Is travel with grandchildren on your bucket list? If you or your family members hope to make memories in this way, here are five ideas to consider:
Choose a destination
Would the kids like to see an island volcano or send selfies with the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop? Maybe a sandy beach, a cozy mountain cabin or a river rafting adventure will be up their alley? Consider getting input from the kids on a destination that intrigues them.
One-on-one time with a grandchild can manifest a very special experience for both travelers. However, if you choose to explore with a small group of various ages, be sure to select a location or adventure you can handle without additional adult support. Check the weather forecast shortly before departure and provide necessary updates so that everyone is properly prepared. For more: nycgo.com; www.oars.com
Do a final check-in with the parents before departure
Sure, you know your grandkids. But make sure you are up to speed on any new food allergies and preferences, anxieties about travel, the need for a certain stuffed animal at bedtime or a teen’s recent breakup.
Will the kids have their own money to spend and should it be monitored? Cover the final itinerary with the parents to uncover any additional insights they might have for making the trip as stellar as possible.
Clarify the rules of the road
Consider discussing the itinerary and the rules in a group phone or video chat. If the children are old enough, talk about bedtime, dining decisions and safety measures so it will be clear who is in charge.
If you’ll be traveling with older children, get clarity on guidelines regarding social media, phone and computer time and options for independent outings.
Plan for alone time
Depending on the length of your trip, a little alone time may be in everyone’s best interest. Many guest ranches, resorts and cruise ships have safe and compelling programs for children of every age that make independent time possible and appealing.
While the youngsters are in camp, on a ride or a tour specially designed for their age groups, the grandparents can recharge their own batteries. Later, there will be even more to share over dinner or at bedtime. For more: www.UnCruise.com; www.WhiteStallion.com; www.waldorfastoriamonarchbeach.com
Share now. Save for the future
Traveling with your grandchildren provides an opportunity for you to get to know one another without the filter of their parents. Use the time to share your knowledge, interests and expertise and to learn more about their priorities. Your adventures can serve as future conversation-starters.
Be sure to take plenty of pictures and consider journaling during your time together, recording scraps of conversation and your observations about the trip. Once you’ve returned home, keep the connection by sharing photos, a scrapbook from the trip or discussing aspects of the adventure that mattered most to you.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com/Tribune News Service