In my twenties I considered myself an intrepid traveler. I traveled and lived abroad enough to have many “adventures” that made great stories along the lines of “Remember the time we were traveling by train from Italy to Spain and got dumped at the border at 1:00am due to a train strike in France?”….Hilarity ensues as we negotiate hotels, rental cars and buses through France…
Somehow vacation “adventures” turned into STRESS when traveling with kids, a spouse, parents and in-laws…. who all look at me in horror when my answer to “when are we going to get there,” is “well, I’m not sure where we are going yet, so I don’t know how long it will take.” Somehow the motherhood job description included travel agent, translator, entertainer and tour guide for all destinations. I admit to cutting back on international travel when my family’s priority was finding a restaurant that served chicken fingers….
But since we enjoy vacationing with extended family, we have done the gamut of family vacation options looking for the ideal family vacation:
- Walt Disney World Theme Parks. Expensive but even fun for parents if you stay on-property in a Disney Resort and can take breaks for naps (mine, not the kids).
- Beach House at the shore. Why my sister and I thought that cooking, cleaning and doing laundry for 12 would be a relaxing vacation week…I’m not sure?
By far my favorite multi-generational family vacations have been cruises!
- 3-4 day Disney Cruise was our favorite when the kids were younger. The kids had so much fun in the Kid’s clubs, we had to beg them to join us for dinner. My in-laws found a great dance band in one of the lounges and danced most nights until the wee hours. My husband and I alternated between the sun deck, sports bar, cigar bar (him) and spa (me).
- 12 day Mediterranean Cruise with Princess Cruise Lines. Our most recent
cruise to celebrate 2 graduations and a milestone birthday in our family was a Mediterranean cruise to Venice, Greece, Turkey, back to Italy, France and Spain. It was great to leave the logistics to Princess and share some of my favorite destinations with my family – stress free.
Why I love cruises for multi-generational family vacations:
- Variety of Cruise Options. With 350 ports worldwide, Cruise ships now go everywhere!
- Affordability & Savings. Food and entertainment is included in your cruise so and you can often save money over a comparable land based resort (definitely makes budgeting a vacation easier).
- Something for everyone. Most ships are now family friendly and have kids programs, teen lounges and adult-only areas. And when the kids and in-laws are happy – Mom is Happy♥
- Ease of Travel. Unpack once and arrive in a new destination each morning. Cruis
ing is a great way to see Europe! Cruising makes crossing multiple borders easy. Unpack once and wake up in a new country everyday. No worries about customs/immigration documents, language barriers, or safe drinking water.
- Land and Sea Vacations are also an option. If you want to spend more time in any port, you can easily add a pre or post hotel stay to your cruise and the cruise lines will even handle all transfers.
Remember, it is Mom’s vacation too! Here are more tips on planning stress free family vacations.
What was your best or worst family vacation of all time?