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Multi-generational travel is only going to increase in the U.S. as boomers -- the first generation of Americans who really owned travel -- begin bringing their families along on all their post-retirement trips.

Grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren, and now they’re seemingly taking more vacations with them than ever before to create those cherished memories.

A AAA survey revealed that 36% of respondents plan to take a multi-generational vacation over the next twelve months, which represents an increase of four percentage points compared with 2013.

In the current survey, 15% of respondents said they plan to bring their grandchildren on vacation, up from 11% in 2013. The percentage of people bringing both children and parents increased one percentage point to 26% this year, and those only bringing grandparents stayed at 5%.

And while grandparents are known for spoiling their grandchildren, taking vacations with them is more about making priceless memories than being the cool grandparent, says Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures.

“Older generations are living longer, and combined with the improving economy that’s a big reason why we’re seeing such a huge increase,” he said. “These trips are just exploding for us on a daily basis, their growth is outpacing the growth of all other kinds of vacations in my company.”

Austin estimates that multi-generational vacations account for 10% of his business, and in conversations he’s had with other members of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, he says those companies also see similar growth and business.

He finds multi-sport trips are the most popular for multi-generational vacations, which include hiking, biking, rafting, horseback riding, etc. Grandparents who take a vacation with their children or grandchildren and visit national parks like Yellowstone are finding them a great place to go for first-time multi-generational trips, Austin says.

“They probably visited these places when they were young and want to share them with younger generations,” Austin said. “Communicating with sales staff to choose a trip that will suit all generations, considering health levels and then communicating with guides to make sure everyone is having fun are the most important things for successful trips.”

Possible destinations list for multi-generational vacations is varied, but having a place for everyone to gather and enough space to spread out are essential, says Heather Hunter, an AAA spokesperson.

“This is why cruise ships and national parks seem to be popular for multi-generation trips,” Hunter says. “There’s so much for everyone to do but it’s easy to meet up at the end of the day.”

A recent American Society of Travel Agents survey also found that multi-generational vacations are important for travel agents’ businesses, ranking among their top 10 most important niche markets.

Multi-Generational Travel Over Next 12 Months

Plan To Take A Vacation In Next 12 months That Will Include Grandparents, Grandchildren Or Both % of U.S. Adults 2013 % of U.S. Adults 2014
Net: Multi-generations 32% 36%
Both Children And Parents 25% 26%
Grandchildren 11% 15%
Grandparents 5% 5%
None Of These 68% 64%

Source: AAA


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Tags: family, multigenerational travel, tourism

Photo credit: One third of American plan to take a multi-generational vacation this year. Fabrice Florin / Flickr

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