The holiday season is upon us, and for many, that means agonizing over the right gifts for loved ones.
But there is a growing trend in families to do away with buying more stuff and spending the money on making memories. If treating the whole family to some vacation time sounds like a good idea, keep reading.
Don Redman, spokesperson for AAA Louisiana, says cruises are very popular for multigeneration vacations because everyone can have their own space, there are activities for all ages and the food is nonstop.
But Redman says he prefers cabins at a state park or a vacation rental at a popular destination. He thinks trips when everyone is cooking and eating together just feel more like family.
Regardless of your preference, he adds it isn’t necessary to blow the budget to have a great trip. The important thing is having a great time together.
To do that, Redman advises planning as early as possible, getting everyone involved and having them check their calendars before booking.
Several members of the Council on Aging St. Tammany staff have taken multigeneration trips, as well, and they offer the following six suggestions to help make sure your next such trip is a success.
1. FIND SHARED ACTIVITIES: "When taking long car trips with the older grandkids, (grandparents) love to play the game of 'License Plates.' We watch the vehicles as we are riding and make a list of all the different states we read on them. The grandkids love it, it passes time and it teaches them that no matter where we come from, we are all the same in many ways."
2. DO SOMETHING UNIQUE: "Our family took a cruise. The ages of the people in our party were 7 to 70. We booked a limo that held 12 so we did not have to park separate cars at the dock. The limo ride took 2½ hours — one way! It was worth every penny."
3. INCLUDE ENTERTAINMENT FOR EVERYONE: "A few years ago, my mom, my nanny, my 3-year-old grandson and I took a 16-hour car trip to North Carolina. The first things I made sure I had were snacks, my dual screen DVD player, coloring books and colors. My mom spent the entire time in the back with her great-grandson watching 'Thomas the Tank Engine,' and could only watch something else when he slept."
4. ASK YOUNGER FAMILY TO STEP UP: "On a trip to Destin, we were staying in an upstairs condo. My dad asked where the trash dumpster was, and I told him it was too far away and that either my son or myself would bring out the garbage shortly. Before you knew it, my dad, without us knowing, took the trash and headed down the stairs. Having cataracts and a bad knee, he tripped or lost his balance and fell on the concrete and in a rose bush. He was injured pretty badly. The kids don’t always volunteer to help, but the grandparents always want to help in any way. Make the kids do the work."
5. HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY: "Do not lie ... and let a nonlicensed driver operate something motorized. It is not worth it! Uncles and grandparents should not act indulgent even if a 15-year-old may feel angry."
6. CAPTURE A MEMORY: "Make sure you plan one group picture. Let everyone know the time and appropriate dress. (One year) we were all in Gulf Shores the week between Christmas and New Year’s. LSU and Alabama were playing each other for the national championship. We took a great picture of all three generations in purple and gold. Too bad the Tigers didn’t win."