Holiday with grandparents Travel

Know what skip-gen holidays are all about?

One for the album Bonding time between generations

One for the album Bonding time between generations   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto - EvgeniiAnd

This summer, kids are waving goodbye to their parents and heading on skip-gen holidays

Halfway into the year, a lot is still being written about cross-generational or skip-gen travel. Said to be among the top travel trends for 2018, the concept of grandparents and grandchildren taking off without the intervening generation — parents — seems to have caught the fancy of many travellers abroad. In today’s bustling world, how else can two generations spend time with each other and speak about shared memories?

However, India seems to have reacted differently to the trend, because skip-gen has always been the way children travelled in summers. Divya Krishnan, 28, who works in the automotive industry in Stuttgart, has fond memories of travelling with her grandfather from Coimbatore to Delhi, during her Class III holidays. “We went by train, and he bought me my first cup of train tea. We did all things touristy. He took me to the Qutb Minar, India Gate, Agra, narrated the history of the place. Even today, Delhi is very close to my heart because of the stories he told me,” she says. Recently, she took her husband on a memory tour of sorts to the same places she visited with her grandfather.

Vajresh Balaji, an undergraduate student at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, recalls hearing his mother speak fondly about a road trip with her paternal grandparents from Madras to Kadiri in Anantapur, and his father’s memories of travelling with his paternal grandparents to Madras and Bengaluru when he was just 12.

Why do grandchildren like travelling with grandparents? A big reason is the freedom, says Krishnan. “They are less restrictive, they let you be.”

At a time when quite a few grandparents have opted out of caring full-time for grandkids, these breaks provide opportunities to bond. And, that’s the space skip-gen holidays seek to address. Daniel D’Souza, President and Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel, says that “this generation of retired grandparents has more time on its hands to spend with family and grandchildren, and opts to explore new destinations with them. The preferred spots are hill stations and theme parks or cruises.”

across borders
  • London
  • The kids and grandparents can head to Hyde Park Gardens. While the elders walk around the park, rest and take in the sights at their own pace, the children head out to shop at Oxford Street, walk and do all things kids their age do in London, before meeting up with the family and spending the evening together.
  • Singapore
  • Universal Studios, which has something for everyone, the bird park, safari, and lots of street shopping.
  • Japan
  • A happy mix of a deeply traditional society and cutting-edge modernity that can appeal to both ends of the age spectrum.
  • Rishikesh and Haridwar
  • Pilgrimage-cum-adventure break. Some soul-searching with the grandparents followed by an adventure rush while rafting.
  • Bhutan and the Andamans
  • The mountains and water-bodies trigger conversation and bonding.
  • Kenya
  • Check out the safaris, stay in jungle lodges and take in a slice of life in the great African outdoors.
  • Granada in Andalusia, Spain
  • The Alhambra is a must-visit, as are the various parks in the popular tourist destination.

Popular destinations for skip-gen travel are cities and countries where there is enough to do for either generation. For instance, Canada, New Zealand, the US, the UK, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong have options for the young set (ranging in age from eight to 15) as well as more relaxing ones for those elder.

D’Souza says that the requests in India peak around summer, when two generations seek to spend time in a place away from home. The trend is slowly catching up and has the potential to grow.

Know what skip-gen holidays are all about?

Romil Pant, Senior Vice-President, Holidays, Thomas Cook India, says that, historically, Indians have always travelled with grandparents. “We have a high level of interaction between generations. And so, skip-gen holidays as a concept already exists here, and does not need to evolve. My generation and those before and those that followed enjoyed breaks with the grandparents,” adds Pant.

Thomas Cook does receive requests for such holidays, as it always has, he says. This usually happens just as grandkids finish high school. “The parents are working through the summer, and this arrangement works out well.” Pant says that these holidays usually feature a package with accommodation and breakfast and dinner. “They typically head out after breakfast, take in the same sights or split and do their own thing, and return to spend time together again.”

Foreign destinations are more suited for this kind of travel, because they are senior-citizen friendly. “You have ramps, wheelchairs, separate walking and cycling tracks. This perfectly suits the grandparent of today, who seeks choices,” he adds.

Cruises are popular choices too, because they allow you to live out of a shared space, which is packed with entertainment options for all age groups. There are musicals, casinos and vibrant dance floors to keep people busy during the holiday. Another plus is that a cruise is an all-inclusive trip and works out to be more economical.

If you wish to travel locally, check out the cruise from Mumbai to Goa, to be managed by Mumbai Port Trust and Angriya Sea Eagle. It is to start operations in a couple of months.

Skip-gen holidays come with one caveat, though. They are ideally not meant for those wanting to tick places off a bucket list. “This is about leisure, not just touching a place and moving on. It’s about soaking in the atmosphere,” says Pant.

And so, literature-loving children and their equally interested grandparents could do a Shakespeare-themed tour, those fond of cooking can take up a tour that offers a sampling of a region’s cuisine, some classes, farm visits and the like.

The idea is to have fun, return and reminisce about the time spent, till it is time to pack the bags for the next break.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 4:08:24 PM |

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