Does time away from our families during the pandemic mean that we’ll be taking them all on vacation?
Of all the lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic, one that has resonated profoundly is that time is our most valuable commodity. Of course, that particular axiom isn’t some insightful new observation, but it is one that takes on a higher degree of power when your time is taken away from you for a longer period than you ever thought possible. Time spent with family, with friends, with colleagues (the ones you actually like), or doing the things you love. So, with mass vaccination programs underway and genuine light at the end of the tunnel, it makes a lot of sense that we’ll appreciate that time a whole lot more and will want to maximize every precious moment.
But, among a plethora of hot takes hypothesizing as to what the world of travel will look like post-pandemic, is the concept of greater multigenerational travel a realistic trend? So far, the statistics would say yes, and the reasons why go beyond simply wanting to reconnect with loved ones after a frustratingly protracted break.
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However, it’s not just the joy of spending quality time with family again that makes multigenerational travel attractive. Safety is still an issue and an uncertain next couple of years means that trips to busy resorts or popular cities are still something of a risk, especially for family members in a more vulnerable age bracket. Often coming with plenty of outdoor space, the chance to spend relatively risk-free time in a beautiful location is why interest in vacations to villas and private homes is seeing growth in the early part of 2021.
Speaking with Travel Weekly in December, CV Villas head of marketing Pete Brudenell said that they had “seen an uplift over the last three weeks and at the end of last week we were up 33% year on year.”
He continued, “We’ve seen new bookings increase 7% in share versus repeat. Which may suggest more people moving from hotel holidays.”
Families who are happy to embrace more active outdoor lifestyles also follow the recent trend toward more responsible ways of traveling. Cycling breaks, one of the eco-friendliest ways to see the world, are an interesting sub-category of multi-generational travel, and their naturally socially-distanced nature makes them an alluring option for a 2021 vacation. They can also easily form part of a family road trip and is one of a number of reasons why domestic travel—including road trips in particular—could bounce back strongly this summer.
Staying in private villas and rental homes—particularly in domestic destinations—comes with a tempting financial advantage, too. With the aviation industry still facing an uncertain future and the constantly changing status of international borders and their COVID entry requirements, the opportunity to save money while mitigating risk seems a no-brainer.
David Hartman of Florida-based travel agency Fantastic Endeavours said, “I expect the demand for villa vacations to increase as families save money on long haul airfare and invest savings into a longer stay in one house for the entire family.”
A trip involving three generations of the same family, however, doesn’t come without its issues. The usually short-lived family arguments will always take place, but there will also be the issue of mobility, particularly with more elderly relatives coming along for the ride. It’s why one sage piece of advice could be to book larger spaces instead of cozy ones as, along with creating a more COVID-secure environment, it also doesn’t take very long for situations to go from calm to chaotic when the kids are around. And of course, the space will be useful if there are especially large families traveling.
“We have seen an increased demand for larger accommodations, especially ones with outdoor areas,” said Nadim Barrage, manager at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach in Florida.
Ultimately though, the pandemic has made many of us think about how to take more meaningful journeys and one new travel trend that could break out eventually is ancestral tourism. Looking further into the future to a time when passing through international borders can be done with more ease, the opportunity to explore one’s heritage as part of a vacation could be a hugely fulfilling way to travel as a family, especially for the older generations.
With so many families in the U.S. able to trace their roots to distant countries alongside companies such as 23andme offering a comprehensive breakdown of family lineage, the ability to explore our past has never been easier. Whether these possibilities will lead to a surge in multigenerational vacation bookings back to those ancestral homelands remains to be seen, but the allure of making a deeper connection and the appreciation of quality time together will be stronger than ever.