Taking a trip with their grandkids is something active older adults can do to get to know them and build a relationship that lasts. But making it a successful and fun adventure takes planning and understanding. From how you travel to where you go, here are tips for making a trip with your teenage grandkids one to remember.
Tip #1 – Plan with them, not around them. Although the grandparents will be in charge, planning a trip with the teens’ input will ensure everyone is going to be happy and have a great time. Active older adults may not always appreciate how different a 15-year-old is from an 8-year-old grandchild, so even though Disney World may seem like a great idea, they may not agree. Rather than start off on the wrong foot, explain to them that you want them to help decide the destination then ask them to share their ideas and firm up plans that everyone is excited about. For some great ideas, the family vacationist.com blog “10 Places You Shouldn’t Travel with Teens (and Where to Go Instead)” can help.
Tip #2 – Understand that each child is different. In the case of more than one grandchild, even active older adults who spend a fair amount of time with their grandkids may not appreciate that while they are siblings, they are likely very different. One may love to hike in wide open spaces, while the other would prefer spending time reading by the pool. Or perhaps they both love to camp but one loves the woods and the other prefers the lake. Both have legitimate likes and dislikes so finding ways to please both while having a good time together is key to success. For more tips for active older adults from experienced grandparents, the blog, “7 Ways to Enjoy Travel With Teens and Tweens,” is a great resource from thepointsguy.com.
Tip #3 – Do what you want to. Being an active older adult means being an active participant so be sure to include your desires in the agenda. For example, if the destination includes a museum that’s on your bucket list, let the teens know it’s not optional. At the same time, let them each choose something they want to do as well so that everyone feels included. It might even turn out that each person finds something new they never thought they would enjoy.
Tip #4 – Lay the ground rules. Before the trip begins, active older adults should spend time with the grandkids and their parents establishing ground rules. In addition to requirements for traveling on planes, trains, cruise ships, and other public transportation, set reasonable guidelines for use of electronic devices (they may already have these set by parents) as well as lights out times, and what they are allowed to do on their own. When an active older adult is also the adult in charge, it is important that they are comfortable with the ground rules since they are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of the grandkids. Learn more ways to keep teens safe while traveling in the familyvacationcritic.com blog, “10 Safety Tips for Travel With Teens.”
Tip #5 – Schedule down time. Active older adults who haven’t spent a lot of time with their grandkids may be a bit surprised that they too have their moments. They may feel overwhelmed, moody, or just plain tired. Traveling and time changes can be hard on everyone, and especially on teens, so taking breaks to take a nap, relax or just be alone and regroup can help keep everyone in a good mood. Active older adults should also keep in mind that plans may have to change to accommodate weather or other uncontrollable factors, so having a quiet time “Plan B” can go a long way toward keeping everyone refreshed and happy. Find out more in The Globe and Mail article, “How to keep the peace when travelling with adult kids and grandkids.”
Being an active older adult traveling with teens can require patience and fortitude, but in the end, the trip will be one to remember forever. At Sonrisa Senior Living, we appreciate the value of family travel, and we love to hear about our residents’ adventures, and the Sonrisa lifestyle makes it easy to lock up and leave on an adventure without the worries of owning a home! To learn more about Sonrisa, our housing options and amenities, contact us today!