitting. They want to have fun too!
  • PLAN WITH THE KIDS  in mind, whether booking a sitter so the adults can share some time together, meeting at a resort with organized children’s activities, or picking a place that holds some appeal to the teens.
  • NO ONE OTHER THAN PARENTS  should discipline the kids. The happier the kids, the more successful the trip.
  • BE CLEAR who is paying for what. Make sure the cost is acceptable to everyone. Consider a place where different priced accommodations are available to satisfy everyone’s budget.  You don’t want any big surprises at the end of the trip or arguments over the dinner check.
  • COMPROMISE COUNTS when the whole family is together. Maybe you’d rather stay in fancier digs. Maybe you’d rather camp. Maybe you’d rather tour Paris than take a cruise. This isn’t your once-in-a-lifetime trip. It’s a celebration of family.
  • LIGHTEN UP and don’t snipe about careers, child rearing or anyone’s weight.  
  • FOCUS  on what you love about each other.
 
 
 

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