Photo of family having a fun day at the beach

A family affair

“What tips do you have for multi-generational family travel? We are heading to the beach with teens, young adults, aunties and uncles, grandparents — the works.”
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It’s great getting the whole family together on an exciting getaway — until it isn’t. Different age ranges, tastes, interests and personalities can make the whole exercise beyond annoying. Planning such a trip can be a difficult and thankless task — and family members make the best complainers, don’t they? So fussy.

The beach is a great idea, because there’s a guaranteed recreation overload for those who want it and relaxation for those who don’t. But whether you’re checking in to a big all-inclusive resort or a cabin in the woods, many of the guidelines are the same:

  • Have everyone help with the planning. That way, no one can complain later if they didn’t provide input. Make sure the budget is involved in these negotiations so there are no surprises when the time comes to pay the bill.
  • Get everyone involved in the routine, each person playing to their strengths, chipping in to move the day forward. Someone gets up early to secure chairs on the beach, someone takes care of dinner reservations, someone else researches the excursions or plans a physical activity. Many hands and brains make light work.
  • Map out as many things in advance as possible — particularly the meal planning — so you’re all not texting or messaging each other constantly. No one wants their phone dinging every two minutes.
  • Try not to overschedule — this is a vacation, after all. Downtime gives everyone a chance to rest and take a break from each other.
  • Make activities optional. I once went on a group vacation where the organizer handed us a weekend itinerary with something planned at noon, at 4 p.m. and at 8 p.m. The morning and midnight were sometimes included, too. You could jump into the daily plan whenever you liked — you knew where the gang would be at each designated time.

How to avoid COVID on vacation

Ah yes, the impossible dream. Trying to avoid COVID is like trying to stop breathing. However, there are a few things you can control.

Choose destinations and hotels that are noted for their thorough safety protocols. Research the vaccination rates of the destinations on your short list and see how they measure up. This pre-trip research may be more enlightening than you expect.

Try not to get worn down by staying up late, skipping your nap and drinking a pile of wine every night with dinner. Any kind of illness can strike when your body lets its guard down.

Boost your immune system as much as you can, adding vitamins to your morning routine and making healthy meal choices throughout the day.

Wash your hands more than you would normally, and don’t touch your face. Sanitize your hands whenever you’re entering a restaurant or sidling up to the buffet.

If you’re really worried about becoming ill while abroad, choose outdoorsy activities or plan your vacation around a remote mountainside or beach.

And as always, keep your vaccinations up to date.

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