Multigenerational travel (holidays with three generations of a family) has risen in popularity post-Covid as families look to spend more time making memories together. It's estimated that 89% of Brits are planning a family holiday with at least three generations of their families in the next few years and Europe is ranked as the ideal destination for family trips.
So, the later-life living experts at stairlift and home lift company Stannah have shared top tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for family groups and all first-time multigenerational travellers.
Prioritise health and medications
Consider any pre-existing health conditions or mobility limitations that your parents may have. It’s important to consult their healthcare provider before the trip to ensure the travel and destination are safe. Ensure you have any medication they may need and medical documents necessary for your destination.
Take out travel insurance
Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can arise, despite our efforts to plan for them. Travel insurance is a wise idea for anyone taking a trip, but it can be especially beneficial for families travelling with elderly parents, allowing you to have peace of mind should the worst happen.
Shortlist and travel to accessible countries
European countries like Spain, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and France have significantly improved accessibility in public spaces, transportation, tourist attractions, and other areas to make multigenerational travel more enjoyable for everyone involved. In particular, these countries have implemented laws, regulations, and guidelines to ensure equal access for all.
Select airlines with accessible benefits
Check out the accessibility of different airlines to ensure older individuals have a more comfortable and convenient travel experience. British Airways, for example, provides three different service levels: simple wheelchair help, full-service assistance getting on and off the flight, and chair assistance for navigating the cabin. Other inclusive features that some airlines offer include wider aisles, spacious seating arrangements, and accessible toilets.
Go for a comfortable flight experience
Spend some time selecting your parent's ideal seat. Aisle seats with flip-up armrests are best for those with limited mobility as they simplify transferring from the chair to the seat, so paying an extra fee may be worth the money. Booking a seat towards the front of the plane often comes with extra legroom and a shorter walk to the lavatory. A flight coordinator can arrange these considerations with the airlines if contacted in advance.
Under limited mobility concerns, booking direct flights and avoiding layovers is recommended. This makes the trip less strenuous and challenging for everyone, no matter their age.
Select the best time to travel
Consider when your parents are most energised and active. Avoid flying when they experience fatigue during the day or late at night, and plan the flight for when your elderly parents will find it most manageable. While flights at less convenient times are often quieter, consider your priorities in terms of how stress-free the journey needs to be.
Design an itinerary to accommodate everyone's enjoyment
Plan a flexible itinerary that allows for breaks, rest periods, and shorter activities if needed. Consider your parents' energy levels and limitations and avoid a packed schedule that may lead to fatigue or overwhelm. Allow for leisurely exploration and time to enjoy the surroundings.
Shared experiences and bonding
Multigenerational travelling creates opportunities for shared experiences and spending quality time with loved ones – which is more valuable than ever post-pandemic. It strengthens family members' bonds, fosters emotional connections, and creates lasting memories. This can have boundless benefits for the mental well-being of the entire family.
It's important to consider the specific needs and limitations of elderly parents when planning and executing family holidays. Consulting with healthcare professionals and preparing accordingly can bring joy and happiness to your whole family, offering a break from the ordinary and introducing loved ones to new and exciting experiences.