Skip-Gen Travel with a Civil Rights Focus

By Annie Tobey | June 7th, 2024

Bonding and learning

Article on Skip-Gen Travel with a Civil Rights Focus

Skip-gen travel is trending, said the 2023 U.S. Family Travel Survey, as grandparents choose to take the grandkids with them on trips. Taking the young people on a journey of learning – with some pure fun thrown in – can bond, enlighten, and inspire. Making Civil Rights the focus of the trip can show how far the United States has come, illuminate the struggles that continue, and energize the promises of the future.

The concept of skip-gen travel

Unlike multigenerational travel, skip-gen leaves the middle generation – the parents – behind.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone, Sarah Gilliland told travel writer Mimi Slawoff. Every summer, Gilliland’s parents take their twin granddaughters on a one-week vacation. “We’re allowed some much-needed relaxation time,” Gilliland said, and “my parents benefit by growing their relationship with their grandkids.”

Grandparents told U.S. Family Travel Survey that these trips help the grandchildren be more adventurous, flexible, and adaptable.

Exploring the past to build the future

While the destinations and activities are as diverse as the grands, exploring the past can bridge generational gaps and build understanding of history and its impact on the present and the future. American Civil Rights history offers a rich exploration of how far the United States has come and understand the struggles and promises that continue.

Like any trip, travelers can set their own itineraries or take a group tour.

Set your own itinerary

The United States Civil Rights Trail offers an easy way to choose meaningful destinations. The trail highlights dozens of sites: churches, courthouses, schools, museums, and other landmarks that played a pivotal role in advancing social justice in the 1950s and 1960s. The Trail spans 15 states, from Delaware to Kansas to Florida. The Civil Rights Trail website includes suggested itineraries, too.

While the sites are too spread out to take in during a typical trip, a family can choose a destination, explore lessons of history, and add on lighter, more entertaining memory-building activities. Contemporary elements that celebrate African American heritage add depth to the experience – like restaurants, retailers, and historic districts.

In Virginia, families can visit the Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, where 16-year-old Barbara Johns led a student walkout to protest the conditions at the Black school, which contributed to the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case.

In Louisiana, they can explore Tremé, a historic community just north of the French Quarter in New Orleans, the oldest African American neighborhood in America, now with museums of African American life, art, and history.

In Georgia, visitors can take in the Albany Civil Rights Movement Museum at Old Mount Zion, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, and more.

A Civil Rights-focused group tour

One organization focusing on educational travel, Road Scholar, has launched a new program for multigenerational travel titled “The Heart of the Civil Rights Movement With Your Family.” The tour takes groups through the history of the Civil Rights Movement, with a special emphasis on fostering intergenerational dialogue and understanding.

“Our aim is to create meaningful experiences that not only educate but also strengthen family bonds and inspire future generations to champion equality and justice,” said Maeve Hartney, Chief Programs Officer at Road Scholar.

Participants in the program can visit iconic landmarks and pivotal sites in Georgia and Alabama, where key events of the Civil Rights Movement took place. Led by knowledgeable instructors, including historians and local activists, participants will engage in interactive discussions, hear personal accounts, and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs of the movement.

The Road Scholar program is open for enrollments to grandparents and grandchildren (ages 13-18) as a skip-gen travel experience – or take the middle generation along, too, for the multigenerational memories.

More from Boomer