Tips for Traveling with Grandchildren

Bill and Carolyn Newcott with grandkids via AARP.org

Bill and Carolyn Newcott with grandkids via AARP.org

By Susan "Honey" Good

I write often about traveling with the grandkids. If you haven't taken your grandchildren on a trip, I recommend it! It can be one of the most rewarding experiences for you and your "Grands."

But if you've never traveled with grandchildren, especially younger ones, traveling for the first time can be overwhelming! You may even be anxious about being properly prepared to take care of younger grandchildren… especially if mother and father are not traveling along as well.

So, this week, I rounded up some tips for making a vacation with your Grands fun and flawless.

Involve grandchildren in the planning process

If you're like me, darlings, you may love the idea of surprising your Grands with a perfectly planned adventure. However, no matter how in tune you are with your grandchildren, you'll never know their every thought. The best way to know what they're thinking and what they would enjoy... is to ask them!

Allow grandchildren to be involved in planning the trip. This will make them vested in each adventure and you may learn something new. If you have multiple grandchildren, perhaps allow each child to pick one day or one special place to visit.

Pack light

Lugging bags through airports and into hotels etc. can be draining. It's even more difficult when you're carrying the whole family's must-have's! Even big kids can get surprisingly tired when traveling, so don't be shocked if your grandchildren can't really 'carry their weight.' This is a great reason to pack light.  If you're traveling on an airplane, consider allowing the Grands to bring just a piece of technology on board. At a certain age, an iPhone or GameBoy will keep them occupied for hours and you won't find yourself lugging several carry-ons onboard -- and off-- an airplane. 

FaceTime

If you have the ability, set up FaceTime on your phone so that little ones who miss parents can still connect. Alternatively, parents who miss little ones will appreciate seeing their children's faces and make it more likely that they'll allow you to travel with the Grands again. 

Be doting grandparents but don't forget routine

No doubt when you were a parent routine was an important aspect of your child's life. Children flourish with routines. All of that tends to get thrown out of the door on vacation but there are some things that can stay consistent.

Mom and Dad's rules should be enforced even when we are away from Mom and Dad.  It's fine to spoil grandchildren… that's what grandparents are for! But certain rules must be maintained such as manners, appropriate behavior, eating healthy meals, and even bedtimes. An occasional late-night won't return any child's routine but a trip full of late nights and skipped meals will yield cranky kids and a bad experience for all.

Have you traveled with your Grands or do you plan to? Any tips or tricks for traveling with grandchildren to share? Do tell, darlings! You can comment below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. Let's talk!