Southern Utah is the perfect destination for a large family vacation. From mountains to deserts, small towns to larger cities, and plenty of national and state parks to choose from, there’s something that every age group will enjoy.

But the more people you add to a trip, the trickier planning becomes. Keep reading to learn a few simple tips to help make planning a multigenerational family vacation a breeze.

Skip the Hotel

Hotels are great for couples, solo travelers, and even small families. They often offer pools and other on-site amenities that are perfect for spending a day relaxing in between busier days of hiking and exploring. Many have restaurants or at least a breakfast option that help make planning meals easier. And with more properties to choose from, they may be a bit more budget-friendly.

However, as your vacation group grows, hotels become less of a convenience and more of a nuisance. First, you have to decide who is sharing rooms with who, then find a hotel with enough rooms open for everyone. Then during your trip, everyone is left to return to their own space at the end of the day, with few options for spaces where you can relax together. Even with an efficiency or suite-style room, there’s rarely a kitchen space large enough to cook a meal for everyone. Feeding so many mouths, three times a day at restaurants alone will add up very fast.

Opt for a Vacation Rental

A vacation rental can solve these and other issues when traveling with a group. Depending on the type of rental and the size of your group, you can get a unit or perhaps two or three with space for everyone. You’ll get common areas like a living room, kitchen, and dining room that allow everyone to hang out together each day. Plus, when you opt for a rental with a full kitchen, you can save money and still allow everyone to eat together by cooking up meals throughout your trip. Because your group can split the cost of a larger rental property rather than paying for individual hotel rooms, you may also be able to lower the total cost of your trip.

Create a Mix-and-Match Itinerary

When you’re traveling with a spouse, friend, or small family, you can create an itinerary around activities and destinations that everyone will be capable of, and that they are certain to enjoy. But the more individuals you add to a group, as well as the more variety in ages and ability levels, the more difficult this becomes. 

Trying to plan only things to do that everyone can enjoy together is incredibly difficult. It’s also restrictive and often means that members of your group won’t get to enjoy things that they would really like to do during your vacation.

To ensure that everyone has a chance to have fun without anyone feeling left out for the entirety of the vacation, opt for a mix-and-match itinerary. This means planning a variety of activities during your trip, some of which certain members of your family will love, while others might choose to skip.

For instance, while you might plan a hike in the morning that older or younger generations won’t go along for. At the same time, the rest of your group might plan to go shopping or perhaps enjoy an off-road tour. End your day with a meal, stargazing, or even a movie night in your vacation rental. That way everyone can come together to swap stories about their day.

Plan for Some Downtime

If you’ve landed yourself the role of planning out your upcoming family trip, odds are that’s because you’re the traveling guru in your group. However, if this also means that you’re the type of person who tends to try to see and do everything during a vacation, you’ll need to rethink your traveling style before your trip.

Keep in mind that while you may have no problem exploring, hiking, shopping, and sightseeing from dawn to dusk without a break, others in your group, and particularly grandparents and young grandchildren, might not feel the same way. Trying to force everyone into long, fun-filled days may leave some members of your family tired, cranky, and sore. 

To prevent this, it’s a good idea to plan a loose itinerary, and also schedule for some downtime back at your hotel or vacation rental. That way, anyone who might need to rest or even take a nap in the middle of the day can do so. If there aren’t enough amenities on-site where you are staying, consider packing movies or board games that those who don’t need a break can enjoy during this time.

Assign Anyone in Your Group Who Needs a Bit of Help a Buddy

When everyone is having a good time and enjoying their vacation, those in your group who may get particularly tired, feel ill, or just need a little extra help might not want to ask for it out of fear of affecting everyone else’s trip. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan ahead and make sure that anyone who might need help while hiking or out sightseeing a “buddy.” 

Their buddy can check in periodically to see how they are feeling, make sure that they are drinking water, and ensure the individual isn’t overdoing it. This will keep that person from feeling as though they are inconveniencing the group, while also ensuring your whole family stays safe and happy during your vacation.

Don’t Forget Your Camera

It may take a little extra work compared to planning a vacation for you or your immediate family. But planning a multigenerational trip is a wonderful way to bring your family together and create lasting memories. Don’t forget to bring along a camera to capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments!