If there’s one guaranteed way to create memories that will last forever in the hearts of your grandchildren, it’s to take them on holiday with you. Whether you’re fulfilling every young child’s dream with a trip to Disney World, enjoying a week in a Spanish villa or setting sail on an all-inclusive cruise, travelling with the grandchildren gives you the opportunity to spend some quality family time, away from the rules and responsibilities of everyday life.
However, children are nothing if not unpredictable and without a bit of forward planning, you could run the risk of your holiday dream turning into a nightmare. If you’re planning to hit the road on a multi-generational holiday this year, here are a few more tips to help you and the grandkids plan an itinerary that’s fun for all the family.
1. Involve the grandkids in the planning
Both young children and teenagers tend to get bored quickly, so planning activities and sights that they can get behind without too much encouragement is bound to help the trip run smoother. The best way to do this is to involve the whole gang in the planning, listening to what it is they would like to do and gauging enthusiasm about the sights you think might be interesting. You could even encourage them to get on Google or flip through a good, old-fashioned guide book and pick out anything that catches their eye – even very young children will enjoy looking at pictures of a destination or hearing a story set in the place they are about to visit.
2. Kids come first
This might not be the most popular tip on the list, but when travelling with the grandkids, it’s best to put their interests first. Whilst you might be desperate for a night at the opera or a long afternoon spent exploring museums at your leisure, some young people might struggle to think of anything worse. However, that’s not to say you can’t find a compromise in some destinations. For example, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York offers activities suitable for little ones like a game that involves finding the objects inside famous paintings. Just be prepared to focus on the game rather than absorbing the art at your leisure.
Alternatively, you could focus on introducing the little ones to the magical world of museums by planning a visit to one of Europe’s best children’s museums, such as the Tropenmuseum Junior in Amsterdam where all the exhibitions are aimed entirely at kids; or the creative wonderland at the Labyrinth Kindermuseum in Berlin, where children are invited to build, paint, draw and explore to their heart’s content.
3. Be flexible
Whatever the itinerary, be prepared for things not to go to plan – meltdowns may happen or you might misjudge how suitable an activity is. Don’t be afraid to switch tactics and take each day as it comes – you may not know that you have overfilled the day until it is upon you. It’s also important to be aware of each other’s body clocks – just because you’re an early bird, doesn’t mean your teenage granddaughter will appreciate being woken up at the crack of dawn. Ensure you keep the schedule flexible but also tuck a few Plan B’s up your sleeve in case of emergency. Who knows when a rainy day might come along and scupper your plans? If all else fails, suggesting an ice-cream break while you regroup is usually a winner.
4. Give everyone personal space
When booking accommodation, consider how much space everyone will need to feel comfortable and avoid getting under each other’s feet. It can be stressful spending so much time in close quarters – tiny issues can easily get blown out of proportion. The way to avoid any clashes is to ensure everyone has an area they can retreat to for a break should they need to recharge their batteries with some alone time. This is particularly true of teenagers who might require a bit more space to get dressed for dinner or a separate bathroom they can take over at their leisure.
5. Buy travel insurance
Although nobody likes to think about things going wrong on a family holiday, accidents and illnesses can and do happen. Ensure you book the right travel insurance for you and your loved ones and give yourself peace of mind that you’d be financially covered should an unfortunate incident occur.
Medical Travel Compared can offer access to a range of different insurers, some of which provide cover for pre-existing medical conditions. Get your quote through our easy online comparison service today.
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