Traveling frequently and being kind of an expert at it tells us that doing it with our older grandparents changes a lot of things. There are some activities and preparations that we have to adjust since our beloved gramps and granny can't do everything that they could when they were younger. In their prime, they surely would have us beat with excursions and activities, but it's past that time now and they are now wise individuals that are or supposed to be, taking it easy. We want everyone to enjoy the trip, so here are ten reminders on what to do when traveling with the grandparents.
10 Put Extra Effort In Planning
At the beginning stages of our multi-generation trip, we always take our time with planning, but traveling with the grandparents requires a bit more thought. There are things that we should consider now that we didn’t put much thought into during our past travel plans. Things like the location, how to get there, and what to do there are always important questions, but especially so now with an older pair of folks along.
We can't just book stuff and go with the flow like usual. Now we have to think of our limitations as a group, and some facilities that our seniors might require.
9 Consider The Destination
The destination of choice might be their request if this trip is all for them, so we'd have to work around that. But if it's not and the location is still up in the air, then we'd have to consider a few things. First and most important is the weather, if it is too cold, it might trigger some pain, like arthritis. Or maybe it's too hot that it might trigger their hypertension. If they're too uncomfortable about the weather, they might not enjoy the whole experience. These are things we'd have to think about when we plan a trip with them.
8 Consider The Mode Of Transportation
Road trips would have us stopping for bathroom breaks in crazy intervals, we all know how our grandma and grandpa's bladder situation are these days. So if it's a road trip, map out the stops and make it more than usual. For air travel, try not to choose connecting flights. The hassle of disembarking and going up in a plane again is brutal for the old couple. Cruises are ones they might really like, there is something about the calm of the sea that makes them agree wholeheartedly. But let's ask what they want, maybe we'll like their first choice, too.
7 Be Smart And Convenient In Packing
This one is pretty obvious. When traveling with our grandparents it's not the time to be over-packing. We don't want to dwell on which pants or shoes to bring and end up bringing all three pairs of them. We have our elders with us, so pack light. It's not just for them, it's for us too. We need extra eyes and hands now that we're watching the kids and grandparents, too.
We don't want our hands holding the luggage instead of their hands. Don't forget to separate the essentials, like medicine. Put them in carry-ons so they don’t leave behind by baggage handlers.
6 Take Advantage Of Services
Being a senior citizen has its perks, so don't forget that we get to enjoy those because we are traveling with our own seniors. Firstly, the discounts. Tickets for fares may have them, so don't forget to check them out before checkout. Secondly, the special services offered to the elderly, like wheelchairs in airports, that's a comfort we should let our gramps and granny enjoy if they'd like it. Thirdly, lines and queues. Things could be much easier, and waiting should not be a problem for the elderly because of this privilege, and we get to ride that gravy train as well.
5 Adjust The Itinerary
The best way to go about the activities you'd be doing is to sit down and talk about it with the grandparents. There might be things they'd want to experience even if we think that they won't be able to handle it. But if they told us to decide ourselves, then here are some things to remember. Take the bus tours instead of the walking tours. Limit tours by museums and just get straight to the meat of the whole place. Pack the day with physical activities in the morning, but not a lot, then easier ones after lunch. That way, everybody can relax as the fun day ends.
4 Bring A Portable Fold-Up Chair
In places where we have to wait in line for our turn, it's okay if it will just be for a few minutes. But we've all experienced unbelievable queues in our lives, and our grandparents will have a story of two of their own, for sure. Bring one, or two, of those portable fold-up chairs, like the ones we use in camping. There are other more compact, and easier to carry fold-up chairs out there so pick the lightweight ones because it's going to be you carrying that around and no one else. So while they wait and entertain the kids, they can sit down properly and comfortably.
3 Pack Snacks On Tours
We've already noticed our kids getting cranky sometimes for no reason, but the actual reason could often be that they're a little hungry. It's not because of the long queue or something we said they can't do, they just need something to nibble on. It's the same thing with their grandparents, we don't want to end up in that conversation where a nice time could lead to words said and immediately regretted when we could easily have just taken out that bag of peanuts, chips, or candy in our travel fanny packs and restored peace by giving everybody who's hungry something to snack on.
2 Always Check The Time
Do not forget to get in the moment and forget everything else, maybe we could be carefree like this when we were still dating, but we all know we can't be as happy-go-lucky today. Kids disappearing and grandparents getting lost in strange streets. Check the time, check the group, and check our belongings. Be particular with the time, as the old-timer might be enjoying himself too much and forgets that he should be taking his middle-of-the-day medication. The same goes with grandma, she'll say something nice back once you remind her, like ‘thanks sweetie, now let me enjoy the view.’
1 Why You're Traveling In The First Place
Enough with the logistics and planning, and all those safety precautions, take a break from those lists and to-dos for a while. Don't forget why we are doing all of this. It's to have fun! Sometimes true fun is achieved with absolutely no planning done. Let's hope for bundles of those moments in our trip. This trip is not just so we can be safe and organized, it's also for our kids and their grandparents. Those precious memories and photos we are going to get on the trip are all going to be priceless. We just need to be in the moment, stay in it, and remember to have fun.