A grandparent vacation with just the grandkids and no parents? Why not! It can be an exciting learning experience for the whole family – and it will definitely bring you closer together!
Your parents have just asked if they can take your kids along on their next vacation during the long summer break. Where do you sign up?!?! Here are a few things to keep in mind when sending your child off on a vacation with their grandparents.
If your parents are taking the kids outside of the country, everyone will need a passport. Depending on where they’re going, they might also need visas. But that’s not all. Copies of birth certificates and a note of consent will be needed for each child going on a holiday with grandparents. Both parents need to notarize and sign these consent letters. For road trips within the US, this type of paperwork isn’t really necessary. But it can come in handy during an emergency.
In your letter, be sure to list all the information that will identify your child and their grandparents. Write that the kids are on holiday with grandparents. You should include your child’s birth date and passport number as well as the birth date and passport number of the accompanying grandparents. Detail the group’s travel plans including flight number, hotels, departure, and return dates. Remember to also provide your contact information. For more information about consent letters, look at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
No doubt your children should be a bit older before you feel comfortable having them fly off without you. Still, a few simple tricks will help even bigger kids get a holiday with grandparents off to a good start. When booking the flights, ask your parents to try to get the first flight out that's not ridiculously early. That way, you'll decrease the chance of flight delays. In addition, they should book direct flights to avoid any difficulties with layovers.
You’ll want to make sure the group gets to the airport early. Lines are sometimes long and it’s impossible to hurry little ones. Also, it’s much easier to navigate security if everyone uses slip-on shoes, though be sure to avoid sandals or flip-flops while traveling. You don't want an unruly suitcase to run over someone's toes!
Although younger children usually don’t need to take off their shoes, grandparents will be able to help faster if they don’t need to fiddle with laces. To pass the time in the boarding area and during the flight, be sure to bring along some games. These can be in electronic form, portable board games, or you can make them up on the spot! Ask smaller children to look for all the planes with certain logos or to listen for specific announcements. Don’t forget some treats for the flight, and you might want to buy them in advance to avoid expensive airport prices!
Since a holiday with grandparents will probably be a new experience for everyone, it’s better to talk in advance about everyone’s expectations. A multi-city itinerary with lots of sightseeing might be difficult to navigate or not be to everyone’s tastes. Luckily, there are a lot of alternatives today, as well as specialized agencies that cater to multi-generational travel. They’ll help you find trips for the outdoorsy types, safaris across lush savannas, or educational journeys to tropical forests.
One ideal option is a cruise. They’re packed with activities and are also great for letting everyone find something they like to do. Maybe grandma and grandpa want to sit on the deck and talk to new-found friends before lunch. That gives the kids a chance to check out the pool or take part in some sports. The on-shore visits are easy-to-handle stop-overs that are also fun and instructive. No one needs to lug suitcases from one hotel to another or rush to catch buses or trains. Comfortable cabins and freshly prepared food are waiting upon return.
Another great option, especially these days with COVID-19 related travel expenses, is Cousin Camp. You might not be traveling far, but it's a fantastic way to build lasting family memories.
No matter where your family decides to go, a children’s vacation with grandparents can be a magnificent adventure. The children, as well as the adults, will have wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Just be sure to share your favorite photos with the rest of the family on FamilyApp!