I don’t have grandchildren, but I have many friends and family who do. They love spending time with their little ones, and I’ve observed the most fun they have is when they get them all to themselves. You know, without the parents watching every move their children make. So is this you too?
Being alone with them to love on them for an afternoon or weekend is one thing. But is it time to begin a new family tradition? Is it time for grandma and grandpa (or whatever you call yourselves) to start taking your grandchildren on vacation without their parents this year? When children reach a ‘certain age,’ they are ripe for this type of travel. The Cruise Line International Association says grandparents traveling with grandchildren without the parents will be “highly popular in 2018 and beyond”.
So for now, or for future reference here are some ideas to help you plan the perfect trip that will make everyone happy. It’s also good for the parents if they have time alone together. It’s a win-win all around.
1. Find out what the kids want to do and choose your destination together.
The kids will love having their opinion heard and they’ll ‘buy-in” for the trip, much more than if you decide what to do and merely tell them where you’re going. Everyone, regardless of age, appreciates having a say in what will happen.
INSIDER NOTE: Cruising is a fabulous way to vacation with the grand kids, ships have lots to do for everyone. There are structured programs they can participate in or not. Many dining venues are available on board a ship to meet everyone’s tastes, and entertainment galore for all ages. Check out this article on the Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s mega-ship that’s custom built for family fun.
2. Let the grandchildren invite a friend or take another sibling. As much fun as grandma and grandpa are, they are going to want to play with other kids. Having a companion along helps to break the ice with other kids. If they aren’t into participating in structured programs, they will have a playmate with them.
3. Let the kids know who is in charge. That is you, not them. Let them know you have ground rules and what they are. Such as not wandering around alone, letting you know where they are, and that you will be nearby if they need you. And there’s also the need for you to be overseeing but not overbearing while they play so spell that out.
4. Reserve connecting rooms. Don’t kid yourself. The kids need time alone, and so do you. Sharing accommodations, if it’s not a one or two bedroom suite, is going to be too close for everyone’s comfort.
5. Always carry a notarized letter from the parents that authorizes you to travel with them. This is especially important when crossing international borders, but it’s also important to have it with you even traveling in this country.
6. Choose a destination or ship that will be accessible for you and the grand kids. If you have knee or hips issues, make sure you will be able to navigate quickly. Keep in mind some resorts have hills or lots of stairs to climb.
7. Take lots of pictures. Start taking pictures when you begin to plan your trip with your grand kids. Take those snaps all along the way, as you’re discussing after you book, while you’re packing, at the airport, arriving at your destination, etc. etc. Document everything with photos and video. If you have a smartphone, take videos or do Facebook Live stories so the grand kids can show and tell their friends at home what they’re up to with you. These photos and videos will tell the story of their incredible time with you and remind you and them of the connections you made, the bond you have and all the fun times.
Some of the tips above will probably involve more than you want to do yourself, like actually arranging all the details of the vacation and that’s okay. The good news is you don’t have to DIY it. That’s what a travel agent does. Designing vacations that meet the needs of the entire group.
Did you know I offer free travel design consultations? As a travel designer, I help people plan multi-generation trips so that can connect with their loved ones and strengthen their family bond.
Click here to be directed to my online schedule to make an appointment.
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