THE SANDWICH GENERATION
Multi-generation vacations -- especially those with grandparents and grandchildren -- can be super fun and bonding of the generations.
School is almost over for the year! Everyone is talking about what to do in the summer. Many families are planning multi-generation vacations. Not the traditional nuclear family, parents and children, vacation, but grandparents and grandchildren. Or even three generations can spend time together Grandparents today are younger and more active than ever before. And teenagers -- and even younger children - need to be exposed to and partake in new activities.
The variety of possibilities is limitless. Outdoor sports, environmental activities such as hiking, rafting, boating and fishing, cultural programs such as concerts or plays, artworks in galleries, historical sites or just lazing around on the beach.
1. Make a list of activities that both generations enjoy.
2. Identify and research locations and also organized programs that offer a variety of activities
3. Decide whether an organized program or trip is preferred over a self-planned vacation. For self planned vacations, where two grandparents and several grandchildren are involved, time can be spent together and other times can be split up.
Identify age specific activities and split up adult supervision and participation. Then when everyone gets together, e.g. for dinner every night, the sharing of the day’s fun can increase bonding.
Make sure everyone is flexible in likes and dislikes, especially in relation to food. Also the willingness to try to activities. If anyone in any generation is rigid in likes or dislikes, disagreements may reduce the fun.
Whether the vacation is in the USA or overseas, everyone should know everyone’s medical condition, medicines, and emergency telephone numbers. Also if there are any food or insect allergies. Take enough medicine plus a couple of days worth in case of travel delays. And for out of the way places tissues, soap , toothpaste and shampoo might be taken. For some places, especially those involving outdoor activities, extra towels might be appropriate.
If traveling overseas, make sure everyone knows how to contact the U.S, Embassy or consulate if there is a problem. If no U.S. agency, try British, Canadian or even French authorities.
And in traveling to remote areas or underdeveloped countries, take well worn jeans and comfortable shoes. Clothing layers are also important where there is a wide range of day and evening temperatures.
Overseas travel often means credit cards are used. Make sure which cards are accepted in the country traveled in and which countries require special certification.
There are also many organizations and travel companies that have multi-generation programs, sometimes call intergeneration. Most of such programs are age specific for the children. They are marvelous because activities and food planning are done for the participants. Grandparents don’t have to worry that their grandchildren will be bored.
As with all good things, there is a caveat. Because many such programs are very age specific, if there are several grandchildren and there is an age gap of more than one or two years, one age spectrum may become bored.