Ok,so let’s assume you are not going to be packing a stroller and diapers, nor squeezing your vacation within the two weeks your grandson gets off work-although you could do either of these. But for the sake of this blog, let’s say these grandkids are old enough to dress themselves-out of diapers and without a driver’s license of their own.
You do know what that means, right? It means at that age,they will have opinions, expectations and unique tastes.
Ignore this at your own risk. Seriously.
Now, you may be lucky enough to see your grand babies on a regular basis and from that, you know them pretty well. However, all bets are off when you are on the road.
So, tah-dah–10 Tips for Traveling with your Grandkids
- Limit your expectations to spending time with them. Period. If you get a chance to to scratch something off your bucket list-hurrah! And if the kids have similar interests as you-so fun! Spending time with kids must be the reason you are traveling. Anything more-bonus.Expecting anything more-recipe for disaster.
- Involve the little ones in the planning process. Often, kids find planning as much fun as the actual trip and there will be no kicking of seats, no ‘he’s on my side’ and no ‘how much longer? (at least until everyone gets in the car)This may be also good time to discuss electronics. Yours and theirs. Kids younger and younger seem to have cell phones, ipads and the like. Decide to limit the amount of time glued to these devices before getting in the car. One battle avoided.
- Decide on a daily ‘treat’ budget. You know how we grandparents can be. Kids don’t need a souvenir at every gift shop. Or maybe they do-give them an allowance for the day-when it’s gone.it’s gone.
- There will be anger and crying. Nothing brings on tears like a long and tiring day. And the kids will likely be frustrated too. You or the grandkids (or both! )maybe just need a short time out.Now’s the time to take five, to stop the car, stretch, have a snack, grab a bottle of water. At night, after everyone is settled in, enjoy a long bath or a hot shower. Take good care of yourself so you can take good care of your grandkids.
- Underplan. You WILL get tired. They will too, but they won’t admit it .If you plan your trip around motels with swimming pools or campgrounds with supervised kids activities, you can always resort to these if you need more activity to round out your day.
- Take breaks.That’s means stop the car, Grandpa,and actually getting out. Break the monotony of driving by stopping once every couple of hours. Community playgrounds or short local trails are great for burning energy
- Stop early for the day.When planning your trip,choose daily destinations that will have you off the road by suppertime. This will give everyone a chance to have a leisurely meal-even if it’s picnic food, stretch their legs, and do a bit of local exploring.
- Pack daily needs in individual backpacks,which can be refreshed/repacked every evening.This can be a sweater, change of clothes,toys,books, snacks, sooky blanket,swim suit & towels. Conversely,it’s best not to let younger grandkids pack their own suitcase for travel,else you may find yourself with a bag filled with stuffed animals and tee shirts but zero underpants.
- Pack YOURSELF a backpack-wet wipes, sunscreen, bug repellent, magazines or books, vodka, (Relax,I’m just kidding!) clean tops (accidents do happen and they may happen in your direction ) small first aid kit. ASPIRIN. More Aspirin. Bring lots of bottled water.
- Take tons of pictures,including selfies. Have fun with the camera and let the kids try too.
- Relax, and enjoy making memories and spending time with you grandchildren. Then drop them home tired, cranky and dirty with a suitcase full of stinky clothes.