Planning is part of the fun so it makes sense to include the kids in choosing a destination. But remember they don't know what they don't know. Begin by discussing big picture options. City or country? Beach or mountain? Neighboring states or beyond our borders? Would the kids like to see the Golden Gate Bridge or to send selfies with Broadway lights as backdrop? Does a Disney theme park top their list or might a backcountry cabin have more appeal? Depending on the number and the ages of the grandkids who will be in tow, be sure the adventure is one you can handle without additional adult support. Check the weather forecast shortly before departure and be sure everyone is properly prepared for what's on the horizon.
Do your travel plans include trips with the grandkids? Here are five ideas to consider when planning an adventure with the younger generation
1. OH, THE PLACES WE'LL GO
2. POW WOW WITH THE PARENTS BEFORE DEPARTURE
Of course, you know your grandkids. But are you up to speed on any food allergies and preferences, anxieties about travel, the need for a certain stuffed animal at bedtime or a teen's recent breakup? Will the kids have their own money to spend and should it be monitored? Talk through family rules about everything from social media to wardrobe selections (Are you allowed to wear that?) so you'll know how things operate on their home front. Walk through the final itinerary with the parents to uncover any additional insights they might have for making the trip as stellar as possible.
3. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
Consider discussing the itinerary and the rules of the road in a group phone or video chat. If the children are old enough, talk about topics such as bedtime, dining decisions and safety measures so it will be clear who is in charge once the trip is underway. If you'll be traveling with older children get three-way clarity on guidelines regarding shopping, snacking, social media, phone and computer time and options for independent outings. Upfront discussion can help avoid conversations that include "but my mom always lets me!"
4. TRADE KNOWLEDGE
A trip with your favorite young people can provide the perfect opportunity to learn from each other. Why not share your passion for history, music, golf or scuba diving? Visit a war memorial, take in a concert or music festival or challenge them to a putting contest. Be open to their guidance and input when it comes to technology, entertainment or their current sporting interest. Don't hesitate to share your experiences and knowledge with the kids. It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there. And, remember, you are part of their history.
5. EXPLORE A NEW CULTURE TOGETHER
Knowledge breeds understanding at every age. Exploring a new culture together will result in a tremendous bonding experience and memories for a lifetime. It's likely that you will each see a new destination through a unique lens, making for great conversation starters. Use transportation styles, food, music, language and art as launch points for exploration and share in the joy of learning together. Volunteer vacations can provide a meaningful way to immerse in a new culture while being of service to others.