As the holidays near, it is time to plan the family gatherings. If you are the host, a lot of thought, money and stress goes into feeding and entertaining your multi-generational family. How do you keep the kids and the grandparents occupied, day after day? The kids usually win out and everyone ends up at the zoo and latest G rated movie.
There are travel options you ought to consider.
Don’t count out holiday travel as being too costly, complicated or difficult for the grandparents. Hotels, resorts, national parks, cruise lines and trains are all rolling out the red carpet for financially challenged vacationers in this tough holiday season. If you have already made vacation plans and paid full price, consider asking your travel agent to negotiate some amenities.
If you haven’t considered traveling – give it a second thought.
One of the — hands down — easiest, fun, surefire ways to make all generations happy and content is to take everyone on a cruise. The value is substantial when you look at what is included: your cabin, all meals and snacks and room service, transportation between cities, entertainment, the gym, pools and many age specific activities. The four year old has nonstop, supervised activities all day, teenagers can be entertained all day and night and seniors have the spa, whirlpool, dance classes and yoga. Cruise ships go all out for holiday celebrations. They have special entertainment, meals, visits from Santa and caroling. Decorations are festive. Don’t celebrate Christmas? Ships are sensitive to all religions and don’t go overboard (so to speak!).
Now isn’t this a much more relaxed way to host a family gathering? No matter what direction everyone goes during the day, the family dinner will become a lively time of sharing what everyone did all day. And believe me you will not be bored, and you may not even crack open your book.
There are cruise ports all along our coastlines so drive to your departure city. If you leave out of New Orleans, take Amtrak for additional multi-generational friendly adventure. Both coasts of Florida and Mobile have ports; also Charleston, Baltimore, and New York City. Get to your departure city a day early and do some exploring.
Cruise ships are all wheelchair, cane and site-impaired friendly. Their theatres and casinos handle chairs and scooters. Ask for one of the special cabins, according to your needs. Don’t expect special, preferred treatment because you will be able to easily get around with everyone else.
Do ask for a wheelchair (you have a sprain) at the airport. That will get you and your party to the front of the lines and boarded early. If you can fly on the holiday itself, you will get better fares. If not, fly on Nov. 22, 25, 29 and Dec. 20, 23, 31.
If you end up staying home for the holidays, turn on the Travel Channel and get the kids to talk about the world. Ask the grandparents what places are still on their bucket list and think about lying on the beach while someone else cooks your whole family dinner.
PS- One of the best gifts for stimulating curiosity in kids is a globe of the world.