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What does it mean to be a family – going on a family vacation?

The term family invokes specific images for some people. Traditionally, the rather rigid image was one of two parents (one man and one woman) with their 2 younger children in tow. Frankly, those Ozzie & Harriet days are over and, dare I say, have evolved to include the many variations of the types of loving families that exist today.

Some fresher examples of family include grandparents raising grandchildren, multi-generational families living in the same household, adult children living with their parents (the so-called boomerang generation), gay and straight couples without children, same-sex couples raising children, baby boomer couples, blended families, and single-parent families.

Families have changed as has the concept of the family vacation.

Last summer, our (unknowingly trendy) family went on what has been dubbed a 3G vacation or three generations of same family vacation through Northern Europe. It was absolutely wonderful for everyone as my parents had a chance to spend some quality time exploring new cities such as Oslo and Helsinki with our son, and my husband and I had opportunities to see a Swan Lake ballet performance in St. Petersburg, stroll through Stockholm on our own, and even take a nap!

This summer, we are extending the 3G concept even more. My mother and two of her sisters along with my son and I will be vacationing on the Greek island of Alonissos. To say that my son will be doted upon is a complete understatement, not to mention the fact that we women will be able to connect once again amongst the beautiful natural surroundings of the Aegean Sea.

These two examples of multi-generational travel are the tip of the iceberg of how family travel has changed. My recent trip to Costa Rica also exemplifies this transformation as well. During this trip, my husband and I were transported to the drop-off point for rafting to the Pacuare Lodge. After 20 minutes of pick-ups at San Jose area hotels, the breakdown of the families in the van, not including us, was a grandmother traveling with her grandson, two college-aged children traveling with their parents, a boomer couple, and a college-aged couple.

We all had a wonderful time getting to know each other, sharing our Costa Rican travel experiences, exchanging travel tips and preparing for the white water rafting trip to the famed eco-lodge in the rainforest. We were bound by the love of travel and the willingness to share the experience with those we love! And, isn’t that what family is all about?

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