Meet the millennials holidaying with their bill-paying parents again

Baby boomers are not only footing the bill, which can come with a £3,000 price tag, but ensuring everyone’s needs are met

Last month, Chris Rouse, 35, spent four nights at Center Parcs Longleat Forest in Wiltshire with his partner Rosie, 30. The couple stayed in a four-bedroom woodland lodge with their newborn baby and preschooler.

But unlike on previous trips, they shared the cabin with Chris’s parents who live in Northampton. His brother, Mark, 32, and husband, Andrew, 36, also drove from London to join them in the forest.

Neither Chris nor his brother had anticipated holidaying with their parents this year. Yet with the rising cost of living, it was a good opportunity to save cash. Chris says, “Growing up, we loved Center Parcs. So when my parents invited us and offered to pick up the bill, it made sense to accept their offer.

“I work long hours as an accountant and my partner’s a nurse, yet we’re still feeling the squeeze on our finances right now. I doubt we’d have holidayed with my parents if they hadn’t paid,” he says, adding “with the costs of a newborn baby, we’re trying to save every penny we can right now.”

Mabel enjoying the holiday at Center Parcs (Photo: Supplied)
Mabel enjoying the holiday at Center Parcs (Photo: Supplied)

Chris and his family are far from alone. More than one in five of 27-42 year olds in Britain are holidaying with their boomer parents this year, letting the older generation pick up the bill. Millennials are saving their own cash for essentials like energy bills, car repairs and credit card repayments, according to recent research by Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money.

While millennials use these trips to save, boomers want to make memories with their family. More than 40 per cent of 59-77 year-olds have no plans to stop taking family holidays, spending an average of just over £3,000 per trip.

Chris says, “My parents booked a return visit before we left Longleat, as you get an early-bird discount. They’ve chosen a four-bedroom lodge again, so we’ll probably join them. We had a great time – the only drawback was the fact that eight of us were sharing a bathroom. Maybe next time we should draw up a rota to avoid the morning politics.”

Phil Beattie, managing director of south west self-catering specialist Luxury Coastal, is also seeing a rise in intergenerational travel. He told i, “Multi-generational holidays are a big thing right now. Last year, almost a quarter of our guests took a break with their extended family. And in light of the increased cost of living, we anticipate that this figure may rise again in 2023.”

Phil points out that boomer parents are often keen to spend time with their young grandchildren, providing time for millennials to recharge their batteries. He notes, “Not only are multi-gen holidays good value for money, it’s an ideal opportunity to reconnect with your children, parents and even grandparents.”

He explains, “If the cost of accommodation is covered by their parents, millennials will have more cash in their pocket to spend at restaurants, on activities and attractions, which is good for the local economy.”

The nostalgia factor

Sue, 67, a widowed retiree from Cornwall, booked a trip to Greece so she could relax with her 35 and 33-year-old daughters. As organiser and bill payer, Sue booked a twin-centre trip to ensure everyone’s interests were catered for. They spent three days exploring the cultural sights of Athens, followed by four days of beach time in Mykonos.

The women shared a studio apartment in both locations. Sue says, “If this is your first trip together in a few years, it’s important to remember that you’ve probably all changed since holidaying – as a family – when the kids were young. You need to take everyone’s personality into account to have a good time.”

Sue and her two daughters on holiday in Greece (Photo: Supplied)
Sue and her two daughters on holiday in Greece (Photo: Supplied)

“My eldest daughter’s fond of a cultural excursion and an early night. But my youngest and I prefer lazy days by the pool, followed by evening cocktails. With one of us sleeping on a sofa bed in the living area, we had to be mindful of noise in the morning and late at night to avoid frayed tempers. We had a lovely week together once we’d figured this routine out,” she explains.

Hotelier, Gregory Skalistiras, runs the Sigma Residences on the laidback Greek island of Sifnos. The eight apartments come with a pool area overlooking the Aegean. Noticing a resurgence in multigenerational travel across Greece, he says, “Boomer parents are fuelled by nostalgia right now. They’re seeking good times in destinations they visited when their family was younger.”

Gregory outlines, “We’re even seeing extended families – with aunts, uncles and cousins – booking the entire place, which sleeps up to 30 people, and enjoying a poolside catch-up. They’re typically island hopping from Athens to the Cyclades by boat or plane, sometimes bringing babies and pets too.”

The post-Covid boom for intergenerational holidays has been extended by the cost-of-living crisis, both in the UK or abroad. Boomer parents are taking on the challenge not only of paying for a trip, but organising a holiday that satisfies the wants of all members of the family.

With interest rates and the cost of living continuing to rise, this trend towards togetherness could be here to stay for the foreseeable future.

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