With today's busy schedules and unlimited variations in the make up of families, grandparents may find themselves contemplating a vacation with their grandchildren, just to spend time with them.. People are travelling more and later in life and grandparents often live further away from their grandchildren.
As with travelling with anyone else, communication is the key. Being prepared, listening, but setting boundaries, and being young at heart, are vital when travelling with your grandchildren. Here are some tips and suggestions that will hopefully make your trip a happy and memorable experience for all of you, and one that will have you smiling for years to come.
See how the parents feel about it first. If they're positive and supportive of your travelling with the grandkids, it will set an easy and happy mood to start with.
Get input from the kids. Regardless of their ages, kids do have definite ideas and everyone needs to feel that they have some element of control. It is not necessary to adopt every whim or wish; but, starting with mutual respect goes a long way to making people feel important.
Have a group meeting to decide where, when and how you are going. Of course, if you have a specific time and place, this would be a great time to talk about it and make some tentative plans.
Having a basic budget is imperative, so that grandchildren get a chance to learn and understand the costs involved, at least to a point. It makes it easier for the kids to accept that perhaps not every desire can be brought to fruition.
If you have any doubts, or if you have perhaps not had the opportunity to spend a longer period of time with them, you may consider doing a day trip, or going on a weekend getaway with your grandchildren. This will give you all a good idea as to whether or not you would really enjoy spending a prolonged period of time together.
Another suggestion, depending on your relationship with the parent(s), would be to go on a mini vacation together, making sure of course to give everyone their private space and time. For more information and tips on travelling with the parent(s) follow the link below.
Make sure that all vaccinations are up to date. Depending on your destination, there may be special circumstances requiring additional shots or other medications. It is imperative that all certificates regarding vital information be in order, and that you be aware of any special needs.
Ensure that you have all passports and whatever tickets you may have pre-purchased, for example, airline, cruise or other attraction tickets that you may need. It is imperative that the children's ages be kept in mind when purchasing the tickets; as different attractions and resorts may offer a variety of ticket levels and varied prices for children of different ages, as well as youth and adult fare.
Remember that when you are travelling with children, and not both legal parents are present, you need to have their consent. A letter signed by both parents consenting to your travelling with the children, and preferably witnessed and notarized, is your best insurance that you won't face disappointment and/or embarrassment at the border.
If you are travelling with younger children you may want to make sure you know how to use any equipment such as car seats and strollers safely. See Tips for Purchasing, Renting and Using Travel Equipment for Babies.
Making sure that you pick an age appropriate destination will make everyone happy. A theme park that is geared toward teenagers and/or young adults may cause disappointment if your grandchildren are too small to go on the rides or enjoy most of the attractions. Similarly, if your grandchildren are older, they may not enjoy an amusement park set up for pre-schoolers as much as one that has fun things to do for their ages as well.
If you're headed for a resort or hotel, pick one that is kid friendly. Many resorts offer wonderful and exciting programs and fun things for kids of all ages to do. You may wish to take some time for you, or just get some down time, where you don't have to worry about the kids, and still know that they are safe and having fun. Also see All-inclusive Vacation Travel Tips.
Spread out the fun. If you have a week, it's exciting to have fun things to look forward to later on in the week. Together you could set out a "flexible" itinerary, and perhaps choose one "major" activity or attraction per day. This is a great way to ensure that everyone has the feeling of having had some input, perhaps by allowing each individual to pick a special event. Remember, it's still important that there be time left over for the simple but fun things in life like swimming, playing, talking, reading or whatever other activities you all enjoy; and, eating out can be it's own major attraction. So, don't overload; but ENJOY! For tips on eating out with children, click on the image and follow the link.