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Traveling With Grandchildren
Where Do Grandparents and Grandchildren Go?
- Discuss plans with and obtain support for the trip from the parents.
- Include the children in planning. Prepare with a library or Internet visit, researching activities and learning about possible destinations.
- Tailor plans to the children's ages and interests, keeping museum stops short unless they include a hands-on area for the younger ones.
- Arrange time for swimming and playing. This way, youngsters can expend a little energy while the grown-ups relax.
- Alternate major activities with those that are more tranquil. For instance, after spending a day at a theme park, plan the next day at the beach or a nature preserve.
- Stay at a kid-friendly hotel or suite property, which affords a bit more privacy. If you're unsure about the hotel, call the property before booking. If you're going to the beach, consider staying at a condo nearby.
- Before leaving, tell the children what behavior you expect.
- If you are driving, let an auto technician check the car. You should also obtain safety seats for small children.
- Find the travel option that best suits you and your grandchildren, such as a vacation spent volunteering, a stay at an Elder hostel, a family-oriented cruise, or a tour specifically designed for grandparents and grandchildren.
- Incorporate as much of the child's regular routine into the trip as possible, maintaining nap, meal, and bed times.
- Pack a night light, first-aid kit, suntan lotion, and comfortable shoes.
- Leave an itinerary with the children's parents.
- Bring along the parents' notarized authorization for medical care in case of an emergency and for crossing international borders.
- Colorfully wrap and take along books, games, and age-appropriate activities that can be opened along the way.
- Let the children bring a music player with headphones.
- When driving, stop at least every two hours for stretching and restroom breaks. Go with the children into the restroom.
- Drink plenty of water, eat healthful snacks and meals, and pack a few moist towels for clean up.
- Spend time reading together, watching a movie, or walking .
- Stay flexible. Allow room for spontaneity.
- Encourage the children to keep a journal, writing or drawing pictures about the adventure.
- Take photos and record the young one's comments. After the trip, review the pictures and relive the memories together.
Foundation for Grandparenting http://grandparenting.org
Seniors Canada http://www.seniors.gc.ca
Transport Canada http://www.tc.gc.ca
5 ways to survive a road trip with the grandkids. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) website. Available at: http://blog.aarp.org/tag/traveling-with-grandchildren/ . Published June 22, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2013.
Are we there yet? A guide to road-tripping with kids. American Automobile Association (AAA) Travel Views website. Available at: http://ww3.aaa.com/travelviews/2013/07/09/planning-is-key-to-an-enjoyable-road-trip-with-children/ . Published July 9, 2013. Accessed October 16, 2013.
Traveling with children. Transportation Security Administration website. Available at: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/traveling-children. Updated August 22, 2013. Accessed October 16, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 10/2013
- Update Date: 10/16/2013