Travel

Vacations With Your Children In Their Twenties

image5 ship 2017Vacationing with your youngsters was easy. If they got tired of culture, a neighborhood park was fun. Watching squirrels and birds was a blast. Twenty somethings are more of a challenge to keep them amused. Going on vacation requires plenty of pre-planning for this age group. One friend says that her sons want to go to “hot spots to pick up chicks.” A trip to Iceland was fascinating for these young men. -hiking among waterfalls, over lava rocks and being awed by geysers. At night while she and her husband rested their old bones, the lads went clubbing. All were happy.

Choosing destinations that will keep older teens and ones in their twenties entertained is important.

A lovely resort on a small island was magical for my young sons. The children’s club was top-notch where they were exposed to Caribbean culture, songs and cooking. The boys learned about marine life while strolling along the beach and the rainforest was their outdoor classroom. Fast forward a decade. Two bored teens begged their former playroom teachers to let them come back with the little ones for various activities. Learned my lesson. We recently went to Dominican Republic which is a larger island with more action, such as ziplining. There is the Water World complex which has marine life, events and a casino. They were pleased. The mountains were breath-taking and that alone was enough for me.

Our latest trip to the Caribbean was a cruise. On quieter islands – more known for beaches than nightlife – my twenty something companions found entertainment on board. There were shows, games, dancing, and staff who were their ages. My older son befriended two who worked in the Dutch Café. He had been to their homeland, The Netherlands, and enjoyed talking with them every evening over cappuccino or beer. These lively young adults were the highlight of my son’s cruise. At the beginning of a cruise, there is a gathering scheduled for singles. On one, it was for twenty somethings only and this group hung out together most of the time.

Traveling with twenty somethings who have much younger siblings can be tricky.

The islands that we explored have attractions for a wide variety of ages. The brightly painted buildings in Curaçao are stunning. Its city Willemstad, one of the larger ones we visited, has an aquarium and maritime museum which are appealing. Wandering around the centuries old alleyways is an adventure in itself. The twenty somethings enjoyed the nightlife and the fireworks display. Aruba has a butterfly farm and a compact downtown area very close to the pier. Easy to navigate with a stroller and charming pubs with local brew for the young adults. We spent most of our time on Gran Turk at the beach. There is an informative exhibit of when astronaut John Glen landed here after being the first American to orbit Earth.

Bonaire is a paradise with water so clear one can look down and see beautiful tropical fish and coral. No wonder it is one of the dive capitals of the world. While older ones are part-taking in the plethora of water sports, the youngsters can splash around in the warm ocean. The shells, coral and beach glass washed ashore are amazing. To get to the city (Kralendijk) from the pier, one goes through the historical Fort Oranje whose walls are partially constructed with coral. The shops and cafes contained within these walls are patrolled by iguanas. Kids of varying ages will enjoy the craft markets particularly on Dominican Republic and Bonaire. Talking to the locals and seeing their wares was educational and fun at these venues.

A cruise is a good way to have a family reunion when there are three generations with various interests and energy levels. Look for resorts or hotels that have a kids ‘club, and activities, such as water sports. The older ones can learn surfing, go snorkelling and swim in deeper water. The wee ones enjoy sitting on the beach making sandcastles or playing with a plastic bucket and spade (which I would pack). For city adventures, the tots can be wheeled around in a stroller when exploring the new locale with the whole family. After doing sightseeing that is interesting to all, the older siblings can part ways to concentrate on what they want to do. Parents sometimes travel with a paid nanny to take the baby back for a nap or playtime. Others like me, bring along a granny. My mother would get tired tramping around ruins and museum at about the same time as my youngest. Those two would head back to the hotel or ship for down time.

Tips on making vacations more affordable.

  • US News & World Report has information on credit cards with no transaction fees creditcards.usnews.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee Make sure that you are billed in local currency on your credit card and not in US Dollars. The venders’ exchange rate is higher. My credit card is with an airline and I use it for almost all purchases. I get at least one free trip overseas each year.
  • Skip the expensive internet packages aboard ships. It is easy to find free Wi-Fi at coffee shops in ports and cities. Soft drink packages can also be pricey. Satisfy your craving ashore. If you are planning on cruising again, passengers can get extra discounts when booking for another one while still onboard.
  • Consider making purchases more in the middle of a city. In Curaçao, one son reported beer was almost half the price three streets from the harbor front. In Prague I paid more than double for crystal necklaces bought on the Old Town Square.
  • Consider booking directly with the hotel or wherever you are going. In London, I e-mail the hotel and since they know me, they give a much lower rate than available on any discount site. Book early for better prices. Be on an e-mail list for last minute deals. A friend and I went on a European river cruise when we were able to grab a cabin a week or so before departure.

When travelling with family of vastly different ages, pack your sense of humour and curiosity. Leave expectations at home.