The grandsons, ages 11 and 13, were in agreement: no museum visits on our week-long trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls. Sad words for a grandmother who spends her days as a docent. However, sharing the itinerary with the grandkids before we go is one of the lessons my husband and I learned. After expressing their concerns about being bored, they agreed to visit one natural history museum with us.
We started taking our grandkids on trips without their parents to create shared memories and to get to know each other in a more personal way. It is somewhat of a tradition in our family. My mother took our children to Japan without us. These trips remain cherished memories. In a way, we are continuing her legacy.
For the Toronto trip with our grandsons, we designed a shared agenda that included something for everyone — we saw a baseball game and went to an amusement park.
Traveling also means eating out. Even though I am just as addicted to my devices as my grandsons are, we created one rule for all of us: When we go out for dinner, the electronics stay home.
Taking our granddaughters to London taught us a different lesson: the value of being flexible. As planned, the girls visited the National Gallery, sketched in Trafalgar Square and went on a scavenger hunt. Our itinerary changed abruptly when the girls discovered that an online video festival was in town. So we skipped our planned trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral and joined a YouTube event in which thousands of young people were queuing for a meet-and-greet with their favorite YouTube celebrities. We had suddenly crossed a generational divide. It was awesome. Letting them lead the way was an extraordinary experience and taught us so much.
If you are thinking about traveling with your grandkids, it helps to purchase tickets online for your daily activities. And you always want to be prepared. The benefits can include quick entry, access to special exhibits, and discounts to gift shops and cafes. Bringing their passports, medical cards and written parental permission gives you the right to make decisions on their behalf.
Traveling with your grandkids can be a rewarding experience. Trust your judgement and theirs, and have fun making memories together