The rise of multi-generational holidays: Where to take your parents for a trip

2018-08-22 15:02 - Gabi Zietsman
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Father and adult son sitting by a campfire launghi

Multi-generational travel is on the rise, as travellers over 65 still feel young enough to keep pace with their adult children. (Photo: iStock)

Family holidays as a kid had always been a toss-up between having fun with no school and feeling claustrophobic spending too much time with your parents - especially when you have limited freedom. Grandparents always tagged along as go-to babysitters when Mom and Dad needed their own break from the holiday - but when there are no little ones to look after would multiple generations still holiday together?

According to a few surveys, the future travel trends are seeing more adults going on holidays with their parents and grandparents thanks to a shift in lifestyle habits and extended life longevity. An industry expert told Travel Pulse over the last few years multi-generational travel has doubled from one out of six trips to one out of every three, and has become one of the fastest growing travel categories. 

SEE: #LastMinute Escape: SA holiday planner

The increase also comes with a change in travel habits among the Baby Boomers, namely the over 65-years of age market, who have become more adventurous with their travel experiences and have more energy to keep up with their younger children, reports Forbes. 18% of this segment regularly travelling with their families, with 64% believing that this family time is what is keeping them young.

The Preferred Hotel Group released their own survey on their US clientele and saw that the trend can also be attributed to the decrease in traditional weekday evening and weekend family time due to the fast-paced digital life, and thus people have to organise specific holidays to make time. Another factor is also that families have become more geographically scattered across the world, and a holiday is a great way to reconnect with loved ones.

In South Africa, Stats SA reports that only 5,6% of the total international tourists are over the age of 65, although 14,4% of all overseas tourists not from Africa are over the age of 65, while only 6,6% were under the age of 15, indicating perhaps that families are less keen on a bush holiday.

ALSO SEE: #TourismMonth2018: 7 Eastern Cape spots not to miss as Travel Week set to make exploring SA more affordable

But how do you cater for a multi-generational holiday? Here are a few of the preferred experiences from these surveys that might help you plan your next getaway without starting family feuds. 

Foodie trips

Both Forbes and Preferred Hotels state that Boomers took their queue from millennials and love indulging in new food they've never had before and sampling local goodies. South Africa is a mecca for foodie escapes, from the fresh seafood on our coastlines to the delicious scents of traditional potjies.

The best part? You don't have to blow your budget to eat gourmet, just have a look at these cheap foodie escapes that will leave your Ouma drooling. You can also take a weekend trip to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban or a long weekend to the Garden Route's slow food markets. 

SEE: Spring Foodie Festivals: Whet your appetite at one of these upcoming tasty fests 

Outdoors adventures

It's not only the millennials that want to get the blood pumping. 49% of Preferred Hotels' respondents want to hike or bike through their holiday, followed by snorkelling or scuba, other water sports and even white water rafting or kayaking. Forbes even indicated that Boomers are more likely to do more adventurous activities than the younger generations.

While not everyone can take on the Orange River or hike through the Fish River Canyon, South Africa is blessed with hiking trails of all difficulties, or you could take a cross-border trip to these cool dive spots in Southern Africa. 

SEE: 11 Top SA outdoor adventures to put the Spring in your step 

Beautiful scenery

How does a multi-generational traveller choose a destination? A large chunk - 88% to be exact - want to travel with their family through beautiful scenery ready to make lovely memories. It's not only the millennials who want to take photos for their Insta - the older generations are also on-board the social media game - although it may just be restricted to Facebook.

Road trips through South Africa are almost part of our cultural heritage, where you can go up the many twists of the West Coast or watch the sunrise on Mpumalanga's Panorama Route. Our Southern African neighbours also have some gorgeous scenics if you've already driven our country flat and looking to expand your horizons - like the dunes of Namibia, 4x4 bush adventures through Mozambique, giant waterfalls in Zimbabwe or the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

SEE: The ultimate pit stop experiences to pump up your SA road trip 

Relax and unwind

However, out of all the activities most just want to relax and unwind so that they can catch up with their families - 88% prefer this. Alongside this preference, 71% would also choose a destination with a great beach experience which offers many activities suited to everyone's needs.

You could all be either enjoying a spa break with your dad or do your next family reunion at a wellness centre. In the beach section South Africa has some of the best spots in the world, and all ready to welcome your family to its salty refreshment.

SEE: Breathe in deep and find your centre in these 15 wellness travel destinations 

Long-haul travel 

Once long-haul travel was quite an off-putting factor for those over 65, but Forbes reports that 51% of its UK respondents would love to visit Australia and New Zealand - which are one of the longest flights from their and our part of the world.

If you're willing to coordinate an overseas trip with your family, there are many countries that South Africans can visit without a visa, like the Latin countries of Chile, Peru and Brazil, or immerse yourself in Asian culture in Philippines, Thailand or South Korea. You can also do some island hopping between Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius, or even travel further afield to Jamaica or Fiji.

SEE: Visa-Free holidays: 5 stay ideas to help you plan an exciting, south-east Asia escape 

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