Some Essential Tips for Grandparents Traveling Cheerfully with Grandchildren 2022

Traveling with grandchildren can be full of adventure, delight and treasured moments.  It provides many wonderful opportunities to build relationships and create life-long memories.  But to be successful, it does require some preparation and planning.

A recent trip that I took with my four grandsons is a good example.  The pre-trip preparation helped to ensure that it was an extraordinary experience for all of us.  It started with an invitation from a friend in Pensacola, Florida.  I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity for an adventurous summer holiday to share with my grandsons.  Two of the boys are brothers, ages nine and ten, and the other two boys are thirteen and sixteen years old.

Planning for a trip like this is essential.  Keep in mind, that even with the most meticulous planning, travel, especially travel with children, involves unforeseen “glitches”.  That is when flexibility and humor must come into play.

Let me begin by listing some important travel planning elements.  First, before “planting the seed” in the minds of your grandchildren, get your adult children’s approval for the trip.   In my case, I talked with my sons and daughters-in-law about taking the boys on a holiday and received their whole-hearted agreement before I did anything else.  After I got their approval, I broached the idea with my grandsons.  I asked them if they would like to go on an adventurous holiday with me to Florida.   Of course, they enthusiastically jumped at the idea.  I explained the travel arrangements such as who was going on the trip, when we would be leaving, and where we would be staying.  Children, especially younger children, are at their best when they know what to expect.

The trip will be a richer experience for all if the children have some prior knowledge of the destination.  Depending on the ages of the grandchildren, it’s a good idea to have them complete some research on the trip.  Although my grandsons could easily have completed their own investigation about Pensacola, I decided to prepare an information booklet that we could all use as a reference.  The booklet presented highlights of Pensacola’s history, geography, culture, and places of interest.

I gave each grandchild a copy of the information booklet and explained that although I didn’t plan to give a test on the information, I did want them to read the material and find one fact about Pensacola that they found interesting and one place that they would like to visit.  I also gave each of them a disposable camera and a small journal.   I explained that they could take any photos that they wanted during the trip and that each day they would write a minimum of a few sentences in their journal.

Some of my grandchildren were not inclined to keep a journal.  But I insisted and offered assistance to them because it is an important part of the experience. After the trip I had the photos developed so that the boys could include them in their journals.   The information booklet, the journal jottings and the photos gave a very complete accounting of our trip to Pensacola. I am sure that this documentation will help to preserve the memories that we created.

Before we set-off for Pensacola, we each named the places that we wanted to visit. The activities that were of most interest to everyone included: visiting the National Museum of Naval Aviation, watching a performance by the Blue Angels, going to the beach, attending a minor league baseball game, and dolphin watching from a schooner.   Although we compiled a schedule for the week, our plans were flexible and included a few hours of down-time each day.  This gave the boys time to relax, write in their journals, read, and have time on their own.

Aside from planning all the fun, a serious consideration prior to a trip is to address health and safety issues.  Although I believe I know all the important “stuff” about my grandsons, I asked each family to provide me with personal health information.   I asked them to write down medical information including allergies, medications and dosage, and what over-the- counter medicines not to give for headaches or sniffles, insurance information, and a letter authorizing me to make medical decisions during the trip.  Fortunately, I didn’t need to use the medical information that they provided but it was comforting to know that it was available.

I told the boys that they could each bring one special toy, game, book, DVD or electronic device on the trip.  Two of the boys brought their favorite board games that we played together in the evening.   For younger children it is important that they have the option to bring a favorite toy, a stuffed animal, or their blanket.

We had a wonderful time in Pensacola and the planning that took place prior to the trip contributed to the success of this adventure.  It’s not too late to plan a holiday with your grandchild or grandchildren for this summer.  Remember to take into account some of the important elements that should go into the planning.   First, talk with your adult children about your interest in taking your grandchild on a holiday and be sure to do this prior to mentioning the trip to your grandchildren.  Another step is to have your grandchildren research the designation region and decide on some activities or sites that they would like to see.  Be flexible with the plans and don’t become disappointed or stressed if things don’t go as planned.  Allow down-time for each day – you will need it.  Be sure to have the families provide in writing their child’s health information.  Lastly, have your grandchildren keep a record of the trip either by journal writing, or with a camera or video.  And most of all enjoy the time together and create fantastic memories.

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