By Catey Hill
According to a recent survey by the Preferred Hotel Group, a consortium of 650 independent hotels and resorts, multigenerational travel—defined as a trip of parties belonging to three or more generations—is one of the biggest trends in the travel industry. Nearly 21 million Americans—40% of all U.S. leisure travelers—have taken a multigenerational trip in the last 12 months. Grandparents make up 26% of all leisure travelers in America, and a third of them had taken a multigenerational trip within the last year, the survey revealed.
The multigenerational trend is being driven by travelers like 65-year-old Christine Tibbetts, a journalist in Tifton, Ga. Tibbetts has six children, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and she’s traveled with members of that pack to places as close by as Georgia’s St. Simons Island, and as far-flung as Paris and Alaska.
While she admits that you “need flexibility” to make these kinds of trips work, she adds that traveling en masse is ultimately a rewarding experience. “Traveling together equalizes a family, puts us all on an even playing field,” she says.
Hotels, resorts and travel agents are expanding their offerings for the multigenerational market. Nonprofit educational travel company Road Scholar began offering multigenerational trips in 2012 (before that, its family-oriented trips were intergenerational, limited to grandparents traveling with grandkids).
The company’s new international destinations include Italy, Spain, France and the Galápagos Islands, with more being added this year. A little over a year ago, Preferred Hotel Group launched PreferredFamily.com, a site dedicated to multigenerational travel where users can search and filter locations by the ages of family members, activities, amenities and interests. Travel company Thomson Family Adventures launched a partnership with The Smithsonian in 2012 to create multigenerational adventures in Peru, China, Costa Rica and Panama, and plans to add more in the coming years......
MarketWatch asked travel experts for their advice about destinations that are conducive to multigenerational travel, with activities and attractions that the whole family will be likely to enjoy. Some of the destinations we found are relatively accessible for U.S. travelers; others are a little more off the beaten path and out-of-the-ordinary. Here are eight of our favorites:
1. Alaska Cruise
2. Turks & Caicos
3. African Safari
4. The Outer Banks
6. Glacier National Park
7. Costa Rica