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5 Perfect Places for a Multigenerational Trip This Winter
Travelers of all ages can reunite in great cities, theme parks and hotels to revel in holiday cheer.
Forgo a traditional family getaway for these outside-the-box vacation alternatives, everywhere from Chicago to Tokyo.(Getty Images)
If your family's summer plans are locked in, plan a multigenerational getaway during the shoulder season, between Thanksgiving and spring break. Avoid the crowds traveling over Christmas and New Year's, and you'll save a bundle on flights and hotels. Here are top places you may not have considered that offer plenty of diversions and high values for an extended family-friendly vacation.
Rivera Nayarit, Mexico
For an easy, multigenerational family vacation, nothing beats an all-inclusive resort. Family members can budget trip costs with confidence, and explore regions such as Mexico's Riviera Nayarit, which have cheaper rates than Cancún and just as beautiful beaches. At new resorts like Now Amber, winter rates that include meals, activities, beverages and entertainment, start at around $350 per night for a family of four. Book rooms for your brood in luxurious doubles with balconies, suites or handicap-accessible rooms.
What's more, a la carte restaurants provide variety for group meals. Treat the kids to a teens-only lounge and counselor-led club for ages 3- 12. While kids enjoy mixing and mingling with other guests, grown-ups can take advantage of premium liquor at five bars and 24-hour room service. What's more, the resort is near the heart of Puerto Vallarta, offering an ideal location for those who want to check out the galleries or bike ride along the waterfront Malecón. Swim, play a complimentary round of golf, try karaoke or join Monday night tailgate parties, when a video screen shows live football games on the sand. The resort's app allows guests to review activity schedules, access Wi-Fi and make free international calls to the U.S., Canada and Mexico to family members who couldn't join the fun.
If your family has a sweet tooth and cherishes wintry delights like hot chocolate, there's no better destination than Hershey. Grandparents will love this town revolving around the candymaker's factory, hotels and theme park because it's easy to get around and take breaks. Younger generations can ride roller coasters, while elders indulge in a dark chocolate massage at Hershey's new day spa. Family activities such as the Little Elves Workshop (beginning weekends in November for $5 per person), when children make ornaments out of chocolate clay, icing and ribbons, add to the fun.
Between Nov. 10 and Dec. 30, Hotel Hershey features a two-night package starting at around $330 per night, or roughly $220 at the comfortable Hershey Lodge. Indulge in milk and cookies for four, entry to the water park, the spectacular 2-mile "Hershey Sweet Lights, Hersheypark Christmas Candylane," Hershey Gardens and the Hershey Story Museum. It's not all chocolate: The Hershey Story Museum includes interactive exhibits about the history of American enterprise, and the AACA Museum features vintage cars, bikes and buses. There are even caves to explore nearby at Echo Dell.
Embrace winter's full glory in Chicago, the city famous for the wind off Lake Michigan. By design, the city has a wide variety of indoor activities to keep visitors all ages busy, whether you are an aspiring blogger who wants to spend hours at the new American Writers Museum or you want to create lifelong memories at the Art Institute Chicago's free family art workshops. A Chicago CityPass ticket booklet saves visitors up to 54 percent with discount admission, and makes museum-going flexible. Use the pass to avoid the lines to see Sue, the Field Museum's famous T-Rex before she leaves in February for her makeover, commiserate with penguins at the fascinating Shedd Aquarium or tiptoe boldly onto the 103rd floor Ledge at the Willis Tower's Skydeck. For $99.75 per adult and $84.75 for ages 3 to 11, every family member gets nine days to see any five of the top seven attractions as they please. Catch up at one of the city's great restaurants and swap stories.
The centrally located Loews Chicago Hotel has a “Snowed In” package valid from Nov. 16 – April 1, 2018, that includes complimentary hot cocoa and cookies with an in-room movie, valet parking and a fold-out tent with a campfire set to make fresh s'mores, starting at $169 per night.
Italy attracts jetsetters of all ages and interests with its culture, cuisine and affordability, making a winter Roman holiday a guaranteed hit. Aside from the chance to explore the Vatican and nativity scenes and Christmas trees at many public squares, you can count on relatively mild weather conditions. The compact Gioberti Art Hotel combines convenience with comfort. Located a block from the central Termini train station, the property is a half hour away from the airport via the Leonardo Express, and is located across from bus and underground stations, a well-stocked mall, ATMs and restaurants. Best of all, it's located near the underappreciated Palazzo Massimo, which hosts an extensive collection of classical sculptures, a block from the intricate mosaics of the 5th-century, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Gioberti Art Hotel's executive rooms are stylishly outfitted with built-ins, coffeemakers, a fridge, work desks and other niceties like a bathrobe so you can recover from jet lag in comfort. Winter's pre-paid bed-and-breakfast rates start at less than 100 euros per night for rooms made up as singles or doubles.
Whether it's the number of Tokyo restaurants boasting Michelin stars or the epic success of Pokemon Go, tourism to Japan is up 18 percent over last year. You and your extended relatives can embrace authentic experiences, ranging from pre-dawn outings to Tsukiji Fish Market to Shinjuku billboards to stays at hotels like the Keio Plaza, which support traditional Japanese culture. Keio Plaza's monthly themes manifest in desserts shaped like Mount Fuji, Ikebana flower arranging workshops and classical ceramic displays. All visitors can participate in a traditional tea ceremony and try sweets once reserved for samurai, or hop the free shuttle to Tokyo Disneyland. Guests also get complimentary smartphones with free Wi-Fi and international calling. In addition to comfortable suites and connecting rooms, the Keio Plaza's white towers feature eight ornate "Hello Kitty"-themed rooms. Traveling with a baby? Take advantage of the supervised nursery while other family members try the wellness spa or catch up at one of the 15 restaurants or sake bar. Luxury Club-level family-friendly rooms with breakfast are available starting at around $240 per night.
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About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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