Traveling as a family is a great way to strengthen bonds and make lifetime memories. When it comes to family vacations, skip-gen travel is a growing trend — grandparents and grandchildren taking a trip together while the parents stay home.
Whether grandparents live around the corner or across the country, travel is an opportunity to create deeper, closer relationships because you’re spending so much time together.
Travel provides lots of chances for conversation that grandparents and grandchildren may not get to have on a regular basis. It’s a chance to find out the grandchildren’s interests, their likes and dislikes, what things are important to them, what’s going on in their lives.
Grandparents and grandchildren can explore a new place together, or the older generation can introduce the younger to a cherished destination or a way of travel that they have long enjoyed, such as a cruise.
Planning the trip together is also a good way for grandparents and grandchildren to gather for quality time, as well as ensuring that both have a successful vacation.
There are places that have organized activities for children, that give them and the grandparents some separate time to enjoy activities important to each generation.
When it comes to family history and lore, grandparents are a key source of information. Perhaps the grandparents grew up in a different state or part of the country — or outside the United States — and want to show their grandchildren where they’re from.
A trip is a way to share a part of that history, which the grandchildren can someday impart to their own children.
If the destination is a foreign country, or another region of the United States, it’s a great way to help children learn about and develop respect for different cultures. If it’s a place where neither has ever been, grandparents and grandchildren have the excitement of exploring and learning together.
Of course, there are some things to keep in mind before traveling with grandchildren. Make sure all three generations — grandparents, parents and children — sit down and have a talk about travel rules and what is and isn’t allowed. Things to consider are bedtimes, texting at meals and attention to food allergies.
From a practical standpoint, grandparents often have more free time than their children. They may be retired or simply have a more flexible schedule, giving them the time to take their grandchildren on a trip during spring break or summer vacation.
This helps parents because the children are safe and occupied while they’re out of school and their parents are at work. And it also gives parents a break, a chance to relax while knowing that their children are in good hands.
If mom and dad want to come along and make it a three-generation trip, that’s great, too. It’s easy to plan an activity that grandparents and grandchildren can do together while the parents are off doing something else.