The time that grandparents and grandchildren share is always precious, especially when everyone ventures out of the house for a trip. Nevertheless, traveling with grandchildren might be tricky because as the grandparents, you will be responsible for the little ones at all times.
Ahead, I’ll share my best tips for traveling with grandchildren and making it enjoyable for everyone!
Talk To The Parents First
Most grandparents overlook their adult children when planning trips with the grandkids, and this can sour the mood fast.
No matter how good your reasons are for wanting to travel with the little ones, bring their parents on board too.
Not all parents have the confidence to release their kids for a vacation or even a short weekend trip, and you must first convince your adult children that you can handle their kids’ energy levels.
As much as you may think you know much about the kids, the children’s parents know them better.
Be fair and listen to your adult child’s concerns. Assure them that the children will be safe under your care.
Also, unless you already know, then be sure to find out what the kids like and dislike and whether they are on any medications or have other special health requirements.
Plan With The Grandchildren
You may have some ideas on places to visit and activities to participate in with the grandkids, but don’t take over all the itinerary planning.
Your grandkids are going to have their own thoughts and opinions, and you should listen to them (within reason).
What do I mean by within reason? Kids will want to go to Disney World for a month straight and eat ice cream morning, noon, and night.
You need to take their opinions and ideas into account but ultimately make a decision that’s fun but still responsible.
If you opt for a cruise or tour, let your grandchildren choose what they will do in their free time. Also, discuss the itinerary options with them.
Going to places they dislike will spoil the trip’s mood.
The other important factor to discuss during planning is financing. This is more of a conversation with your adult children than the grandkids, as I doubt they’re going to pay for anything.
Please don’t stretch yourself financially just to give the grandkids a good time. I promise, you can have fun without blowing through a budget and putting yourself in the red.
Get The Travel Documents
Before you embark on your trip, ensure you have all the travel documents everyone needs.
The most important documents are passports, medical insurance cards, and a ‘’consent to treat form’’ for all your grandchildren.
Proper identification is a must whether you are traveling domestically or internationally; therefore, you should ask for these documents for the kids from your adult children.
If you’re going on an international trip, you must have a permitting letter from your grandkids’ parents to confirm that they have allowed you to travel with their kids outside the country. The letter must have the contacts of the parents and the places you will be visiting.
Traveling can be tiring, so you must allow everyone to have their alone time.
Kids’ interests differ from those of adults, and if you aren’t careful, there may be a clash somewhere.
Allow the grandchildren to play and run around as you enjoy the breeze along the beach (but do supervise them, of course). You can also plan to have dinner at different times.
For instance, maybe your grandchildren are used to eating at 5:00 p.m while you and your spouse prefer to have dinner later in the evening.
There is no harm in compromising and joining the kids for an early dinner during some evenings, but not all. The trip will be more enjoyable if you leave room for some alone time.
Have an Abundance of Entertainment Ready
Traveling long distances by plane, train, or car can test one’s patience; this is where technology really comes in handy. It passes the time.
Once you get to your destination, allow the grandchildren to play some games on their game consoles or listen to music on their smartphones, at least for a little while.
You must liaise with your adult children and ask about any rules regarding the use of electronic devices for the grandkids, including limitations on how long the kids can be on the devices.
Electronics are not the only mode of entertainment while on vacation, of course. You and the grandkids can engage in activities like hiking, swimming, painting, coloring, building sandcastles on the beach, or participating in a game your grandchildren like most.
You can also teach the kids some of the things you used to do when you were young.
Choose Free Activities
Going on vacation doesn’t mean you have to spend all your money, as I mentioned before.
There is always something you can do out there for free if you know where to look!
For instance, you can visit a museum since most are free. You might enjoy some nature walks or hiking. You don’t have to pay to walk around a city or participate in a scavenger hunt.
Participating in free activities will save a lot of money, especially if you are on a tight budget, and you will still enjoy and make memories with your grandchildren.
Understand Your Physical Limits
As a grandparent, you may not be fit for all activities, and that’s okay. If your grandkids are young enough, they have their limits too.
Know how much your body can handle when it comes to activities and don’t push. The same goes for your grandchildren.
You don’t want to set out on a hiking trail, and some few kilometers into it, the little ones start crying because their energy is gone.
Understanding each traveler’s physical limits comes in handy for saving their energy by avoiding what’s beyond them.
Create Some Time To Talk
There is no more perfect time to tell your childhood stories to your grandchildren than during multigenerational travels.
You’ll also have time to share family history and let the kids ask questions about their family roots.
It’s during this time as well that you get to know what your grandchildren treasure and the kind of lives they live.
Be sure to create time for all these conversations because fun and itineraries can easily carry you away.
There are many ways to start a discussion with the little ones. For example, you can ask them what they like most and pick up from there.
Buy Your Food Ahead of Time
Buying your food before your trip is a great idea when traveling with your grandchildren.
For instance, if you’re going for a road trip, you can pack snacks, drinks, water, and fresh fruits in a cooler.
If you’re lodging long-term, you can usually prepare meals. This will cater to everyone’s needs, especially kids who are usually picky about what they eat.
If you can, do set aside some room in the budget for a few restaurant meals as treats!
Bring The Essentials
As a grandparent, you may not be conversant with kid packing. You’ll need a checklist of what to bring for the grandchildren during your time away from home.
Here are some essentials you should pack when traveling with your grandchildren.
- Sun protection – The sun protection essentials include hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. You never know how the weather will be out there; therefore, these items should definitely be on your list.
- Clothing – The clothes you need when traveling depend on where you’re going and the activities you participate in. For example, if you’re traveling to a destination where the weather is cold, you should pack enough warm clothes. If traveling during the summer season, carry light clothes. Be sure to bring backup clothing because your grandchildren may need to change clothes more than once a day if they soil themselves.
- Lighting – You might be surprised by how a torchlight or lantern will come in handy while on vacation. This is more so if you’re on a camping site.
- First aid kit – This is another essential for your packing list. Children can trip and sprain their legs during a hike; you will need a first aid kit to ease the pain. Ensure the kit has painkillers, antiseptics, bandages, disposable gloves, a thermometer, and antihistamine, among other things.
- Water – This is important when traveling with kids. Dehydration is common during vacation, especially when engaging in energy consumption activities. Bring more water than you think you’ll need.
- Camera – Memories are to be made and kept; therefore, you should have a camera in your bag. Take as many photos as possible and encourage your grandchildren to create a photo album once they are back home.
There you have it, my top tips for traveling with the grandchildren. It’s not always easy, but I promise, the memories you and your grandkids will share make it all worth it!