A “Grand” Vacation: Can Children Travel with their Grandparents?


Vacationing with Grandpa and Grandma

Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

Need a vacation after your vacation with your kids? Perhaps you should take your next vacation at home!

One of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry is called “grandtravel,” meaning, vacations your children take with their grandparents.

As a Child Development Specialist, I am a huge fan of quality time with the grandparents. Research has shown that infants whose grandparents had great family contact earn higher social development scores than those infants who did not have a lot of contact with grandparents. Research also suggests that children feel a unique sense of acceptance in their relationships with grandparents, which benefits them both emotionally and mentally. Grandparents can be a great support during familial disruptions and help to keep routines going. They can also be role models, mentors, historians, supporters, and voices of reason.

Yes, we are talking a lot about self reliance this month—but we don’t have to do it all ourselves all the time! Parents can get so used to relying on themselves, that grandtravel might not be in the forefront of their minds. But the news is showing that the roles of grandparents are changing due to parental age, divorce, and second marriages. So perhaps we can say that capturing intergenerational time is more important than ever.

Grandtravel allows grandparents and grandchildren can gain some quality time together while getting to know each other better outside of time spent with parent. They can also build wonderful memories—memories that are important to build while children and grandparents are young since grandparents may not always be around or able to enjoy special get-a-ways. And of course, parents are able to relax and reconnect while knowing that their children are having fun with people who they know and trust.

Already packing your children’s bags? Here are some tips:

(1) Pick a place where everyone will be happy: Cruises are very popular for grandtravel because they supply everyone with things to do and places to relax. Look for vacations that have activities everyone can do together as well as activities that are just for kids which allow grandparents to take a much needed break and recharge. Here are some other”grand” ideas.

(2) Know the children’s abilities and interests: Can the children swim well? Do they like to explore? Bike? Get on rollercoasters? Factoring in this information will lead to everyone’s happiness.

(3) Let the adults talk it out: Grandparents should talk to their kids first before getting the grandkids all excited about a trip that hasn’t yet been approved. By the same token, parents should talk to their kids about the idea of taking a trip without their parents to gage their readiness.

(4) Have a trial vacation: Don’t make a long vacation be the first time your child spends an overnight with grandma and grandpa. Plan a sleep over or a special weekend with the grandparents and see how the kids do.

(5) Talk out the rules: While grandma and grandpa are typically more lenient that parents, some rules need to stick. Which ones are really important? On the other hand, parents will need to relinquish some control and put their faith in the people who did a pretty good job raising you. Sometimes pancakes for dinner has got to be OK.

In the end, it’s about fun, making memories, and nurturing relationships. We have such a short window to enjoy children when they’re young and grandparents before they’d rather not travel at all. If you have the opportunity, why not give it a try?

Happy Vacationing!



6 Responses

  1. Great website!! Keep up the good work!!

  2. My Husband and I took two of our Grandson’s on a Cruise. We all had such a wonderful time. There were activities for the kids, while Grandpa and I took a nap, and activities for all of us. One of the neatest thing for the boys was that they could order what ever they wanted at dinner. They had never tried Lobster for instance and were to have Prime Rib, Steak, etc as they wished.

    However now we would like to do something with them On Land. Do you have any resorts that have water parks, or something of that nature with in them? Mainly looking for that in US, Canada, Mexico, or Alaska.

    Thank yuou,

  3. Hi Sharon-

    Just found this link for you and put it into the article as well for easy access:


    Dr. Robyn

  4. […] a plane and realized that we were sat across the aisle from one another —me, next to a set of grandparents and a young baby, and my husband, next to an already wound-up mother and her very energetic 2 year […]

  5. […] you’re taking a GrandVacation with the grandparents or simply going on a long car ride to visit Aunt Patti in Mobile, be prepared […]

  6. […] year.  Perhaps it’ll just be you and the kids– perhaps you’ll be bringing the grandparents along as well. While the trip can be exciting, it can also be potentially stressful.  After all, […]

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