For many older adults, the opportunity to travel with their grandkids opens up new opportunities to connect, celebrate, educate, and savor a very special time together. With the right planning, combining the generations can be a smooth and unforgettable experience.
At St. Mark Village, we are strong believers in nurturing the mind, body and spirit of everyone who comes through our doors—and that includes your grandchildren! Here are a few tips on how to travel with grandkids and love every minute of it.
Travel with grandkids: it’s a growing trend
According to travelandleisure.com’s “What Every Grandparent Should Know Before Traveling with Their Grandchildren,” getting the generations together for a trip is a hot trend. And it’s easy to understand, when you consider that more than 50 percent of grandparents have at least one grandchild that lives more than 200 miles away. A vacation can be a perfect time to bond.
While many grandparents tag along on a family vacation to be near their grandchildren, it’s increasingly common for parents to stay at home, while grandparents and grandchildren hit the travel trail. It’s called “skip-gen” travel. It can be a good choice as many seniors have more flexibility to travel than their adult children, and, as Family Travel Association President Rainer Jenss says in an article on Skift.com, many parents want to “pass down shared experiences with their grandchildren, not just give them money.”
Why is travel with grandkids, whether as part of the whole family or on your own, such a good idea?
It’s a great way to really get to know them
Everyone’s busy these days, and that includes your grandchildren! It’s hard to find time to have a real conversation. But on a vacation, you can really get to know them as individuals. What kind of music do they listen to? Who are their role models? What are they really interested in? Traveling together is a great way to build deeper bonds.
They get to see you in a new way
If the only way your grandkids get to interact with you is at the holidays or on a Zoom call, they only know one side of you. But on a family vacation, there’s time to have deeper conversations and explore important topics. You might be surprised how curious they are about your past. Spending time together exploring the world builds trust and respect.
You can share your knowledge of the world
Traveling is the best way for everyone to learn about different cultures, cuisine, traditions, and more. Your presence might spark their interest in a new culture or period of history. You can open their eyes to new parts of the world and find new topics to discuss.
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You can build priceless memories
When you travel with your grandkids, you are creating special moments that they will always remember, and you will have wonderful new memories as well. And you won’t run short of topics for future conversations!
You make it easier for their parents
If you tag along on a family vacation, your son or daughter and their spouse can have a night or afternoon off while you keep company with the kids. If you’ve decided to just travel with the grandkids, you are giving their parents a true gift of rest and relaxation.
You can get more exercise
Travel with grandkids means you’ll be on the move, which is a great way to get the daily exercise you may not get otherwise. Just be sure to stay safe and don’t try anything too risky (let them skateboard, you can watch.)
Tips for a successful multi-generational trip
- Plan the trip carefully. Consider their ages and abilities, as well as your own health and mobility.
- Carefully consider where you will go. In conjunction with their parents, as well as your grandchildren, consider what destination would work best. Road trip? Theme park? All-inclusive resort? Big city? Group tour?
- Get them involved. Involve them in the planning and offer them choices.
- Get them excited. Once you’ve chosen a destination, look for books they can read and movies they can watch that will offer some insight into where they are going.
- Don’t try to do too much. Remember, this trip is about spending time together and feeling good. Don’t jam in too many obligations and events. Downtime might be just as important to your grandkids as it is to you.
- Let them stay connected. Seniors often become frustrated when their grandchildren spend time on their phones or laptops. But remember, that’s how they most likely have always stayed in touch with their friends. So, while you can set boundaries, remember that tech is part of their vacation experience. Besides, you might learn a few tips from them!
At St. Mark Village, we celebrate you and your family.
A nonprofit life care community in Pinellas County, St. Mark Village offers you wellness of the body, mind, and spirit. Here you can be as active and involved as you choose, benefiting from a lifestyle that supports you in every way. With seamless access to future care options.
We’d love to tell you more.