Top Tips for Grandparents Traveling With Grandchildren

grandparents playing football on the beach with their grandchildren

Multigenerational travel is a relatively new thing. In days past, many people could not imagine spending the week with their in-laws, grandkids or any other extended family members. 

But now, as people change and generations of people move into new age ranges, more opportunities are opening up. Accommodation is becoming more plentiful, flexible and just better in general. 

This post is part of our family travel advice series

The way we book holidays is getting easier and easier with each passing year, and the way we travel is significantly more efficient than ever before. Thanks to all this, more and more grandparents are able to take their grandchildren on holiday. 

There are plenty of benefits to this, not least giving the kid’s parents a holiday too! It’s the perfect time to create lifelong memories and strengthen the special bonds between grandparent and grandchild.  

Did you know that according to a new study, over 50% of grandparents live 200 miles or more away from their grandkids? If only seeing them at Christmas is simply not cutting it, take control of your relationships and plan a holiday with the grandkids.

Here are some top tips for helping you to plan and execute the perfect holiday with the grandkids

Plan With Them, Not For Them

There’s nothing worse for young kids than being forced to go to places they don’t want to go by an adult. 

It happens every day; at the supermarket, the library, the doctors- they just aren’t interested in being taken somewhere ‘un-fun’.  

With this in mind, it’s super important to try and include them in the planning process. Pick a destination that will suit everyone and has a lot to offer. 

Consider the age of the kids – taking them to an all-inclusive resort that takes care of food and activities might be the perfect solution for a young group of children. 

children hanging out on a forest bridge with their grand parents

If they are more mobile and adventurous, maybe a road trip somewhere not too far from home could be the perfect solution. Not having to fly with kids is always a bonus, and keeping them on the move can be a perfect way to avoid boredom.

The interests of your grandkids should also be a factor in the decision. Sports, movies, space- these things all offer up pretty amazing destinations; if they have been showing an interest in sustainability as many kids do nowadays, then utilizing more sustainable travel methods can be the perfect way to inspire and excite them. 

Allowing your grandkids to explore a passion could aid in choosing a location, so make sure everyone has some input!  

It’s also important to consider the needs of the grandparent- it should be a holiday for you too!

Mobility, age and budget are all huge contributing factors to where you can visit- so choosing the right place with everyone in mind is a good idea.     

Prepare All Travel Documents

There are a few more things to consider if you’re going to be travelling with your grandkids than you might expect- especially if you end up going through some kind of border control. 

There are many rules that make travelling with kids more difficult- but safer. For example, if the names on your passport don’t match, there will be some questions asked and checks made- and rightfully so! 

Travel documents with a passport, drivers license and proof of vaccination card

Here are some things you should consider well in advance: 

  • Valid Passports: Your passports must be valid and in date for the entire length of your stay, and sometimes longer. Not only will this disrupt your travel, but it could ruin your holiday altogether, as you could be refused entry to a country. 
  • Health Insurance Documents: Health insurance is always a good idea- especially when travelling with kids! 
  • Notarized Medical Release: This form will be required by the doctors who could potentially end up treating your grandchild. You’ll save an incredible amount of time if you have these forms ready and you end up in a hospital.
  • Permission Letter From the Parents: If you’re travelling abroad, then this will come in very handy. This letter should contain your itinerary and both parents’ contact information and be notarized.  
  • Vaccination Records: Depending on where you travel to, the vaccinations of you and your grandkids could be called into question. Some countries actually require certain vaccinations in order to cross the border. 
  • Copies of any Prescription Medicines: Handy in case you need to renew a prescription whilst away from your local GP.   
  • Your Driver’s License: Your Identity may be called into question, so the extra proof is a bonus. 

Hopefully, none of these things will be necessary, but it’s better to be prepared. 

Don’t Ban The Internet 

It may be difficult to understand the younger generation’s obsession with the internet, but it’s also important to understand that it is a huge part of their lives. Taking it away from them could cause massive tension- it may be better to simply limit the time they can use devices. 

a tween aged girl in a car playing on her cellphone

Banning phones at meal times and in the evening can be a great way to go, or having a set time during the day when they can use their phones or tablets to catch up with friends can placate them.  

It’s also a great way to keep them occupied on a long journey or flight and allow for a bit of respite. 

If that’s how they want to enjoy themselves, don’t take it away from them. 

Plan To Have Downtime 

Downtime can be a crucial element to having a breakdown-free day. Travelling can be tiring for everyone, and that includes energetic young kids. 

Plan to have a good bit of downtime during the day, where you can enjoy reading or playing relaxed games. Naps are a great idea for younger kids and maybe older adults too! 

Check with their parents for ideas on perfect downtime activities- remember, video games and TV are not always the most relaxing things for a child! 

a small child having relaxing time in a hammock

Be as Flexible as Possible

Despite all your amazing planning up until this point, something will end up going wrong and changing the schedule. Try to be as relaxed as possible – being stressed does not help anyone. 

Younger kids can sometimes make planning anything very difficult, so keep their needs in mind and appropriately plan their naps and mealtimes.  

Older grandkids will actively try to change the schedule, and this is perfectly normal. They may have their own idea of what they want to do, and whilst you don’t have to say yes to everything, giving them some freedom can be a very good thing. Carefully consider what everyone needs, and don’t be afraid to adjust things in the moment. 

Enjoy Yourselves

Having fun and creating lifelong happy memories is the ultimate goal of this whole trip, so make sure you do have some fun. 

Enjoy the time you get to spend with your family, and try not to worry too much- it’s often the case that travel disasters and awkward situations that feel terrible at the time become the very best family memories somewhere down the line. 

Be prepared, have a solid plan, choose the perfect destination, and don’t worry too much if it doesn’t all go to plan.

Just make sure you enjoy your family time to the absolute maximum.  

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An elderly couple walking through a park with their grandkids
Children running along the beach with their grandparents - text overlay traveling with your grandkids

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