We hope everyone had a safe and fun Labor Day weekend. Please enjoy this guest blog, by Kathryn Kardos, about multigenerational travel…and let us know your thoughts!

Multigenerational and family travel is one of the biggest travel trends of 2011 according to Virtuoso, a leading network of luxury travel professionals. Moving away from the recent “staycation” trend, families are ready for a more adventurous type of vacation. Baby Boomers and their families are seeking authentic vacation opportunities to experience together at a great value.

The main motivators for this rising travel trend are a desire for adventure, spending time with loved ones, personal enrichment, rest and relaxation, and the opportunity to see new destinations. Boomer grandparents are active and love to travel, and want to share the experience with their kids and grandkids. Family travel is a great way to spend time together, create amazing memories, and educate kids about different ways of life. Traveling in a large party is also a great way to save on accommodations, one of the areas travelers are searching for better prices to offset the cost of expensive airline tickets and baggage fees.

Vacation rentals, all-inclusive resorts, and cruises have seen a spike in business as great options for the growing number of families traveling together. Vacation rentals are more price effective than a hotel for large parties, plus they offer extra space and comforts of home. All-inclusive resorts offer peace of mind, since grandparents footing the bill for accommodations can pay up front and not worry about extra charges that may take the trip out of their price range.  Cruises are a great way to experience several locations in one trip, many of which are also all-inclusive, creating a great value which is so important to this type of traveler. Sites like Expedia, Jetsetter, and Vacationist that offer hotel inventory at a discounted rate have become increasingly popular over the past few years.

Baby boomers are happy to spend on their grandkids, spending about $35 billion in 2005, so it’s no surprise they often treat the whole family to a vacation. A recent survey by U.S. Trust, a private wealth management sector of Bank of America, found that Boomers are less concerned with leaving an inheritance. It is more important to spend their hard-earned money on their family while they can all enjoy it together, and multigenerational travel is the perfect opportunity.

Baby boomers are actively enjoying their newly found free time from retirement or lighter work load, spending $150 billion on travel annually, 80% of which is spent on luxury travel. Educated palates and a thirst for adventure means Boomers are interested in more than typical sightseeing, opting for exotic food tours, wine tasting, and safaris. Alaska and Costa Rica, both known for adventure travel, were among the top travel destinations of 2011.

Travel agents and online research can help families find activities for each person in the party. Travel agents can assist with coordinating itineraries that include things for children and adults to experience together, as well as arrange separate adult time. Online resources like TripAdvisor and Yelp are great substitutes for professional help, but professional help can sometimes make all the difference for a big excursion. Various new travel apps are making it easier to stay organized and find things to do on the fly.

While the recession has taken its toll on the travel industry, travelers are finding new ways to save money so they can afford to take vacations. The recent economic trouble may present a temporary lull in travel, but if we’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that travelers have strengthened their appreciation for authentic experiences and time together with loved ones more than ever.

About the Author:

Kathryn works in the luxury travel industry at Travel En Vogue (www.travelenvogue.com), a vacation rental agency that matches renters with owners of Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons Residence Club condos.  

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