Our Enchanted 2017 Multigenerational Vacation in Sedona, Arizona at the Enchantment Resort and the Grand Canyon: Part I Top Twelve Tips for Planning

Grand CanyonWhen a multigenerational family reaches an even dozen, and is still growing, preplanning for a vacation takes on a new dimension.  We planned in advance on how and when to experience the Enchantment Resort and the Grand Canyon and Grandpa and I previewed both ahead of time to see if it was worth the cost and effort to bring the whole family.  Yes, it is!

There are some basic tips to follow for any multigenerational family vacation, and they are worth repeating for ours at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona with a day at the Grand Canyon:

*Consider and respect the in-law families, and do not monopolize every year.  Even if the other family does not do a multigenerational family vacation in the off years, do not do yours more than once every other year or every third year.  Besides, taking a dozen or more people away for a vacation is complicated and expensive.  Because of family circumstances, not the least of which was the luxury and luxurious price of the resort, we waited a few years to experience the Enchantment Resort and it was worth the wait.

*Consider what you can afford to spend, and, if possible, choose only what you can pay for, paying for the entire family, including travel.  You can consider it gifts for the adults in the family, holidays and birthdays wrapped up on one package every other year, instead of trying to figure out what to get everyone.  The parents of our grandchildren are busy and have many expenses raising children.  Make it a vacation for them too by covering as much of the multigenerational family vacation expenses as you can, preferably all of them.  If money is tight, it can be a ‘staycation” in the area of each of the grandchildren, going to special places in their towns, saving hotel and food costs.  Just google ‘staycation ideas’ with the location.  In Florida, everyone forgets that Everglades National Park is a world heritage site and in our backyard.

*Consider vacation time available to the working parents of your grandchildren.  The nuclear family wants vacation time alone too.  Four to five nights is the maximum we allot to a multi-generational family, and it should include a holiday, for less time off from work or school.  Our family determined Memorial Day weekend works best for all, and an expanded day or two works for us, cutting costs and crowds.  Yes, the children miss a day or two of school. After several holiday vacations, this Grandma found that a vacation over a holiday weekend was a little more expensive, but resorts provide more amenities and special events over holidays so it is worth the extra cost.  To maximize benefits and help lower expenses, consider arriving the Saturday of the holiday and staying past the holiday day, when prices lower and upgrades become available.  Because of the distance to Arizona and more travel time for most of the family (long flights and two hour drive north from Phoenix airport), everyone planned and we waited until we could take five nights in a row, planning three nights after the holiday weekend to take advantage of lower rates and less crowds for activities after Monday, Memorial Day.

*Consider the interests of the parents of the grandchildren as well as the grandchildren.  Some families like to rent a big house, but remember if the parents of the grandchildren are going to have to do housekeeping and child care anyway, it may not seem like a vacation to them. Add a home rental to the choices in a location, and see what happens.  If it is a “vacation,” everyone should be considered in the planning.  Send out requests for suggestions, or pick two or three places and ask for comments.  Our adult children like a self contained resort with amenities and activities and housekeeping so we look for such, and the Enchantment fit what they want perfectly.

*Build anticipation through planning.  Consider time alone for each nuclear family, each families’ specific interests, and include information that each family might want to do.  Do the same for each individual and his or her interests. This Grandma prides herself on organization and a detailed and formal itinerary helps when you are traveling with a large group.  Yes, it can be varied, but it is good to have a blueprint.

Build anticipation with “save the date’ emails, emails about special things in the area, and even books for the adults and grandchildren.  We sent the grandchildren two books to peruse with their parents:

Sedona: Treasure of the Southwest Buy at Amazon:

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin.  Buy at Amazon:

I added a pocket to the back of the Sedona book, in which I added Vortex information (although all of Sedona is a vortex, the Enchantment Resort is in Sedona’s “Mother” vortex, the most sacred spiritual place of the American Indians who still make pilgrimages there) and maps I compiled, the “Save the Date,” and the preliminary itinerary.  I sent these to the grandchildren and their parents several weeks before the vacation for the parents to read and review with the grandchildren.

