Splat! Plop! BAM!
My nearly 3-year-old son Matt was methodically smashing coconuts on the stone terrace next to the pool of our rented villa in
That was the first of our many multigenerational vacations, all the more poignant because my dad died a few months later. Maybe that's why we still talk so much about that trip -- the seafood feasts our housekeeper whipped up, seemingly effortlessly for us, the hours my dad, already ill, spent playing in the pool with the kids, the stellar snorkeling and gambling expeditions led my Dad to a nearby casino, the bug bites that covered my 8-month-old daughter, and, of course, the Morning of the Coconuts.
At the time, it all seemed pretty exotic for our family. My mom had plucked a tiny ad from the
What the gathering provided was unfettered time together to laugh and play and eat -- time we didn't usually have because we lived thousands of miles apart. Today, more than 20 years later, grandparents and tour operators tell me, that's still what's driving other families like ours to corral their families on multigenerational trips.
What's changed is the kind of trips available. As baby boomers become grandparents and seniors become more active, families are opting for more far-flung and active adventures -- fishing in
"We had so much fun ... and spotted my oldest daughter's senior prom gown!" said
These grandparents "are generally a fitter and more experiential-oriented travel crowd than their parents. So they are happy to take their grandchildren on 'adventures,' especially when they might have the opportunity to get a massage or go to yoga at the end of the day," observes
And this may be the time to do it, says
The best part is you might be able to arrange a specific itinerary geared just for your family, as the Crews did when they took their family -- 14 of them -- to
Of course, there are plenty of less exotic offerings, including
And families are still cruising -- so much so that they represent one of the fastest growing segments of the cruise industry and cruise lines, like Norwegian (www.ncl.com), court them with everything from connecting rooms and suites (see the amazing options on Norwegian's new EPIC coming this summer) to family reunion packages aboard
Families are still renting houses together, too (www.discovervacationhomes.com) -- everything from cabins on a private
The good news is the travel industry continues to rev up incentives. For example,
It seemed nearly every family I encountered on a recent trip to
As for us, the grandparents sadly are gone, but we're continuing the tradition with the littlest members of the family this summer -- on an RV trip in
See you at the campground.
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(c) 2010 Eileen Ogintz
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