Are We There Yet?
HOW AND WHERE TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR GRANDKIDS
by Loma Davies Silcott (page 2)
- Determine before you leave how much work you want to do on this vacation. Some trips require hard driving, arrangements to make and rearrange, and details upon details. On other trips, you go one place and have little decision-making once you are there.
- Keep it short and sweet. Why book a marathon? Long trips put people together unnaturally, and with the age difference, problems could occur. Therefore, a few days might be better for an intergenerational vacation.
- If your grandchildren live some distance from you and you don't know their interests, spend some time around children their ages before embarking on a trip together so you will not experience "generation shock." In fact, if you haven't seen them for some time, it is a good idea to spend two or three days with them at your house getting reacquainted before taking off on an extended trip.
- Making plans ahead of time can avoid many problems. However, something unexpected always seems to happen, so you and your grandchildren should look at it as an adventure. By all means, keep a positive attitude—even when things don't go as planned. Often these times are the things memories are made of. Always remember, the idea of the trip is to relax and have fun—so don't try to do too much.
- If you can pick the time to travel, consider the late summer when children's boredom is the greatest. However, don't expect too much reaction from children, especially the junior-high set. And don't take them on a vacation with the express motive of changing their attitudes, lifestyle, or behavior. Simply let it be a happy time and, who knows, some good things may just happen.
- When possible, take one grandchild at a time. This will let each grandchild know he or she is special and will give you a real bonding time. On the other hand, a sibling or a cousin can make a good playmate when you need time to rest. You will have to decide which is better. Now relax and enjoy your time together, and everyone will have pleasant memories to take home.
About the author: Loma Davies Silcott of Rapid City, South Dakota, has authored more than 600 articles. Her book, The Nuts & Bolts Writer's Manual is now in its second printing. She has recently compiled 42 of her articles for seniors into a book entitled Senior Sense.
- Put together a tote bag of books, travel games, and healthy snacks to help the "en-route" time go more smoothly.
- Include a small first-aid kit for emergencies.
when planning hotel accommodations, you might want to get a suite of rooms to allow everyone a little privacy. Take a night light because even some older children don't like the dark, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Be sure to obtain a signed, notarized statement from their parents giving you permission to authorize medical care. Carry necessary insurance information with you.
- If you are interested in taking your grandchildren to hands-on museums geared to their ages and interests, you can go to your local library and check out a copy of Doing Children's Museums: A Guide to 255 Hands-on Museums.
- If you can travel with grandchildren in the off-season, the lines are shorter and the prices cheaper.
- You can also save money by obtaining a Golden Age Passport for age 62 and older. It offers a free lifetime entrance permit to parks, monuments, and recreation areas administered by the federal government.
Where to Go...How to Get There
- American Wilderness Experience, 800-444-0099. Specializes in backcountry adventures such as wagon train trips, river rafting, and snowmobile adventures for the whole family. Or choose from 67 Old West dude-ranch vacations, many of which include supervised youth programs.
- B'nai B'rith Grand Explorers, 1-800-500-6533. A trip to Israel for grandparents and grandchildren to strengthen Jewish identity and build memories that will last a lifetime. Highlights include a kibbutz tour, the Golan Heights, and the Old City of Jerusalem.
- BritRail Senior Pass and Kid's Pass, 800-677-8585. Great Britain is more affordable, more comfortable, and less stressful when you travel by train. The BritRail Senior Pass gives a 15 percent discount on rail travel in first class to passengers over 60. The BritRail Kid's Pass is free for children aged 5 to 15 with the purchase of each adult Pass. Two adult passholders may request two free Kid's passes, and so on.
- FamilyHostel, 800-733-9753. Started by the University of New Hampshire Continuing Education (founder of the 17-year-old InterHostel program), FamilyHostel is designed for parents, grandparents, and school-aged children (especially ages 8 to 15). All trips are based in Europe and combine learning experiences with recreational, cultural, and social activities.
- Grandtravel, 800-247-7651. Provides 17 worldwide, fun-filled, educational travel experiences for grandparents and grandchildren. Each trip focuses on an area's history and heritage, its people and culture. Destinations includes canyonlands of the West, Hawaii, Europe, Africa, China, and more.
- Vistatours, 800-647-0800. Luxury motorcoach tours offered year-round to destinations throughout the U.S. plus Great Britian and Kenya, Africa. Several trips are designed specifically for the young and young-at-heart: Florida Fun, Reno/Tahoe, and Coastal California.