When it comes to traveling with grandparents –no matter how far you’re going, and whether it’s just you on vacation with grandma and grandpa or a trip with the whole fam — you’ll most likely run into some issues. Multi-generational travel can get tough, especially when trying to keep everyone happy. While traveling with your grandparents you may find yourselves tackling problems you’ve never had to deal with before, from destinations and activities to restaurants and room options.
If you’ve never vacationed with your older family members before, then here are some tips and tricks on how to successfully take a getaway with grandparents.
Choose a Destination for Everyone
The tough part is choosing where to go. The best thing to do is to talk with everyone traveling on the trip. Be sure to ask questions about personal preferences and room selections before booking. You may have to factor in things such as wheelchair accessibility, stair concerns, and long distance walks. Also, sleeping arrangements are important to keep in mind. Cramming a room with the maximum capacity of people may not be worth it, so book an extra room. And staying in a kid-filled hotel with a loud atmosphere may not be the ultimate preference of the older generation. It pays to do the research and be certain your destination is right for everyone.
Prep for the Flight
Wherever you’re flying to, spending an extended period of time on a plane will eventually get uncomfortable for your older family members. Keep a neck pillow and blanket handy to help your grandparents rest comfortably. Any medications should always be packed in a carry-on bag, so be sure to check with your grandparents if they’ve done so. It’s also a good idea to choose your seats in advance, so pop-pop doesn’t get stuck in a middle seat next to strangers. An aisle seat is the best bet for the older generation traveling on long-haul flights since they’ll be able to get up and move around.
Try Not to Overdo It
Planning a non-stop itinerary with no down time will most likely result in a cranky grandma or grandpa. We recommend spacing out activities, making time for a long lunch, and maybe even fitting in a nap. Spending any quality time together, talking, and making memories will surely light up your grandparents’ faces as well as your own. Everyone eventually gets tired when there’s a lot planned so it’s best to relax at certain times, especially when traveling with those much older than you. If there are conflicts and disagreements, splitting up the group can help ease tension; it’s okay to separate for a little while as families do tend to get tired of each other. Before planning and scheduling activities, think about who would like to join and who wouldn’t and go from there.
Young or old, no one enjoys a long line and constant waits. Plan in advance by scheduling dinner reservations, purchasing any tickets you can get ahead of time, and figuring out your transportation needs. If you’re traveling with an immobile grandparent, you should arrange for a wheelchair or assistance prior to arriving at the airport. Airlines will accommodate most passengers with health issues and you can usually choose a disability option when booking your flight.
Consider Their Health
Before your trip, make sure your grandparents schedule any necessary medical appointments to get any prescriptions they’ll need to take while you’re away. Purchasing travel insurance is also a good idea, since most plans offer protection from the financial hit you may receive if a medical issue arises or if there is an emergency that forces you to cancel your trip. You should also keep in mind any restrictions on what activities your grandparents can partake in due to their health to keep your vacay sailing smoothly.
Look into Senior Discounts
Did you know that many travel sites, airlines, hotels, and car rentals offer special discounts for senior citizens? In fact, travelers over 65 can save big on senior deals! So don’t book anything without inquiring about any discounts that your grandparents may be able to use. Be aware that the savings and eligibility could vary depending on the business and their policy. You may end up constantly asking if your grandparents are eligible for a discount when talking to these service providers, but ultimately, you can save a lot of money on restaurants, flights, car rentals, and hotels.
Remember to Have Fun
Most importantly: make memories! Traveling with you grandparents can be a great and wonderful experience. Creating new memories, relaxing, and exploring together is what traveling with family is all about. Try to forget about the hassle or commotion that may occur and enjoy the trip.
Have you ever traveled with your grandparents and have your own tips to add? Leave them in the comments below!