Traveling with the Grand Kids

Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

I’m so excited. My daughter and her husband have agreed to let us take our grand kids, ages 8 and 10, to Disneyland this summer. We’ve been wanting to do this for some time but their parents always wanted them to be old enough to do something this big. My husband and I are planning the week carefully. While we’ve had our grand kids for weekends in our home, this will be the first time we’ve actually traveled alone with them, without their parents. It will involve a plane trip and hotel stay. We are going to Disneyland, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo. Any suggestions you might have to make this a good trip will be appreciated.

Happy Grandparents

Dear Reader,

I wonder who is more excited, you or your grandchildren? It sounds like you have a fun filled week in mind. What a wonderful opportunity for  all of you. I think trips like this are a real gift for grandchildren as they will be making memories that last a life time. In one short week, they  will have  countless opportunities for learning, whether its airline etiquette or discovering where exotic animals come from. You and your husband will see the world from a fresh perspective. Even more fun, grandchildren allow us to kick up our heels, to join in the fun!

Travel offers both grandchildren and grandparents a rich bonding experience, and yes it can also be taxing. Your grandchildren are good ages for this adventure, old enough to understand a few realities that will help make this a fun trip for everyone. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan for your trip:
1)  The very best travel tips you’ll get are those that come from your daughter and son-in-law. They know when their kids are most likely to meltdown, what snacks to pack for a long day of travel, and what “rules” they will want their children to follow even in their absence.
2) Make sure you travel with a notarized letter, signed by your daughter and her husband, that grants you permission to travel and authorizes medical care for your grandchildren.
3) Try to plan “down time” into each and every day if possible. Leave Disneyland in the afternoons for a couple of hours. Have a swim at the motel, followed by quiet time in your room. It will keep everyone happier.

4)  Try very hard to eat well – too much junk food can throw off little bodies.  This can be difficult, especially in some of the places you will be visiting. I’m not saying deny your grandchildren treats, just be smart about it. By all means, pack some healthy snacks for them – fruit and string cheese is easy to carry and will fill them up much better than another ice cream cone or hot dog!

Since you will be traveling by air, here are a few more things to keep in mind:

1) Make sure you and your husband are very familiar with all of the airline security and travel requirements so that getting all the way through to the boarding gate is easier on  your little foursome and your fellow passengers.
2)  Set down some basic rules for your grandchildren before you ever get to the terminal. If they know what grandma and grandpa expect, they’ll be better behaved. Remind them that they will be using their  “inside”  voices. Tell them that they cannot kick the seat in front of them nor wander around the plane. Finally, they are old enough to know that any joking about security issues is simply NOT allowed.
3) Since your grandchildren are a little older, rethink early boarding for families. Sometimes all this translates into is more time sitting on the plane. It may be better for your grandchildren to be allowed to spend a few more minutes walking around the boarding area before being strapped into their seats.

4) Some kids this age have their own electronics to keep them happy. But you might also consider bringing playing cards, books, and puzzles with you. Enjoying fun time with grandma and grandpa can be a unique diversion.