Unlike many American nuclear families, the Indian family unit is a large one. This can lead to a major hassle when planning a family vacation.
While the elders in the family might be drawn to more traditional pursuits, your wife might only want to step out for a romantic dinner. On the other hand, the kids would only be drawn towards excitement and adventure. Is it, therefore, possible to have a trip that is truly “fun for the entire family?”
It can be hard when you have your grandparents, kids, and people of your own generation (including you) travelling together, but there are a few ways you can put together a trip that the whole family will cherish as happy memories in the future.
Pick the right trip
Even though there are “classic” destinations that everyone does at least once in their life, you have to keep in mind the diverse needs of your kids, spouse, the slightly older aunt or uncle, as well as the older generation.
It’s advisable to not make assumptions, however, based on age differences. For example, your son might want to “chill” by the side of a pool after a tough school semester, while the physically active grandparents might actually look forward to a trip with a hike thrown in. Therefore, be willing to ask questions about their interests.
Find versatile destinations
After understanding their needs, identify destinations with a variety of activities that suit everybody. For example, Rajasthan combines adventure and sightseeing (with palaces, forts, forests), shopping for traditional handicrafts, and the world class hotels have modern facilities for relaxation. Relaxation facilities include massages, spas, swimming pools and modern entertainment systems.
While mature teenagers are easier to manage, you need to keep an eye out for the younger kids and the grandparents. This can include discussing a variety of safety measures in case anyone gets lost, buying a few cheap cellphones to use in case of emergencies and more.
It is also important to address everyone’s medical needs. Kids need to be taught the usage of basic first aid, as well as using any ailment-relevant medical equipment (e.g. an asthma inhaler). Make an inventory of medicines, and always take stock of essentials like water and medicines before stepping out of your hotel.
Give everyone their own personal space
The goal of a family vacation isn’t necessarily to have everyone glued together for 24 hours a day. What matters is that everyone is having a good time, learning new things and is safe.
At a big resort, for example, there are many activities for everyone in the family. The kids can be splashing in the pool, supervised by the lifeguards, or enjoying themselves in the playing area. The grandparents can relax and soak in the sun at outdoor seating areas and there are bars and restaurants where you and your spouse can spend some time together. You can always keep dinner as an “everyone gets together” time and discusses how the day went.