More families 'pack a nan' this summer

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Family on a beach

A quarter of grandparents have been on holiday with their extended family - including their grandchildren - and two fifths have paid for the break for the entire family.

So what is driving this trend, and is it fair, or are grandparents being exploited?

Pack a nan

Research by Saga has found that a quarter of grandparents have been away with their grandchildren over the last three years. Many are paying their own way on the trip, and a shocking two-fifths have paid for the entire family to go away.

With an average price of a family holiday hitting £1,964, this is a hugely generous move. Meanwhile, one in 14 over 50s have spent more than £5,000 on a luxury holiday for their family.

And as if it's not enough for the grandparents to foot the bill, many have to pick up childcare duties while they are away.

For the adult offspring, the advantages of the trend are simple: they can cut the cost of a trip by sharing it with their parents, and they have baby-sitting on tap. For the grandparents the trend is a mixed blessing.

Is this exploitation?

It raises some difficult questions. Retired grandparents are twice as likely to go on holiday with grandchildren as their working counterparts. Clearly they have more time to take a break - and still have time left over for a holiday by themselves.

However, arguably, on fixed pensions they are less likely to be able to comfortably afford to pay for a break for themselves - let alone their extended family. There's a chance they are using pension lump sums to cover luxury holidays, but they will pay the price for life with a lower pension income.

There's every chance they feel under pressure from their adult children to pay up and provide babysitting. They have spent their entire adult lives supporting their offspring, paying for their further education, bailing them out of credit problems, helping them buy a property and providing free childcare. Surely by the time they retire they shouldn't be expected to give any more.

Fair?

On the other hand, many of them are in a position to help. Many are on generous final salary pensions that their offspring can only dream about. Many are also sitting on massive gains in the value of their property, which is theirs to plunder if they need it in retirement.

Their cash-strapped kids have paid a small fortune to get on the property ladder, are struggling to make ends meet as wages dwindle and prices rise, and face the highest childcare costs on record. Perhaps rather than swanning off on a world cruise on their own, grandparents ought to help the rest of their family have a break.

Then there's the fact that maybe the grandparents get something out of this too. Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, commented: "I think it's fantastic that many generations are choosing to holiday together - there are so many benefits. Everyone gets the chance to relax and the adults can take it in turns going down the water slides with the kids or sloping off for some sangria and adult company. These days, people are so busy that getting everyone together can be almost impossible, so getting the chance to go away together and create memories might be just what every family needs."

But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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