Multigenerational travel is trending and for good reason.
There’s a Trendy term for this type of travel, but you wouldn’t know it by one.
It’s like a babymoon, a vacation taken by parents-to-be before the birth of their child (which is also travel-trendy), but 10 to 16 years later. Give up?
Skip-gen travel is grandparents traveling with their grandchildren without the parents along, hence skipping a generation, or gen.
“Not sure of the name’s origination, but the concept is becoming very popular,” says Melissa Gutting, sales and development manager at the River Falls office of Travel Leaders. “I don’t know if it’s because of COVID[-19], but I think we’ve developed a deeper appreciation for experiences, and traveling with a grandchild is an experience.”
Gutting has found that many skip-gen trips are centered around celebrations, with birthdays and graduations being the most popular.
“I have a client who takes every grandchild on a trip of their choice after they turn 16,” Gutting says. “I have others who take their grandchildren all over Europe. In one family, grandpa travels with the male grandchildren, grandma with the females.”
A common theme is simplicity.
“They’re generally escorted tours,” Gutting says. “They don’t want to get somewhere and spend half their trip planning.”
Cruises are popular, as are theme parks.
It’s recommended that grandparents traveling with their grandchildren do so with documentation of parental consent.
“You want a notarized and signed letter from both parents stating that it’s OK for the child to be traveling with a grandparent or grandparents,” Gutting says. “There’s not an official form, but we have a mock-up you can follow.”
A medical consent form is also recommended, as is bringing a copy of a birth certificate, copies of health insurance cards, picture IDs (school or library card) and a recent photo.
As one can imagine, domestic travel is different from international travel. A passport, for all ages, is required for international travel.
Gutting adds that travel rules and restrictions can differ by country. As an example, she says minors traveling without their parents to the Dominican Republic need to check in at the consulate upon arrival. “You’ll want to be well informed before you go,” she says.
In Gutting’s experience, most skip-gen trips average five to seven days in duration. Most occur over a break in school or outside the school year.
“Missing school was more of a concern pre-COVID,” Gutting says. “Now, there’s more online learning opportunities, which makes the world smaller.”
Travel, on the other hand, makes the world larger. John Steinbeck once said, “People don’t take trips; trips take people.” Sounds like an experience.
Mickey Mouse Operation
After winning the 1987 Super Bowl, New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms shouted, “I’m going to Disney World.” While Simms was the first paid athlete to make that public declaration, the desire to go to Disney continues today.
Coincidentally, Disney is a popular skip-gen travel destination.
Options include Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida; Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California; and the Disney Cruise Line. On a map, that’s East Coast, West Coast and everything on the perimeter.
Theme parks are at the top of many skip-gen travel lists as they check lots of boxes. They’re accessible. They’re structured, and they’re fun.
“One of the concerns when planning these trips is that there’s enough for the child to do,” Gutting says. “That makes a full schedule really important.”
Disney has that covered.
“You don’t want to miss out seeing your grandchild see Mickey Mouse for the first time,” Gutting says. The same goes for Cinderella, Donald Duck, Snow White and Winnie the Pooh.