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Friday, March 18, 2011

GrandTravel - An Intriguing Twist on Multi-Generational Travel

Much has been said about the boom in multi-generational travel in recent years, but increasingly, grandparents are spending their leisure time, and their dollars, with the grandkids and leaving the parents at home. This intriguing twist on the trend, known in the industry as grandtravel, is becoming an important segment of the leisure travel market “simply because our population continues to age,” said Peter Yesawich, chairman and CEO of YPartnership, an Orlando, Fla.-based marketing research firm that tracks travel trends.

“Fully three out of 10 active leisure travelers are now grandparents, and one third of those took at least one vacation with their grandchildren during the past 12 months,” Yesawich said, adding, “…the number-one leisure activity of interest to adults over 55 years of age in this country is travel.”

But why leave out Mom and Dad? “The parents are busy paying off mortgages and cars, and they often don’t have the extra time or money,” said Helena Koenig, a Bethesda, Md.-based travel consultant and widely recognized pioneer in the concept of grandtravel. “It’s the grandparents who have the discretionary income and, for the most part, they are the ones paying.”

Just because the grandparents can afford a vacation with the kids doesn’t mean they aren’t interest in value. One time-honored way to save money, while traveling as a family, is to opt for condominium or all-suite accommodations. Guests usually get more bang for their buck in terms of square footage, and a kitchen helps defray the cost of meals.

“Families can put the money they save toward a fun activity, such as snorkeling or surfing, or even their next Hawaiian vacation,” said Teri Orton, vice president of condominium resort marketing for Outrigger Condominium Collection.

Even the most devoted grandparents may be a little rusty when it comes to hands-on parenting of teens and younger children. With that in mind, cruise lines consistently win kudos for keeping young passengers entertained and adults fully engaged with onboard activities and shore excursions.

Regardless of the nature of the rip, grandtravel is special because it is frequently born of the grandparents’ desire to share destinations that have personal significance for them. “They may pick Paris because it was where they honeymooned, or Ireland because that is where their family originated,” Koenig said. “Whatever the case, you can give grandchildren silverware, bank accounts, or pictures of relatives, but nothing matters as much as the time you give them when you take them somewhere special to you.”

For more information on family trips and ideas check out our monthly newsletter.

Contact: Austin-Lehman Adventures – http://www.austinlehman.com/, Azul Fives Hotel – www. karismahotels.com, Crystal Cruises – http://www.crystalcruises.com/, Offbeat Safaris – http://www.offbeatsafaris.com/, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts – http://www.outriggercondos.com/

by: Felicity Long, Family Getaways
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