4 Tips for Traveling With Your Parents

How to plan a vacation for everyone.

By Hannah Doyle

Many of us have fond memories of traveling with our parents as children, which makes going on vacation with them as adults that much more special—it’s a chance to return the favor. But depending on your parents’ age, health, and preferences, going away together can also bring its own set of challenges. Here, four tips to help make sure everyone has a good time.

Designate a point person.

Having one person in charge can significantly minimize stress and confusion. “It’s best when there is a single point person for planning who becomes the advocate for all members of the travel party and can relay their preferences,” says Dejou Marano, the cofounder of CountryBred. That person should let venues know about food allergies or any other concerns. If mobility is an issue, try planning with accessibleGO, a platform that enables travelers to search by city or interest for wheelchair-friendly activities.

Build in options.

“The most important thing is striking a balance between activities and free time, to ensure that no one gets overwhelmed or exhausted,” Marano says. “Being cognizant of each traveler’s fitness and activity level is crucial in designing an itinerary that is both thoughtfully planned and fun for all.” For example, start with a slow-paced activity that everyone can enjoy, such as wine tasting, and have more-energetic activities, like hiking, be optional. Spending some time apart will also give you more things to talk about come dinnertime.

Go all in.

Look for resorts, cruise ships, or activities that include transportation and meals to make travel that much simpler. Plus, if you have a big group, all-inclusive offerings have something for everyone. “Inclusive cruises are an awesome option for multigenerational families,” says Andrea Wallace, the co-owner of Escape With Us Vacations. “They let you be as active or as relaxed as you choose.”

Consider buying insurance.

Emergencies—such as a missed flight or lost luggage—can happen at any age, so it’s wise to invest in travel insurance. Many policies cover medical emergencies as well as everyday travel mishaps. “Be sure to do your homework as some policies are better than others,” Wallace says. “I always try to book a policy that waives any preexisting conditions, especially for older travelers.” Some insurance supplements even arrange air medical transfers to the traveler’s hospital of choice.

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: June 2019