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Hitting the Road with Grandparents in Tow
Multigenerational Travel Specialists
Hitting the Road with Grandparents in Tow

Dancing to the music


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

When our friends discovered that we were taking our 9-year-old daughter on a weeklong desert safari they said, point blankly, 'You must be mad.' When they learned we planned to take my 70-year-old parents too they laughed and said 'Good luck!'

Sleeping in a tent isn't for everyone but neither are churches and museums. When my parents suggested that they would like to join us on our next trip I weighed our options carefully. I considered each person's interests and ability. My father enjoys nature but can't walk long distances. And museum touring is conspicuously absent from his list of fun things to do. My mother wanted to do something different and was dying to visit Africa. My daughter enjoys moving about and was adamant about seeing more than one thing. My husband didn't want to drive and he didn't want to plan, in advance or on the road. I loathe package tours.

When we pulled out the calendar and synchronized our agendas it became clear that we would be traveling in early January. The weather further narrowed our choices. I crossed out an African safari; summer is not the ideal time of year for big game viewing. And scored through Madagascar and the Red Sea. One was likely to be rainy, the other too cold to swim.

When I called my parents to discuss our options I presented two choices: Marrakech and Southern Morocco or Cairo and the Western Desert. Both met the requirements of each traveler and neither was likely to be too hot, too cold or too rainy. Apart from culture, accommodation was the only real difference between the two. In Morocco we would stay at hotels and riads. Outside of Cairo, we would sleep in tents. We spent a lot of time talking about that small detail. In the Western Desert sleeping in tents means more than no bed. There would be no shower or toilet for the entire desert portion of our trip.

To my surprise my parents picked Egypt. Their rational: It was a trip they would never take alone. And while there were a few defining moments on our seven day expedition none were 'en famille'. We returned stronger as a family and are already planning our next multigenerational trip.

The secret to our success? Interest and ability drove the short list. Weather whittled it down.

Managing everyone's expectations, including my own, ensured that the only surprises were the oohs and ahhs provided by history and mother nature.

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