Traveling with our own children decades ago typically meant long road trips to Grandma’s house. My travel trick resume includes performing finger puppet shows behind my head for hours on end. Now with our own grandbaby on scene, traveling with grandchildren is the latest chapter in adventure travel.
How we could possibly be old enough to provide grandchildren travel tips remains a mystery.
Children have a lot of gear. A baby going on a one hour flight may require more luggage than the average client on an African safari. As the accompanying grandparent extra hands will be some of the most valuable tools you can offer.
Strollers, stray blankets, dropped teddy bears all will need picking up not to mention wailing babies and toddlers determined to live in an airport for the rest of their days. Check your luggage and come with a small personal item. There will be many things to keep your hands occupied.
Arrive early at the airport
Travel comes with its own set of stresses. Travel with children adds more variables to the mix. The last thing parents need to wonder about as they attempt to herd the crew into a security line up is where Grandma and Grandpa are.
Don’t be needy
Unless you are in the midst of a heart attack keep your aches and pains to yourself. Imagine that Mommy may not be interested in the fact you slept poorly when she was up three times feeding baby. Be chipper, put a smile on your face and breathe deeply. Remember these parents may be the people who pick your nursing home.
Can you say fun? The traveling with grandchildren motto
No matter what happens when traveling with grandchildren, and surely surprises will happen, enjoy yourself. Have fun with these sweet little people. Make faces, take them to the play area, show them the planes. Be the master of distraction. You may not be quite so cool when they are teenagers. Enjoy it while you can.
Do your research
Whether you are traveling an hour or twenty four, study the details. When little person is at their wits end at the end of a flight or train ride you can be a helpful grandparent by knowing where to go next. At the very least be willing to ask. Offer to take care of the details of boarding passes, car rentals and hotel reservations.
Ask before doing
This grandparent guideline applies to both multigenerational travel and living. You may think you know what is best for grandbaby. Here is a news flash. This is not your baby. “How can I be helpful?” wins over “You should do it this way!” every time.
Pull a rabbit out of your hat
No matter how fabulous your grandchild is, (and we know our own are the most precious on the planet), eventually they tire of all the old tricks of songs, games and funny faces. The airline may not be keen on you literally pulling a bunny out of your carry on bag.
Instead pull out a small age appropriate toy. Best to avoid those involving drumming or cutesy music. Seems not everyone on a plane loves 42 rounds of “It’s A Small World.” Go figure.
Do you have any traveling with grandchildren tips to add?