A Family Affair: Is this the Next Generation of Travel?

A Family Affair: Is this the Next Generation of Travel?

As lockdown restrictions ease and countries begin to reopen their borders, we’re saying farewell to solo travel and bringing the entire family along for our next trip.

getaways usually consist of grabbing your least flaky
friends, forcing them into a WhatsApp chat and hoping you figure
out somewhere to book before you’re muted – or worse, they leave
the group.

Yet right now, I can’t help but focus on the fact that I’ve
spent a record 84 days without coffee dates with my mum or Zara
spending sprees with my nan. That’s why summer plans with my

-loving girl gang have been replaced by one with the
two leading ladies in my life. As soon as we can, we’re escaping to
the Highlands – it’ll be our first holiday together since I learned
to swim without armbands.

I’m not alone. Since Zoom pub quizzes and virtual birthday
barbecues have replaced IRL facetime, we’re all hankering for a
dose of much-needed quality time with our nearest and dearest.
Elderly and at-risk relatives have spent the past three months
shielding, family members have found themselves bravely working on
the frontline and with close-contact practically being deemed
illegal, the longing to reunite has quite naturally fiercened. To
see it, you only have to look at the emotional embraces between
reuniting relatives as people enter their new “support bubble”.
It’s true what they say, sometimes you just need your mum.

Multigenerational travel has already on the rise before the
pandemic. Virtuoso, a global luxury travel network, cited
cross-gen holidays as the top travel trend every year since 2016. A
recent study conducted by Visit Britain found
that 62 per cent of people surveyed have already taken a
multigenerational trip or would strongly consider one. Way before
COVID-19 crushed our collective travel plans, families were already
using milestone birthdays, anniversaries and big life events as an
excuse to plan epic getaways – surviving a global pandemic surely
fits into the latter.

The rise in multigenerational travel is a family affair in which
everyone can play their part. Baby boomers are retiring earlier
with more freedom (read: income) to spare, Gen X are fitter, more
active and hungrier for holidays, while millennials and Gen Z are
battling it out as to who craves adventure more. With people living
farther away from their families and as our lives become more
pressurised, our need to switch off, log off and reconnect grows.
Add to this a cash-strapped cohort of Gen Z and millennials leaning
on the bank of mum and dad (and grandma and grandpa) and you’ve got
all the components for a harmonious family trip… provided that
nobody whips out the Monopoly board.

As travel plans start to form on the horizon, we’re realising
that we’re more ready than ever to embark on trips with the whole
family in tow. Self-catered accommodation that can be taken over by
whole families –
off-grid cabins
, rural farmhouses and hidden cottages – beckon.
Plus, with
fully integrated into our day-to-day,
clashing plans and prior commitments are no longer a hurdle to
overcome. In short, we’re a lot more flexible; there are no airport
arrivals to navigate and higher-risk family members are easily
catered to. Suddenly, the planning part of the escapade doesn’t
seem so daunting.

The new normal has shifted and our travelling priorities –
sentimentally, socially and sustainably. Even before the
coronavirus crisis, 84 per cent of millennials surveyed on
multigenerational travel agreed that “difficult times have helped
me focus on the things that matter in life”. Family matters – and
never more so than it does now. We’ve learned that slowing down is
ok and checking in with our loved ones is more important than
making that 5pm spin class or squeezing in one last prosecco before
boarding the train. All the things that were once cluttering up our
calendars and flagged as important now pale in comparison.

Having your parents join you on a journey is no longer naff but
a necessity. We’re navigating this new travel landscape by making
up for months of lost memories with calendars filled with plans to
make new ones.

If home is where the heart is, then I’m transplanting my family
to a coastal crash pad – and inviting the extended relatives

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