Dear Savvy Senior,
My husband and I are interested in taking our two grandkids on vacation this summer and are looking for some good ideas. Do you know of any travel companies that offer special vacation packages for grandparents traveling with their grandkids? —Unsavvy Traveler
Taking the grandkids on vacation is what the travel industry calls intergenerational travel, and it’s become increasingly popular in recent years. Here’s what you should know.
According to the Yankelovich Partners National Leisure Travel Monitor, nearly 30 percent of traveling grandparents have taken at least one trip with a grandchild over the past year. Vacationing with your grandkids is a great way to have fun and strengthen your relationships, especially if you live far away and don’t get a chance to see them that often.
Today there are a number travel organizations and companies that offer specialized vacation packages for grandparents and grandchildren. This is a nice way to go because they plan everything for you, with most activities for the two generations together, but some just for adults so you can get an occasional breather.
Available in all price ranges, these tours are typically designed for children between the ages seven, up to 17 or 18, and are usually scheduled in the summer, or sometimes during winter breaks, when the kids are out of school. Here are some top tour companies that will take you and your grandkids on a fun, well-planned vacation.
Elderhostel: For an educational and relatively low-cost vacation, Elderhostel, the world’s largest educational travel organization for adults 55 and over, offers a wide variety of trips for grandparents and grandchildren too. Visit www.elderhostel.org (or call 800-454-5768) and click on “Grandparent Travel” for a list of more than 300 vacation plans throughout the U.S. and abroad. Most of the U.S. trips are around five days and costing anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per person, while the international trips typically last one to two weeks costing between $150 and $350 per person per day. These prices do not include transportation to the destination.
Sierra Club: If you’re the outdoorsy type, the Sierra Club (www.sierraclub.org/outings; 415-977-5522) offers a variety of affordable “family outings” and “local outings” near you to choose from. They also offer an annual week-long “Just for Grandparents and Grandkids” outing in July in Tahoe National Forest, California. Cost: $545 per adult and $445 per child.
Grandtravel: This is the first company to send grandparents and grandchildren (ages seven to 17) off on vacation together. Grandtravel (www.grandtrvl.com; 800-247-7651) offers seven to 13-day luxury tours scheduled in July and August with destinations to Washington D.C. and Williamsburg, Alaska, Italy, London and Paris, and New Zealand. These trips are educational (led by teacher-escorts), limited to 30 or fewer participants and expensive ranging between $3,000 and $7,200 per person.
Generations Touring Company: This is another deluxe tour operator that specializes in intergeneration travel. They offer a variety of week-long tours to destinations like the Grand Canyon, Peru, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. And for sports fans, they have a “Baseball’s Sacred Grounds” summer tour which includes visits to Boston’s historic Fenway Park, New York’s new Yankee Stadium, and a trip to Cooperstown to tour the Baseball Hall of Fame. Costs for all tours range between $2,100 and $4,000 per person. www.generationstouringcompany.com, 888-415-9100.
Another popular option to consider is to take your grandkids on a cruise. This offers a safe and secure environment that’s pretty affordable with plenty of facilities, activities and dining options to keep everyone happy. Disney, Carnival, Holland, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Norwegian cruise lines all offer appealing options for intergenerational travelers. To find out what’s available contact a travel agent (see www.cruising.org to find an agent who specializes in cruises) or visit Cruises For Families (www.cruisesforfamilies.com; 877-386-9243).