How to Incorporate Family Time Into Your Travels

By Lynn O’Rourke Hayes

Spending time with family never goes out of style.

Here are five ways to gather:

1. Skip-gen or Gramping

Many grandparents are eager to spend time with the grandkids. An easy solution: a skip-gen or gramping vacation. Parents get a break and grandparents and grandkids get to know each other without the filter of mom or dad on the scene. Grandparents: Don’t wait to share your experiences and knowledge with your grandkids. Are you a World War II veteran? Did you grow up inspired by jazz or classical music? Did the ethnic or rural neighborhood of your youth greatly influence the person you are today? Visit a war memorial, take in a small concert or visit the old stomping grounds. It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there than what they’ll find in schoolbooks. And remember, you are part of their history. To that end, consider floating your ideas for a future getaway in person, via FaceTime or Zoom and start sharing your stories now.

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2. Milestone Moments

In recent years, many family celebrations were canceled or postponed. Currently, it’s easier to celebrate birthdays, graduations, retirements and anniversaries together and they are often a meaningful part of a family’s legacy. With advance notice and attention to the current needs of family members, these touchstone gatherings can take place. Consider a guest ranch and you’ll find a long list of intriguing options and appealing destinations from which to choose. With activities to engage every generation, plenty of food choices (and the volume to satisfy hungry teens) you’re sure to see smiles all around. Sleeping quarters, including lodge-style rooms, more rustic cabins, yurts and glamping-style tents provide the privacy and flexibility required for early birds, nappers and night owls.

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3. Rock-star Relatives

Are you an amazing aunt, an unbelievable uncle or a cool cousin? You may want to join the increasing number of relatives choosing to explore with youngsters as their trusty travel companions. Share your passion to fish or hike, learn a new skill together or plan a mutually engaging adventure to a far-off place like Antarctica or Africa. You’re certain to return with a deeper bond and memories to share for a lifetime.

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4. Family Reunion

The true value of a family gathering has little to do with checking in to a fancy resort or a snazzy urban hotel. That option might not be in the cards for your crew. It’s more about the quality of a shared experience. So, whether you are planning a small gathering in a state park picnic area or a more elaborate meeting of the clan, organization will be key. Gather input regarding a budget, destination and lodging preferences, activities and meal planning. Get a date on the calendar as soon as possible. Communicate well and often. Keep your sense of humor at the ready and be grateful that at least some portion of your family is eager to spend time together.

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5. Like Family

With relatives spread far and wide, our best friends often become “like family.” Traveling with another tribe, particularly one with children of similar ages and interests, can be fun and festive. Still, proper planning can go a long way toward keeping relationships and expectations intact. Family groups often choose to share a ski cabin, beach house or urban condo. That can mean divvying expenses, transportation, room assignments, cleaning and cooking. Avoid misunderstandings about how time and resources will be allocated with a clearly defined plan before your holiday gets underway. No matter how much you enjoy your vacation buddies, carve out private time with your own family. You’ll be glad you did.

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Lynn O’Rourke Hayes ( is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer.  Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via Copyright 2023 Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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