After the pandemic brought travel virtually to a halt, many families are excited to get back on the road! There’s a new trend on the rise in family vacations that you might want to consider: including grandparents.

Planning a family vacation can be a complicated task when you consider the budget, parents’ work and kids’ activity schedules, deciding on a destination that everyone likes, etc. Interestingly, even with all those variables at play, many families are adding grandparents to the already complicated puzzle of vacation planning. Why is that, and what might be the benefits of a multi-generational vacation?

Think outside the suitcase

With a global economy and jobs that may require someone to work in multiple states or even countries, extended families are often spread across the country or the world. This makes gathering for birthdays, family reunions, graduations, and holidays more difficult than it was just a few decades ago. When traveling to visit extended family requires more than a single day’s drive or even a flight, the time and financial requirements can be prohibitive. Parents may go months and months without seeing their adult children or their grandchildren.

A multi-generational vacation may be a perfect solution for some of these problems. Grandparents, adult children, and grandchildren can connect in a location that is “somewhere in the middle” of all of them and possibly cut down on travel time and costs. Also, a multi-generational vacation can include aunts, uncles, and cousins or even grandparents from both sides of a family on the same trip! These types of trips can really be an opportunity to grow relationships and build bridges between members of a family that otherwise would be nearly impossible. 

Benefits to multi-generational vacations

  • It is real quality time. There aren’t the distractions of after-school activities, work, and household chores. Parents get to know their adult children in a deeper way while also learning all the fun personality traits and qualities of their grandchildren in a relaxed and fun environment.
  • Parents can get some time off. Most grandparents expect to and want to “babysit” when they are with their grandchildren for an extended period. Parents can truly get their own “mini vacation” by taking a day or night away and spending time as a couple while the kids make special memories with their grandparents. 
  • No one feels like they must be a host. At a resort, rental home, or hotel, no single person or couple feels like they need to bear the burden of all the cooking and cleaning and making sure everyone is comfortable, which makes the time together much less stressful. 
  • It can maximize vacation days. Parents who have limited vacation days don’t have to squeeze in both a trip to see grandparents and a family vacation with those limited days.
  • Lifelong special memories are made. When families share unique experiences and adventures, it creates very special memories that will be a topic of conversation for many years to come. 

Clearly, bringing the grandparents along has some wonderful perks! We are very lucky to have some locations right here in the Black Hills that are perfect for these kinds of trips. For example, Keystone and Hill City have easy access to Mt. Rushmore, hiking, gold panning, restaurants and wineries, and many outdoor rides and attractions that kids love! Custer is another great option, with so many things to do for all ages, from driving the wildlife loop, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, or seeing a play at the Black Hills Playhouse. 

My family has enjoyed five multi-generational vacations, including two staycations in the Black Hills. All of them were a blast! Sometimes people are hesitant to be “trendy,” but this is a trend that is likely here to stay, and it’s easy to see why. So, for your next family gathering, perhaps consider a “3G” (3 generation) vacation.

WORDS AND PHOTOS: JAMIE CLAPHAM