Those experiences can run the gamut from camping in a national park to touring another country. No matter what the destination, traveling with a multigenerational group is an exercise in logistics — and economics. As you plan your next big family trip after such a long pause, here are four questions that can help give you and the people you love the most rewarding experience at the most reasonable cost.
Where are we going and what will we experience?
“Be sure your plans are appropriate for everyone who’s coming along,” advises Kyle McCarthy, editor of Family Travel Forum (myfamilytravels.com). “Remind them that travel today means more uncertainty and more responsibility for your own health.” As you work with your family to outline your trip, respect everyone’s needs and tastes, and in cases where there are differing opinions, try to reach compromises. Consider coming up with several trip options. Then solicit input from everyone coming along — including the kids, she suggests.
Options like all-inclusive resorts offer a variety of activities and dining choices — and often child care — at a fixed price. If you prefer a less structured vacation, look for ways to incorporate activities for all ages. Ask friends for suggestions or consult a travel advisor who specializes in multigenerational family vacations.
How can I manage costs?
The first rule of keeping travel costs in line is to set a budget based on what you can realistically expect to pay for the places you want to go. As anyone who travels knows, the price range for a single destination can vary widely based on how you want to travel. Popular family destinations such as Orlando can run approximately $100 per person per day for a seven-day vacation at select Disney All-Star Resorts, rising to $1,000 per day (depending on the size of your group) for a VIP experience led by a private guide. Similarly, for a South African safari, you can expect to pay, after airfare, from around $300 per person per day for a three-star safari lodge to $1,200 per person per day for a five-star experience.
In setting a budget for your trip, bear in mind that there are ways to avoid overspending. “First, determine your destination and create a list of what’s important for you to do there,” suggests Brian Shambo, a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management advisor who speaks with many of his clients about their travel plans. “Then weigh your travel options and cut back on the less important things.” One tip for keeping costs down is to look for alternatives to hotels and for nontraditional means of transportation. “For example, home-sharing apps might help reduce costs that would otherwise be spent on a hotel room. Also, using a ride-sharing service may cost significantly less than renting a car. The digital age makes customizing a trip to fit specific needs easier than ever before,” he says.