Travel journalist Helen Foster explores the ‘skip-gen’ travel trend – where grandparents or older family members take the kids away – and shares the best family holiday ideas for giving it a try.
Skip-gen travel is the new name for grandparents, older carers, family members or guardians taking children on a holiday without their parents. Though the idea isn’t completely revolutionary, the trend is on the rise as older family members look to spend quality time with younger ones and give parents a much-needed rest while they’re at it.
It’s something thousands of travel companies, including ferry company Stena Line, are seeing a big increase in. “In these busy times, it’s more difficult for parents to get time alone together, so letting the grandparents take the kids away for a week or even a long weekend gives both groups the chance to strengthen their relationships,” says Diane Poole, OBE, Travel Commercial Manager for Stena Line.
So what makes the perfect skip-gen break? You need something that keeps the kids active. Short flights or local trips are less stressful than long, complicated journeys. While holiday resorts with a kids’ club will allow you the chance to relax on your own, too.
Here are six ideas for memorable family holidays together…
1. Sleep in a helicopter
Can you imagine the faces of any aspiring aviators when you pull up to this helicopter-turned-sleep spot in the Ream Hills Caravan Park in Preston, in Lancashire? The Helicopter at Ream Hills costs from £77 a night and sleeps two adults and two children. It has its own kitchen and bathroom facilities are linked to the caravan park.
2. Beachcomb in Portugal
The Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort and Hotel in the Algarve overlooks the stunning Martinhal beach. If that isn’t enough space to burn off some energy, then there are three pools on site (plus a spa where you can relax). Prices start at €185 a night, booked via Mr & Mrs Smith.
3. Hit the countryside
Don’t worry about the weather, wellies are available for borrowing at the five country house hotels in the Family Luxury Hotel group. We like the old manor house of Woolley Grange Hotel in Wiltshire (from £129 a night for a small family room), which lets kids collect eggs from the hotel chickens in summer and has an onsite rabbit, of course. Another nice touch is the Breakfast Club service. Kids get picked up on Sunday morning so you can have a lie in!
4. Go cruising together
Summer sees Royal Caribbean Cruise’s 15-deck Independence of the Seas leaving directly from Southampton. With its Flowrider surf simulator, water slides and laser tag, the grandkids will love time at sea. City stop-offs include a 3-day sampler cruise to Bruges (from £469 per person) for culture-loving adults.
5. Go family 5* in Greece
Mark Warner is one of the leaders in family holiday travel and in May it opens its newest property, the 5* Paleros Beach Resort on the Ionian Coast in western Greece. Outdoor activities range from sailing to tennis and there’s free onsite childcare for children aged 2 to 17. Prices start from £799 per person including flights, accommodation, half board and activities including watersports.
6. Try glamping
Kids love camping but if you’re past the days of leaky tents and deflating airbeds, try one of the cosy wooden cabins offered by Wigwam Holidays. Located on working farms in the beautiful UK countryside, the cabins offer comfy sleep spaces, heating and electric power. Larger cabins have ensuite bathrooms. Prices start from £45 a night at Penbugle Organic Farm in Cornwall.
Did you know that Vitality members can benefit from up to 50% off Mr & Mrs Smith holidays and British Airways flights? Head to the Member Zone to find out more.