Plan a bus trip this summer and it could keep your family together. Multigenerational vacations are on the rise.
A recent study by the travel marketing firm partnership (reported in the New York Times) found that 80 percent of leisure travelers have vacationed with extended family, other families, or friends in the last five years. The study’s researchers coined a new expression – “togethering” – to describe the phenomenon of multi-household trips.
Family reunions are another huge travel trend, with gatherings ranging from an afternoon picnic at the park to Caribbean cruises. A reader survey conducted by Reunion magazine found that a typical family reunion lasts from Friday through Sunday, with attendance ranging from a handful of folks to many hundreds of close and distant relatives. Of the survey’s respondents, 46 percent said they attend a reunion annually, 26 percent get together every other year, 10 percent gather every five years, and the rest reunite sporadically.
The Travel Industry Association of America estimates that any time families are traveling, there’s a 30 percent chance they’re headed to a family reunion.
Whether you’re planning a backyard barbecue, a weekend at the lake, or an epic vacation for your extended family, successful “togethering” takes a lot of prep work.
Of the myriad logistics (communication, location, food, sleeping arrangements, group activities, expenses, and transportation), transportation – both to the event and during the event – can be the linchpin. For a lot of families, chartering a bus makes sense. Cost effectiveness, environmental impact, and togetherness are a few of the obvious benefits. But chartering a bus can also help you achieve family harmony.
Face it. If you subscribe to Murphy’s Law, you know that anything that can go wrong on a road trip will go wrong. Here are just a few of the things that will (inevitably) go wrong if you let everyone drive separately to your vacation or reunion spot.
- Someone – we’re not going to say who -- is going to get lost and refuse to stop and ask for directions, which will result in a marital spat, which could put a damper on the whole weekend.
- Someone is going to arrive late (which is the story of that person’s life and really should be explored in therapy), resulting in dinner being delayed and kids getting cranky because they’re hungry.
- Someone’s kids are going to fight in the car (and really, how can you blame them when their sibling’s thigh is so flagrantly encroaching upon their designated third of the back seat?), which will cause the driver to either threaten to turn the car around or to actually turn the car around.
- Someone – the one who got lost, the one who was running late, or the one who had to make good on the threat to turn the car around – is going to run out of gas.
Need we say more?
The choice is clear: To avoid marital spats, cranky kids, cars driving in the wrong direction, and an empty gas tank (in short, to achieve family harmony), charter a bus.
While You’re There
A charter bus at your disposable for the day or weekend opens up all kinds of possibilities for family activities away from the headquarters venue. Here are just a few ideas:
- Attend a church service together.
- Visit a cemetery where ancestors are buried.
- Hold a “Family Olympics” in a park.
- Take a sightseeing trip.
- Go out for a meal or catered banquet.
- Visit a theme park, water park, concert, or play.
- Find a body of water for activities like sailing, fishing, or tubing.
- Take a tour to explore the family’s roots – the land your great-great grandparents farmed, the neighborhoods and schools of your childhood, or an ancestor’s first home.
Sit back and relax. The best reason for chartering a bus is the same reason for planning a family vacation or reunion in the first place. It’s a chance for everyone to be together. It’s a time to reconnect – to sing songs, play games, tell stories, reminisce, and make memories. And isn’t that what “togethering” is all about?
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