In April 2019, 4 generations of the Robinson family and friends (23 in total) travelled from different parts of Canada to congregate in Cancun, Mexico to celebrate the 90th birthday of the family patriarch. Not only was it nice to see everyone again and celebrate a family reunion, but everyone was able to enjoy the activities that they wanted to do while still spending time together.
This is how the family followed the 8 tips for a great extended family vacation:
- Everyone was involved in the planning – even though the family live in Ontario, Manitoba and different parts of BC they were able to communicate via Facebook, SKYPE, group chats and texts so that all could be involved in the planning.
- Assign one person to be the coordinator – as one of the family members was a travel agent, she took on the role of vacation coordinator. She was able to coordinate flights and accommodations at an all-inclusive in Cancun and find the best prices available. If you don’t have a travel agent in your family, your local Expedia office will be glad to help you out.
- Talk over accommodations – the coordinator was able to make room assignments for the group based on age and interest (eg: who likes to stay up late).
- Make activities optional – everyone came together at night for the evening meal and to watch the entertainment. During the day, the “younger” members of the group planned excursions outside of the all-inclusive property, while the “older” members were able to do some beach-combing or pool-side snoozing. There were also many activities to participate in for all ages at the all-inclusive resort.
- Have a chat about money upfront – everyone was responsible for paying for their own accommodations, and all kicked in to provide a free holiday for the birthday “boy”. Again, the travel agent was able to coordinate this for everyone using their credit cards. All-inclusives are easy as you are paying for everything (airfare, accommodations, meals) upfront.
- Remember, grandparents aren’t built-in babysitters – as the youngest member of the group was 7, this wasn’t such an issue. Grandparents did offer to baby-sit on a number of occasions, but there were many of them to go around.
- Plan out meals in advance – at an all-inclusive finding, something to eat wasn’t something that needed to be planned. There’s was always food available. However, everyone was able to work on their own breakfast and lunch schedule, and came together for dinner.
- Don’t overschedule – at an all-inclusive there’s always something going on, so it’s easy to “overschedule”. Activities were planned for us, and we were able to participate in those we chose. We didn’t have any trouble finding time to relax beside (or in) the pool.
Our family are “singers” so we spent some time having sing songs during our stay. We made the vacation fun by having T-shirts made up with the slogan “90 years young” and the face of the birthday “boy” on it. Everywhere we went people recognized us. We had fun times together in the pool and in the ocean, as well as reminiscing at dinnertimes about family occasions in the past. The travel agent had planned a resort scavenger hunt for everyone, which proved to be lots of fun.
The nice thing about going on a multi-generational vacation is that you have people to engage in activities with, you can build more family memories and experience new adventures together, and travelling as a group can be safer and cost-efficient.