Planning a multi-generational getaway that will keep everyone in your family happy can be challenging. In my family we have four generations and we plan a getaway together at least once every year. Our group ranges in age from 5 to 77 so there’s a lot to consider. The first step is choosing the right destination and then the right lodging. With theme parks and numerous resorts, Orlando is always a good option.
Survey the family and choose wisely
The key to planning a successful multi-generational getaway is to take an honest look at everyone’s interests, abilities and income. It takes a little extra effort but it is worth it in the end. My family plans a getaway every year and the first obstacle is deciding on a location. We’re spread out all over the country – New York, Chicago, Chattanooga and Orlando. Since my kids and grandkids are all in the Orlando area, it’s an easy destination for us to arrange. Besides, they are the ones raising families and flights can be expensive for families, so it’s an economical bonus too. Fortunately, Orlando has so many attractions and resort lodging options that they don’t mind a staycation one bit.
Finding lodging that works for family time
OK, so Orlando is the destination, now it’s time to pick the best lodging option. Because of the varied ages and interests of our family members, we tend to have one rule when we plan our annual getaway – we will meet up for dinner. If you choose Orlando as your multi-generational getaway, chances are some if not all of your group will want to spend at least a portion of the day at one of the many theme parks. But I find it is unrealistic to expect everyone to want to see the same attraction at a theme park or even to last the same amount of time. But since the point of planning a getaway as a family is to actually be together, having a place where you can eat dinner together and enjoy your down time is important.
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For that reason, I always prefer to rent a vacation rental over staying in hotels. Having one or two condos, or a house with three to four bedrooms works much better for our group. And having a kitchen is a must with a big group. In our family we typically take turns cooking dinner so that no one has to do all the work. Sure, we all love to dine out in restaurants, but getting the little ones to be patient while the adults chat around the dinner table after the food is gone isn’t fun for anyone – least of all the kiddos. With a kitchen, we can cook our own dinners and spend as much time as we want reminiscing and telling family tales around the table while the young ones run off and play.
Also a house or condo will have a living room where the entire family can hang out, play games and catch up. It’s so much better than staying in hotel rooms with no place to congregate as a group. And, when the little ones go to bed, the parents, grandparents and great grandparents can have a nightcap and continue the togetherness.
It’s all about the amenities
While my family may not agree about everything, there is one thing we all agree on – wherever we stay, there must be a pool! With the kids’ school schedules, our family getaways are usually in the summer months. And let’s face it, Orlando is hot…really hot. After a day running around the theme parks or taking in any of the other Orlando attractions, the pool is the best place to go to cool off.
In fact, it is likely that our group will just spend the entire day at the pool. The New York and Chicago contingents will likely want to soak up the sunshine and the kids will spend hours in the pool until their little hand look like shriveled up prunes! And if there happens to be a water slide we may have to drag them kicking and screaming out of the pool.
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Another amenity that is popular with our group is a fitness center. My husband always finds time for a workout when we’re traveling and even the grandkids will join him if they get the chance. And if we can score a place with access to a spa, everyone is happy.
While some websites offer private homes as vacation rentals, I prefer a resort location specifically for the amenities. Many Orlando vacation rentals offer condos as well as three and four bedroom homes. Alternatively, there are two and three bedroom suites that have full kitchens and living rooms along with all the best amenities and maid service – because while we might agree to taking turns in the kitchen, no one really wants to clean the bathrooms…ever.
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It all comes down to quality together time and the numerous Orlando resort vacation rentals available make it possible with minimal effort.