There is no better way to connect with grandkids than on a vacation where you can spend quality time together, but good planning is of paramount importance so the kids stay engaged. Following are five steps to ensure everything is covered, from pre-vacation tasks to keeping the memories alive forever.
1. Get the Necessary Travel Documents
While some travel documents are required, others are strongly advised if you’re traveling only with your grandkids—minus their parents. Make copies of the following and pack them in separate suitcases in case any luggage gets lost.
- A notarized letter that gives grandparents permission to travel with their grandkids. While not legally required, it adds a level of security in case you run into any issues. Include everyone’s legal names and contact information—grandparents, grandkids and parents. Also include the dates and locations of where you’ll be traveling.
- Insurance cards are important in case any of the grandkids get sick or hurt during the trip, and a trip to the ER or Urgent Care is needed.
- For international travel, confirm that passports haven’t expired and write down the passport numbers in case they get lost.
2. Decide Where to Go
When picking a destination, think about whether you want indoor or outdoor activities, and how far away from home you’re willing to travel.
- Road Trips—Road trips can be especially kid-friendly, as you have control over your route and time. For example, if the kids need a break from the car, or you discover somewhere new to explore, you can switch it up spontaneously.
- Cruises—There are numerous kid-friendly cruise lines that provide social activities for all ages. From pools to shows and island hopping to game rooms, a cruise means you don’t have to worry about too much planning. Just board the boat and let the crew take the organizing from there.
- International Travel—This is often be the most memorable, but requires meticulous planning. With countless destination possibilities, visiting another country would be a vacation both you and your grandkids will never forget.
3. Prepare Before You Travel
Having candid conversations beforehand with both the parents and grandkids will set you up for a kid-friendly trip everyone will enjoy, with all plans and expectations known in advance.
- Prepare Grandkids for the Destination—Find books they can read about the destination, movies that took place there, or look at photos online together to get them excited for your trip.
- Discuss and Agree on Ground Rules—What is the budget for souvenirs? What are the rules for snacks and desserts? What are the sleeping arrangements? These are all good questions for the grandparents and parents to discuss beforehand.
- Plan Activities Ahead of Time—Seeing a full itinerary will get your grandkids excited for the trip. Research activities in advance that may require packing specific equipment or clothing, like swimming and hiking.
4. During the Trip
- Choose Activities You Can Enjoy Together—Find activities that fit everyone’s interests and physical abilities, so you can maximize your time together. Look for unique museums, historical sites or outdoor spots.
- Document the Trip with Photos and Videos—Take photos and videos from start to finish! You never know what part of the trip will end up being your favorite, so document everything.
- Have a Plan B—Don’t let weather, traffic or crowds ruin a single day of your trip. Always have a backup plan, with another option you can seamlessly transition to. This will keep the disappointment factor at bay for your excited grandkids.
- Make Time for Regular Check-ins with Parents—Plan a time to call daily, like right after breakfast or before the grandkids go to bed. Their parents will be eager to hear how the trip is going, and solid communication will help build a trusting foundation for future solo trips with your grandkids.
5. After the Trip – Share & Preserve Your Memories
While the parents likely enjoyed a few peaceful days, they’ll be excited to see their kids again and hear all about the vacation. Of course, this will require sharing plenty of photos and videos. Consider a trusted resource such as iMemories, which can help you digitize everything, easily share the memories with the parents and other family members, and keep them safe forever. This precious time with your grandkids is irreplaceable, so be sure to preserve those memories in a way that they’ll be safe and accessible for a lifetime.