May 24, 2012 By Catherine Laughlin, FOR THE INQUIRER
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The Urises are trailblazers in a growing trend of multigenerational travel, called “grand travel,” which is big and getting bigger.
More than ever, said Jim Lardear, spokesman for AAA’s travel division, three generations of a family are booking adventure tours and checking into exclusive resorts, with grandparents picking up the tab — and savvy travel representatives are taking notice.
Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, AAA — which has 12 stores in the Philadelphia region — saw an uptick in these kinds of trips at a time when airline bookings were sagging. Families were choosing to spend more time together, and AAA seized the opportunity to publish “Traveling With Your Grandkids,” a guidebook full of tips and splashy ideas for grandparents planning such a trip.
Even more grandparents are footing the bill today.
According to the United States Tour Operators Association, a consortium with 45 members that own and operate more than 150 brands, 50 percent of its clients cited an increase in grand travel in 2011, and of that number, 30 percent reported an increase of 10 percent or more from 2010.
Tauck Tours, an 87-year-old leisure travel company, noticed the grand-travel trend after 2001, and two years later launched Tauck Bridges (as in, build bridges between the ages), offering trips such as Call of the Cowboy Country in Wyoming, Safari Time in Africa, and Jungles and Rain Forests in Costa Rica. All yell adventure for grandkids, grown children, and seniors who are more fit, more hip, and a far cry from the Geritol generations of the past.