Travel Tips and Advice for Vacationing with Young Adults

By Cheryl Proska

Just because the kids have grown, that doesn’t mean you have to give up family vacations. Vacation time becomes a chance for parents and offspring to reconnect. In fact, as many parents of young adults already know, family vacations can be a lot more fun when the kids get older.

But how do you plan a family trip that appeals to everyone? Choosing a location for a family vacation with young adults can be a challenging. It’s difficult to find a destination that offers a variety of entertainment and cultural options to suit a variety of ages.

Here are some travel tips for vacationing with young adults that will ensure everyone will have the best time.

Let Them Have a Say

When the kids were young, planning a trip was much easier because they were at the mercy of your choices. Be honest, Disney is fun, but it’s not your first choice for a more mature and relaxing vacation destination. Try something new!

The easiest way to choose a vacation spot is for everyone to submit the top three places they’d like to go. Gather up all the answers and see if there’s a common theme or location. Narrow those answers down to another top three list and bring it to a vote. Democracy at it’s most sane.

Cities like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Montreal are all great choices that offer a varied range of things to do for people of any age.

Don’t Try to Recapture Magic

Sometimes people try to recreate a magical vacation and it usually never lives up to expectations. Catching lightening in a bottle isn’t possible so don’t stress about recreating a wonderful trip. In fact, try to avoid “doing what you did last time,” it’s usually a recipe for disappointment. Instead, focus on creating new memories and new experiences that you’ll be able to look back on fondly.

Remember- They Have Lives Too

Many young adults discover that working life interferes with family time. Young adults aren’t always able to get home for holidays, birthdays or other major events, especially if they live far away. It’s important to not only get feedback about the destination but the best time of the year to travel too.

The simplest way to manage all of the schedules involved is to create a master calendar. Ask everyone to mark the dates they’re available and X out all the days they can’t make the trip. Or– download the Doodle app. This app is used to find the best time/date for an event. It allows you to invite participants, all of whom can submit their availability and preferences. It makes scheduling with multiple people a breeze. Check it out here.

Relaxation > Education

Most college-aged kids and young adults love adventure, cultural immersion, dining and a bustling nightlife scene. They probably want to mix beach time with zip lines or surfing and to mix swim time with spas and places to explore. In other words, no one wants to feel like they’re “working” while on a break.

For this reason, unless specifically requested, don’t suggest visiting places where education takes precedent over unwinding.

Consider Traveling Separately

Most of the stress of traveling occurs while getting to your destination. The hassle of the airport, the cramped quarters of long car rides, the long boring stretches on train or bus, these will all dump stress on the family and cause tension before anyone even unpacks a bathing suit.

One solution could be to travel separately to the destination if it makes sense. If you’re in the position to, pay for the kid’s travel expenses and help them plan accordingly but suggest voyaging solo so that everyone is excited to see one another at the intended destination.

After reaching the destination, here are some quick tips to keep everyone happy with the trip and one another.

  • Give them the same space they get at home: Keep in mind that your college-aged kids go hours, even days, without getting in contact with you or your spouse. You trust them on campus; why not trust them when traveling? Don’t try to keep tabs on them 24/7
  • Don’t stay in the same room: You don’t all share the same room at home, why would you do it on vacation? Look into locations with a villa, condo or apartment where there’s shared space for the family but separate bedrooms when it comes time to crash.
  • Don’t expect them to want to do everything together: Refrain from over-scheduling your time together. Plan on some togetherness, but realize that half the fun lies in spontaneity. You are traveling with grown-ups now. They wouldn’t tell you where to be and what time, so don’t expect the same from them. Plan on being together for at least one meal a day and let the rest just happen.

Having adult kids doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to family vacations. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Need some help planning a quality trip? Visit Backroads, the world’s number 1 active travel company here! They have “family breakaway trips” which are adventurous vacations for families with older teens and 20-somethings. The possibilities are endless—now start planning!

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