Multi-Gen Trip with Teens: How to Plan

Planning a multi-gen trip for families with teenagers can be a lot of fun…if you have the right strategy! I see these trips during holiday weeks as well as during the summer. One big takeaway from the Pandemic was to enjoy time together and not take it for granted. Here are some steps to help you get started-before you make even one plan!

Multi-gen Means Multi-opinion

Involve everyone in the planning: Include all family members, including teenagers, in the decision-making process. Ask for their input on destinations, activities, and accommodations. This will ensure that everyone feels included and has a say in the vacation plans. I think the best way to do this is to conduct a poll with limited options. Guide everyone in the process so it doesn’t get out of hand. I use a ranking system so that it’s fair and everyone can see how a decisions was ultimately made.

A Multi-gen Vacation Destination

Choose the right destination: Look for destinations that offer a wide range of activities and attractions suitable for different age groups. Consider places that have a mix of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and entertainment options. It’s essential to find a destination that has something to offer for both adults and teenagers, as well as those in the middle and on the fringes like young children. Keep a running list of destinations that appeal to your family so you have a few ideas at the ready. Here is a list of multi-gen destination ideas for you to get you thinking.

scene looking out onto the Aegean Sea from a beach on Naxos island in Greece. Blue skies, white poofy clouds, turquoise water, white sands and a coral and white striped towel

A Multi-gen Accommodation

Research family-friendly accommodations: Look for accommodations that cater to families with teenagers. Some hotels and resorts provide amenities and facilities like game rooms, swimming pools, and organized activities for teenagers. Vacation rentals or apartments can also be a good option, as they provide more space and flexibility for larger families. Keep a keen eye out for too much catering to young children as teens will feel left out.

Multi-gen Activities

Plan a mix of activities: To keep everyone engaged and entertained, plan a mix of activities that cater to different interests and energy levels. Consider options like hiking, beach activities, theme parks, city tours, water sports, museums, and shopping. Absolutely allow for some downtime as well, where everyone can relax and recharge and the teens can get that closed off time. Make an attempt for at least one activity to include everyone. An example might be a luau in Hawaii. Everyone needs to eat, it’s low impact and includes entertainment.

a group of teenagers on top of a mountain viewpoint from a hike in Olympic National Park

The Right Multi-gen Itinerary

Create a flexible itinerary: While it’s good to have a general plan, make sure to keep the schedule flexible. Teenagers may have different preferences and moods, so be open to making adjustments to accommodate their needs and interests. Allow for a few opt-in or opt-out so individuals or smaller groups can pursue their own activities. Change up the time schedule so that some mornings start early and some evenings go late.

Teen Freedom

Encourage independent exploration: Give teenagers some freedom to explore on their own within boundaries. Depending on the destination and their age, they might enjoy going out with friends or siblings to discover local attractions, try new foods, or engage in age-appropriate activities. Make sure to establish clear rules and guidelines.

aerial view of BVI's at sunrise showcasing yellowish skies and purple waters with sailboat dotting the harbour

The Purpose of a Multi-gen Vacation

Consider group activities: Organize activities that can be enjoyed as a group, such as group hikes, cooking classes, or team-building games. This will help foster bonding and create shared experiences among family members. These are the memories everyone will come home with.


Communicate and compromise: Encourage open communication among family members. Discuss expectations, preferences, and any concerns before the trip. Be willing to compromise and find a balance between everyone’s interests and desires. Not everyone will get their top choices all the time, but it is important to make sure everyone gets one thing to be excited about. Celebrate each other’s preferences!


Capture and share memories: Encourage teenagers to capture and share their vacation experiences through photos, videos, or journaling. This not only helps create lasting memories but also allows them to express themselves and share their perspective on the trip. As an added bonus, make a memory book of all the photos from the trip as a gift for the future.

Remember, the key to planning a successful multi-gen vacation for families with teenagers is to involve everyone in the process, consider individual preferences, and create a balance between group and independent activities. Enjoy the journey and create unforgettable memories together!

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