I created a Resort arrival package for each family which included the final itinerary, maps to every place and restaurant we were going outside of the Enchantment Resort, and detailed Canyon Ranch information and maps, including vortex maps.  Yes, it was chronologically organized and tabbed.  It included each individual’s specific activities days and times so we all knew when some of us would be breaking from the group, and the grandchildren might need to be watched.

* Children remember rituals and traditions from their childhood.  Create those in your multigenerational family vacations so they will have fond memories of grandma and grandpa after we are gone.

*Consider your goals as grandparents for the multigenerational vacation.  We want contained resorts that allow us to spend quality time together, but also want a special dimension, to expose the grandchildren to our interests.  Sedona allowed us to introduce the grandchildren to the best of America: Sedona’s natural beauty and spirituality and to the Grand Canyon, a wonder of the world, as our bucket list includes experiencing all the wonders of the world.

Our last mulitgenerational family vacation to the Sanctuary Resort in Kiawah Island allowed us to introduce our grandchildren to Charleston, South Carolina, a world heritage site and city.  See Our Multigenerational Vacation 2014: Charleston and The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, S.C. Part I: Anticipation

Our Multigenerational Vacation 2014: Charleston and The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, S.C. Part II: Touring Charleston, S.C. with Children

Our Multigenerational Vacation 2014: Charleston and The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, S.C. Part III: Kiawah Island, S.C. with Grandchildren

*Consider getting an American Express Platinum card for luxury multigenerational vacations.  For the Enchantment in Sedona, we had four casita rooms (more for selection and location in the resort in the next post).  We received five nights for the price of four (one night free), breakfast credits per room per day, free twelve noon check in and four pm checkout (adding two days to the experience), per room spa or golf credit, and complimentary upgrade upon availability.  Upgrades are hard to come by on holiday weekends, however, by coming Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and staying until the following Thursday, an upgrade, the living room between the two queen bedrooms in the casita (with a murphy bed and single sleeper sofa, with an extra bathroom and kitchen) became available for the last three nights which meant three grandchildren could sleep in an extra room and we had extra space for lounging.  As grandparents we had a separate king, away from the chaos of the grandchildren for a time.  We planned for the adults without children to have privacy in a king too. There are many benefits in addition to this which make the card worth checking out.

*Yes, think Disney when the grandchildren are young, and Universal as they get to be nine or ten and older.  As grandparents, you will remember how tired you were of taking your children to various Orlando parks.  For some reason, seeing it anew through the eyes of each subsequent grandchild just brings joy. Disney’s resort at Vero Beach is a hidden gem! See the next tip with links to all Disney and Universal multigenerational family vacation ideas.  However, when you are done with Disney for the entire family, break out the families with the youngest grandchildren for separate time at Disney, and wait a year or two for the multigenerational trip for the entire family, as we did by taking the youngest grandchildren last year.

*Memorialize the vacation with a personal book of photographs made on Shutterfly or Chatbooks.  We give each grandchild their own book and each set of adults their own book.  Shutterfly has frequent specials and coupons.  Consider other ways to memorialize the vacation.  See previous post: Grandma’s Top Ten of “Travel and Leisure Magazine’s Thirty three Brilliant Ways to Actually Use Your Travel Photos” for Grandchildren to Remember Our Multigenerational Family Vacations

Grandma’s Top Ten of “Travel and Leisure Magazine’s Thirty three Brilliant Ways to Actually Use Your Travel Photos” for Grandchildren to Remember Our Multigenerational Family Vacations

 

*Here are more tips and links to previous multigenerational vacation posts as of 2016: Tips on Giving The Gift Of Travel To Family and Grandchildren, Multigenerational, With Grandchildren, and Best Family Itineraries Around the United States and World

*You must make prior reservations for everything, activities and meals, especially on holiday weekends and for a large group.  Tripadvisor is essential for finding activities and restaurants with high ratings, and those that accommodate special needs.  You can check “children’s menus” in search for restaurants.  I added a check for “gluten free menus” to get those we chose for our family.  They might not be the top rated restaurants in town, but they were the top rated for our family’s specific needs and likes. Finally, with such a large group, always reconfirm everything a week or two before and a day before.  Restaurants will love you, especially when holding a table for twelve.

Next, to our selection of Sedona and the Enchantment Resort, and how to get the best of both.  See blog post II for our pure

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

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