Traveling can be exciting and wonderful, but it can also be challenging. Well, when you add your grandchildren to the mix, the challenging aspect can grow a little bit more. We definitely do not want to discourage you from traveling with your grandkids, because we know that you love spending time with them. Let us share some helpful tips that will help you, and them, survive every vacation that you take together.
Here are 9 tips for traveling with your grandkids:
1 Let the Kids Help Plan
One of the best ways to have the trip of a lifetime with your grandkids is to let them help plan it with you. Give them a few destinations or activities to choose from or let them choose dinner one night. You need to give the trip structure and not overwhelm them with choices, but listening to their input is important. They are much more likely to be fully engaged and excited about the trip if they’ve had a hand in planning.
2 Choose the Perfect Amount of Time
A couple of days is too short for a vacation, but three weeks is way too long. A week to ten days is perfect for a stateside trip, while two weeks is better for overseas trips. If you do choose to go overseas with your grandkids, you may want to keep your traveling days separate from your vacation days. So, you may want to book a two-week vacation with a day of travel before that and a day for travel after. Also, you may want to book your flight for the evening hours, so that you can all sleep on the plane. This will help everyone adjust to the time change much easier.
3 Book Enough Space for Your Accommodations
While spending time together is the goal of this vacation with your grandkids, you will all be much happier if you can all get some alone time. You might want to consider booking a suite of rooms, so that you have a bedroom that is separate from your grandkids. Travel can be exhausting and everyone needs a good night’s sleep.
At the very minimum, book accommodations with a living room area where you can retreat after the grandkids go to sleep at night and before they wake up in the morning. If your group is large, you may want to consider a vacation rental service like Airbnb.
4 Gather Travel Documents
You will need access to your grandkids health insurance cards and a letter that will give you consent to have them treated in case of an emergency. If you are taking them out of the country, you will also need their passports, a copy of their immunizations, and a notarized letter from their parents that you are allowed to take them across international borders. Of course, while you’re gathering all their information, don’t forget to put your own together as well!
5 Allow Your Grandkids to Use Their Electronics Occasionally
While you may want your grandkids’ undivided attention, it will do you both good if they can use their electronics on occasion. It can be something as simple as allowing them to watch a half hour show when they wake up in the morning or letting them listen to music as you are traveling to your destination. Do limit their screen time, though. You don’t want them to miss out on fully experiencing the places and activities you share with them.
6 Schedule Downtime for Everyone
It is nice to see as much as possible while on vacation, but let’s face it…no one can keep going forever. Therefore, you will want to schedule some downtime for each day. You can use this downtime to take a nap, play a board game, read a book, or anything else that will help you relax. Everyone will be in a better mood if there’s a little quiet, alone time built in to your schedule.
7 Keep Laughing
Not everything goes as planned on vacations, and you will want to remember to laugh at some of the issues that arise. (Hey, it’s better than crying over them all!) Instead of getting upset about the long lines, create a game to play to make the time go by faster. If the food is a little unusual, make funny faces as you all try it together. Some of your favorite memories will probably be of small, unplanned moments.
8 Arrive Early if Flying
Trying to get through airport security alone is bad enough, but it can take a lot longer with your grandkids. We recommend that you arrive at the airport a lot earlier for a flight than you would if you were flying by yourself. This will give you plenty of time to get everyone’s carry-ons through the security line, use the restrooms, and grab some drinks before you need to board your plane. Especially if your grandchildren haven’t flown before, you want to have plenty of time to calmly get them through the process. And many children love the bustle of the airport itself and will want to take time to gawk and explore.
9 Pack Lightly
It is always tempting to overpack when you are traveling with children. After all, you are never sure what they are going to want or need. However, children are adaptable, within reason. The family can share many toiletries and kids (and adults) don’t need five pairs of shoes. Keep it simple and, if you do find that you are missing something important, you can most likely purchase it once you have reached your destination.
Traveling with your grandkids is never going to be extremely easy, but if you follow these tips, it should be a lot of fun. The best part of trips like these is that you will be making memories with your grandkids that they will remember for the rest of their lives.