As much as travel is about having a great experience and living in the moment, it's also about creating memories. Why else would you take hundreds of snapshots and weigh your suitcases down with souvenirs to display and use at home? The memorable moments you share on the road stay with you for a lifetime, and that might be one of the reasons why intergenerational travel - including grandparents, parents and kids - is an increasingly popular choice among families.
With busy school, work and extracurricular activities, opportunities to spend quality time with extended family can be few and far between. But traveling together gives you the chance to not only enjoy each other's company, but to share unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, which can build even stronger bonds between generations.
With some smart planning, an intergenerational travel experience can be something for everyone to enjoy, and it can also be a great value. If it's something that your family might consider, think about these tips for planning the perfect trip:
* Choose a destination - or destinations. Get the whole family together to discuss where you'd like to go. If you want to add a little extra fun, ask everyone to bring a "pitch" to the table and talk about their dream destination. Keep in mind that European tours can cover a number of countries at a great value, so if one person wants to go to Italy and another is dreaming of France, you can find a fun, affordable compromise.
* Make sure that family is the focus. Not all vacations, whether you're looking for Europe tours or cruises, are suited to travelers of all ages. By seeking out tour operators that cater specifically to families and work to create itineraries for all ages, you'll ensure that everyone will be comfortable. Some companies, like Escape World Travel, have specialized selections for families who want to experience the joy of travel together.
* Consider a learning component. For adults and kids alike, travel can be an enriching experience. By incorporating informative outings and experiences, you can gain a richer understanding of the places you're visiting. If your children are learning about World War II in school, visiting some of the historic sites dotted across Europe can add a new dimension to what they learn in the classroom - and their grandparents might even be able to provide a more personalized perspective by sharing own experiences.
* Find free time. Even if you opt for an escorted tour, you don't necessarily need to spend all your time on a predetermined schedule. Some tours build in free time to do some self-guided exploring. This can be a real advantage for families, who might want to indulge children's interests in sights like toy museums, or active travelers who want to enjoy a bit of physical activity, like hiking in the mountains.
For both kids and adults, going abroad with family members can be the trip of a lifetime. By choosing a tour that is designed with families in mind, intergenerational travel is not only affordable, but enjoyable.