How to Travel With Grandchildren: Tips for Planning a Multi-generational Vacation
1) Get the kids involved with the planning.
Ask the kids where they would like to go and what they would like to see, but don't be afraid to give them suggestions. Getting them involved in the planning helps get them excited about a trip. Read books and watch movies that have sights from your destination. Have you been before? Share your experiences!
2) Consider their interests.
Think about the kids' hobbies and extra curricular activities when you plan a trip. Incorporate their loves into your trip if you can and learn more about your grandkids in the process. Will you be near a major league baseball field? Call about a tour. Do the kids love ice-cream? (Are there kids that don't? LOL) Look into a tour of a local ice-cream parlor.
3) Consider activity levels.
Do you have anyone of napping age along? Even if the kids are a little too old for naps, you might want to build a little quiet time into each day. Quiet reading time or electronic time will let everyone rest and sometimes those who are 'too old' for naps fall asleep anyway! Some rest before dinner will have everyone rejuvenated for a lovely evening.
On the other hand, kids who are used to a lot of exercise will need to get the wiggles out. So, if your day is full of quiet and calm activities, you might want to have a little time swimming in the hotel pool or playing catch before bedtime. Dancing time in the hotel room is great for energy burning and usually ends with a fit of giggles for everyone!
4) Build in a little downtime.
A little togetherness can go a long way especially when you are all staying in one room. Taking time to have a little space is healthy and gives everyone a breather. Young children can have movie time with headphones while grandma soaks in the tub or you can have reading time where everyone reads - enjoy the silence.
5) Think about travel insurance.
Things happen - kids get sick, people fall down, train workers go on strike. Consider travel insurance so when unexpected things happen, and happen they will, they don't ruin the whole trip. Think of it as a good learning experience for the kids - teach them how to handle unexpected changes in your plan.
6) Pack light
You'll have your hands full watching kids so make sure you pack very light. Instead of lugging suitcases, you'll be holding little hands to keep everyone safe. Pack lightly and wash! Hotels can do the wash for you - just check the cost and schedule when you book on the details.
7) Get information from parents.
Parenting is like riding a bike - you haven't forgotten how, but no one knows your grandchild like your child does. So go ahead and ask for information. What is the bed time routine? Hated foods? Things that are scary? Food allergies? Rules about food touching or a favorite stuffed animal that needs to be guarded against loss? Get the scoop before you go so you'll be ready.
8) Throw out the rules.
Who says you can't have gelato for breakfast? Vacations were meant for fun and grandparenting is the perfect excuse to spoil the kids. One kiddo melting from too big of a day and just won't hear of having a bath? Skip it! We all know a little dirt won't hurt anyone. French fries instead of broccoli? Why not - let the parents deal with veggie duty. Grandparents get to have fun!
Remember what they say....
"If I knew how much fun grandchildren would be, I would have had them first!"
Multigenerational travel is worth the effort.
Shared experiences make lifelong memories and are a wonderful legacy to leave with your grandchildren!