There is a new buzz word called “multigenerational travel.” For most of us, it’s called “family travel with the grandparent(s).”
In 2011 there was the ultimate road test for my son, daughter-in-law, then 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and I traveling together longer than a couple of days in their home state of Colorado or mine in Washington State. Our three weeks in Costa Rica went amazingly well which has now led to us embarking on another three weeks together, but this time we’ll be farther afield in Spain and Portugal. We have all been to Europe several times (separately except for my virgin trip in 2002 when 3 of us went to London and Edinburgh, Scotland, and where I was properly bitten by the International Travel Bug). Even little Jordan went to Belgium with her parents at the age of one, but none of us have traveled to this area of Spain nor have any of us ever been to Portugal. This journey will be 22 days of ‘multigenerational’ travel experiences. I hope this blog chronicles the experience and serves to provide a few ideas of what did and didn’t work
We are using British Air miles acquired from applying for BA credit cards offering bonus 50k on the cards. Add in purchases over the year and we have enough miles for the flights, although BA charges more in taxes and fees.
Christopher and Kelly upgraded to Business Class while Jordan and I fly World Traveler (economy) together. The upside of this is that BA is a very comfortable airline to fly no matter what class you sit in. Would I rather be in my own little bed on the flight? Sure. But I’ve experienced this in the past thanks to a friend who worked for BA and put me on Staff Travel for six months. This time my kid can experience it for a change. I’m sure Jordan and I will manage as it is a night flight into London so we will hopefully sleep most of it. I will come prepared with my Magic Bag, nonetheless.
Since I am leaving from Seattle, I will meet up with them in Denver at DIA, as we did last year going to Costa Rica. How fun it was to see Jordan running down to the gate to meet up with me last year at almost midnight. She sat with her parents on that flight but it wasn’t as long as this upcoming flight to Spain. I remember seeing Kelly and Jordan taking a walk along the aisles in the middle of the flight, so I’m mentally prepared for that. Or so I say now.
I think one of the big challenges, once we land, will be getting from the Heathrow Terminal to Gatwick airport to catch a connection into Malaga, Spain. We’ll all be a bit jet lagged getting into London around 11 a.m. which will still be the middle of the night for us operating on U.S. time. At this point we are thinking the most economical and easiest option to take (why doesn’t BA provide the transportation for this transfer?!?) will be to hire a driver and a car. Not exactly a taxi, but a private car. The cost is comparable to both the bus and a taxi. Taking the Tube and transferring trains to get there will be much too complex and tiring, although less expensive (my, what a stir my question about this caused on Lonely Planet’s Thorntree Forum!). Jordan and I will be most particularly affected by the stress of lugging ourselves and, in my case, a daypack and carry-on luggage. It was hard enough 10 years ago at the age of 52 without Fibromyalgia and Graves’ Disease, so can’t even fathom doing those god-awful London subway stairs again at this point.
Once we get on the flight from Gatwick and land in Malaga close to midnight, we’ll all be ready to sleep in one of only two hotels we’ve booked for these 3 weeks. The rest of our lodging will consist of anywhere from 2-3 bedroom apartments. Jordan and I will spend quite a bit of time together, I think. Hopefully we will get along well, as we usually do (other than the occasional Leo-Scorpio battle of the wills).
From Malaga our itinerary includes Granada, Sevilla, Gibraltar, Tarifa, Tanger, Faro, Oporto, and lastly, Lisbon. We’ll travel by bus, train, car, ferry, and plane to connect the dots.
Now that all of our accommodations have been booked, I am working on more in-depth research for each location. I have found several useful, and free, iPad apps which are making this daunting task a bit easier and fun. Plus there is info on kid activities in a couple of places which may come in useful. Waterpark or zoo in Lisbon? I’m opting for some nice port while sitting and listening to bluesy Portuguese Fado music as my Grammie Perk in Portugal as this may be well deserved by the time we get to that final leg of our Multigenerational Expedition.