Ad­ven­ture hol­i­days can work for all the gen­er­a­tions

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - THE GENERATION GAME - Rosie Mur­ray-West

Do you re­mem­ber when Grandma fell out of the tuk-tuk?” is not a ques­tion that I could ever have imag­ined ut­ter­ing dur­ing my child­hood. Times change.

When my par­ents, aged 70 and 67, agreed to travel with their six and eightyear-old grand­daugh­ters around Thai­land, Viet­nam, Laos and Cam­bo­dia, they be­came part of an in­creas­ing band of ad­ven­tur­ous grand­par­ents who are happy to pack their bags and trek off into the un­known in pur­suit of qual­ity time with the grand­chil­dren.

The ad­van­tage of fam­ily trips with ac­tiv­i­ties and ad­ven­ture is that every­one gets their own space and can make their own choices – and fam­i­lies that don’t see each other day-to-day can spend time to­gether.

Thai­land, with its per­fect beaches, de­cent rail net­work and ap­peal­ing cui­sine, has long been a favourite with ad­ven­tur­ous fam­i­lies, while Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia are just open­ing up.

For us, they of­fered the per­fect bal­ance of fun, his­tory, cul­ture and re­lax­ation. Every­one has dif­fer­ent high­lights from the trip. For Dad, the glory of Angkor Wat in the pour­ing rain couldn’t be bet­tered – al­though Clover, age six, couldn’t wait to get back to the swim­ming pool, and Mum pre­ferred beach life in Viet­nam’s Hoi An.

Eight-year-old Daisy loved sea-kayak­ing in Ha Long Bay, while my hus­band, Paul, and I will al­ways cher­ish a mov­ing three hours at the Killing Fields in Ph­nom Penh. Then there was our night out in the trendi­est restau­rant in town, where Dad turned up in his Crocs.

Every­one agrees, though, that the sheer amount of time spent to­gether as a fam­ily was the real highlight of the trip. We learnt that there’s nowhere as good as Angkor Wat for a game of hike and seek – and that there’s al­ways time to stop for an ice cream and a beer.

It is wise to choose an ac­tiv­ity hol­i­day where other fam­i­lies travel, too. Ex­o­dus and the Fam­ily Ad­ven­ture Com­pany of­fer these types of trip, so the chil­dren can make friends and every­one has adult com­pany too, tak­ing the pres­sure off grand­par­ents and par­ents to en­ter­tain.

Our ex­pe­ri­ence sug­gests that three-gen­er­a­tion hol­i­days work best when the va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer mir­ror the dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests and en­ergy lev­els of the gen­er­a­tions in­volved.

My par­ents will be trav­el­ling with us again later this year. We’ll be in the Caribbean, where there won’t be a tuk-tuk in sight. It is tes­ta­ment to a strength­en­ing fam­ily re­la­tion­ship, and a few lessons learnt on the road, that none of us can wait.

Tan­za­nian ca­pers

Try a fam­ily trip up Kil­i­man­jaro in Tan­za­nia, from ad­ven­ture spe­cial­ist Ex­o­dus, which re­cently took three sets of three­gen­er­a­tion fam­i­lies to tackle Africa’s high­est moun­tain. Over two weeks, fam­i­lies (min­i­mum age eight) search for the elu­sive tree-climb­ing li­ons of Lake Man­yara, walk on Kil­i­man­jaro, and spend four days on the spice is­land of Zanz­ibar, where they can ex­plore its bustling streets and swim in the In­dian Ocean’s won­der­fully clear waters.

Ar­gen­tine ex­plorer

For fam­i­lies af­ter a bit of lux­ury, spend two weeks ex­plor­ing the nat­u­ral won­ders of Ar­gentina, rid­ing with gau­chos across the pam­pas, tan­go­ing in Buenos Aires, vis­it­ing the thun­der­ous Iguassu Falls, and trekking across a creak­ing glacier. Ev­ery trip with Aber­crom­bie & Kent is be­spoke, so you can take or leave what you like – and the op­er­a­tor can ar­range any­thing from af­ter-hours mu­seum ac­cess to the sa­fari of a life­time. A two-week fam­ily Ar­gentina trip costs from £5,925 per per­son, based on two adults and two chil­dren trav­el­ling to­gether, in­clud­ing flights (aber­crom­biekent.co.uk).

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