– March 2011

Travel For Families That Don’t Get Along
March 14, 2011 – by Lisa Rogak

“This is a family vacation and you’re gonna have a good time whether you like it or not!”

I don’t recall if this line was from National Lampoon’s Vacation or from an ex-husband’s childhood memories, but it does seem to capture the forced happiness that is part and parcel of many families who vacation together.

So I dug up a few travel packages and offers from resorts and destinations that cater to this distinct group, at least some of the time. Here’s what came up:

*Stephanie Wilson of Vista Verde, a luxury guest ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, believes it has the perfect vacation for the disagreeing family. “Not every family shares the exact same interests, and with the addition of our full-size, heated indoor riding arena, winter riding has taken off so there is just one more option for those who want to try different activities,” she says. “One can spa, another ski, another can go wine tasting, and another can ride.” Then they can all reconnect over meals in the Lodge…or not.

*Annette Walton tells of Redland House, a vacation rental home in North Devon, England that is ideal for families that dont get along. “The house has 11 bedrooms and can sleep up to 22,” she says. “There’s a dining room where everyone can congregate in the evening, but be sure to get the caterers in so there are no arguments as to who is cooking! We have a large garden to the front, side and rear so there’s plenty of space to hide if you want. There are also nearby beaches for little kids and surfers.” Families can also go quad biking, kayaking, do the high ropes, visit gardens, tea shops, and theme parks.

*Phil Marino runs Mouse Counselors, a travel agency that specializes in travel to Disney Destinations. “We deal with this issue quite often,” he says. “With the family reunions and large gatherings that many families plan at Disney World Resort, some involve delicate family dynamics.

“Many people think of Disney World of just having rides and character meals, but there are plenty of activities suited to any type of vacationer,” he adds. Some include: spa treatments, parasailing, horseback riding, Segway tours, golf, fishing excursions, Cirque de Soleil, dinner shows, the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and much more.”

*Eileen P. Gunn, who’s launching an upcoming family-travel website called FamiliesGo!, has gone on several triple-generation vacations herself, and though she doesn’t consider herself to be a cruise person, she prefers cruises for families that don’t necessarily like to spend most of their vacation together. “There’s absolutely something for everyone,” she says.

“I got up every morning, did yoga, and got a foot and scalp massage at the spa while my husband went to an art auction and cooking demonstration. Then we went to a beer tasting together. My father-in-law went to martini tastings and won the ship’s poker tournament and my mother in law mostly laid around the pool. And we all took turns watching my daughter at the kiddie pool, which she loved. We could make our own way to breakfast but also run into each other there. We ate dinner together a few nights and on our own a few nights. Even if we were together we didn’t necessarily need to eat at the same time. We could take turns drifting from the pool to the buffet.”