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5 tips for planning memorable trips with extended family

by Tania Griffin
A family of six having a picnic

Planning holidays with extended family provides a perfect opportunity to strengthen and nurture family bonds. As International Family Day approaches on 15 May, it is a reminder of the significance of the cherished ties families share and the invaluable role extended family members play in our lives.

This is particularly true of the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. The influence of loving and nurturing grandparents is inestimable and helps shape a child’s sense of identity – leaving a lasting legacy of love, wisdom and tradition. So, a holiday that includes gran and grandad can only deepen the excitement and sense of anticipation for little ones who know they are in for some indulgent spoils with willing ‘partners in crime’.

Shaun Lamont, managing director of First Group Hotels and Resorts, believes such shared experiences enable families – especially those who may not see each other regularly – to spend quality time together and reconnect, reaffirming ties and creating magical and lasting memories. “It can also heighten the fun and enjoyment of a holiday as the generations come together and participate in various activities and relax in each other’s company.”

He shares five tips to ensure you get the most from your shared family holiday:

1. Planning: Involve everyone in the planning stage, be it over a family dinner, group call or online meeting. Thereafter, tasks can be delegated based on people’s interests or expertise. The point is to ensure everyone has a voice and feels heard and involved.

2. Accommodation: Once you’ve settled on bush, berg or beach as a destination, look for options that can comfortably accommodate all generations. Family-friendly resorts with kids’ clubs and self-catering chalets – such as those offered by First Group – are great, affordable options. For example, Midlands Saddle and Trout in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands or Magalies Park in North West Province are host to various sized luxury lodges; while La Montagne in Ballito on the KZN North Coast offers magnificent seaview apartments, all with a plethora of activities for the young and the young at heart.

3. Timing: When choosing dates for the holiday, particularly for a larger group, remember to factor in the desired season, school holidays, work schedules and other commitments. This may require careful co-ordination and some flexibility to ensure everyone’s needs are accommodated.

4. Budget: Agree on a reasonable budget for everyone involved. Bear in mind that different generations and families have varying means, so be open to discussing and compromising on expenses. Plan activities that are not going to cause financial stress to anyone, as the goal is to enjoy family time, not add to someone’s financial burden.

5. Shared experiences: Plan some specific activities that will appeal to the diverse ages and interests of family members, ensuring everyone can share in the fun. This could include sightseeing, picnics, short walks, games evenings and storytelling around the fire. A few surprises thrown in will add to the excitement but, ultimately, ensure there is plenty of flexibility to accommodate different pacing preferences and any spontaneous opportunities that may arise. And, while spending quality time together is important, respecting each other’s need for personal space and downtime is also necessary. Therefore, ensure enough opportunities for individuals to pursue their own interests or relax independently.

“Shared trips with extended or multigenerational family members, when carefully planned, are more than just a holiday,” adds Lamont. “They are the glue that reinforces family bonds across the generations and provides the perfect platform for reminiscing while creating new, cherished memories for the future.”

Image credit: Freepik

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