When you’re a grandparent, spending time with your grandkids is probably what you most look forward to. Even when you live far away from them, a great way to bond and build memories is to travel together. Traveling with your grandchildren gives you the chance to be with them in a fun, low-stress way, whether their parents also come or not.
The following are some tips for planning the ideal trip to take with your grandkids.
Choose a Destination You’ll All Enjoy
When choosing a destination to take your grandkids, there are some different considerations to keep in mind. Of course, you want somewhere family-friendly. For example, Branson is known for its theme parks and entertainment. Sevierville and Pigeon Forge are good options because they have Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains.
You could also opt for somewhere like Central Florida, close to the theme parks, or if you’d like to explore nature, you could choose a national park.
Other options include an all-inclusive resort, making it easy for you to do minimal work and enjoy time with the grandkids, or a cruise.
There aren’t really limitations to where you can go, but you want to find somewhere that has a nice mix of things your grandkids will enjoy and that will appeal to you as well.
If you have any mobility limitations or restrictions, factor that into your planning too.
For example, theme parks may end up being a good idea if you are limited in your mobility because you can probably rent a scooter if you need to and they make a lot of accommodations. A national park on the other hand isn’t going to have a lot of accommodations for someone with limitations on their level of activity.
Don’t push yourself too far outside of what you’re comfortable with overall. For example, if there’s an activity you don’t like, that’s okay. You can focus on doing the things you do like.
Get Your Grandchildren Involved in the Planning
You may not know exactly what your grandkids enjoy and will be most interested in doing, so ask them.
You can get them excited about the trip and plan something everyone will enjoy by getting them involved.
Before you start officially booking anything, you do want to take some time to consider the logistics and how they’ll work.
A few particular things to consider or keep in mind include:
- Is your grandchild ready to travel with you? Are they old enough, and would they be okay with being away from their parents for a period of time? Will their parents be okay with it? Every child is different. Some kids might be ready to go with their grandparents when they’re young, and others are more comfortable waiting until they’re older. You can start by talking to your grandchild’s parents to figure out what they think and then go straight to the source and ask your grandchild. If they aren’t comfortable don’t be offended—it’s not personal.
- You might want to start slow. If you’ve never traveled with your grandchild or children alone, then plan a short trip that’s not too far from home. This will help ease you, your grandchildren, and their parents into the situation.
- Some grandparents like to travel with one grandchild at a time if they have multiples. This can help you in terms of your budget, you can have more one-on-one time, you don’t have to balance activities between multiple age groups, and it requires less supervision.
- How does your grandchild, in general, react to new things? You never want to plan a trip and have your grandchild be upset and unhappy the entire time. If you have a child who tends to respond poorly to sleeping in a new place for example, you may want to make a day trip instead.
- Do you have the patience and energy to keep up with grandkids?
- One interesting way to plan a trip with grandkids and reduce some of the logistical strain on you is to plan it at the end of a trip they may be going on with their parents. For example, you could tack on a few days at the tail end of the trip where you fly to meet your family, and the parents can head home or maybe do something on their own. Then, you don’t have to fly twice with the grandkids, and they’re already somewhat adjusted to the new location.
- You could have mom and dad come on the trip too but maybe stay somewhere separately. This gives you that bonding time you probably want, and mom and dad can feel like they’re on an adults-only vacation, but you have them as a support system if you need it.
Medical and Legal Considerations
Finally, depending on the specifics of your trip, there are medical and legal considerations to keep in mind.
Accidents and illnesses can and do happen at highly inconvenient times, including when you’re traveling. Your child or in-law should provide you with a form that authorizes you to get medical treatment for your grandchild if needed. A medical consent form should include the child’s full name, date of birth and insurance information.
The consent form also needs a brief overview of their medical history and a list of any medications.
The American College of Emergency Physicians has a template you can use.
Travel consent forms might be helpful, too, even though they aren’t technically required if you’re taking a road trip. If you’re flying, you will need a consent form.
A travel consent form should typically include a statement from the parents permitting you to travel with your grandchildren, the child’s birthdate and if applicable passport numbers, and travel dates. It should also include flight numbers and hotel reservations, and the notarized signatures of both parents who have custody.
Traveling with your grandkids is an adventure worth considering, and it might require a little planning but you’re probably going to find that it’s well worth it.