Tips for Traveling with Grandchildren and Adult Children
A few years ago – my mother and father-in-law surprised us when they mentioned that they wanted to take my husband and I and our two kids on vacation with them. My sister-in-law and her husband and their kid were going too, of course. I’m not going to lie – I was scared.
We don’t live in the same city as my in-laws and therefore see them once a month at most. How are we all going to manage to spend eight days and nights with each other?! How do they travel? What do they expect? I have to admit, there were a few bumps the first day, but the rest of the trip went so well that we wanted to travel with them again and again!
We have continued to travel together and love the experience and the memories it makes for our kids. Even better – the kids love it. Having grandma and grandpa on vacation with them is one of the highlights of the trip for my kids.
Traveling with grandchildren, adult children, or friends can work well, but you have to make it work. We’ve learned a few things from our travel, here are some tips for making that first trip together as a family the best it can be.
1) Communicate Before Trip Planning Even Starts:
You’d be amazed at how many people don’t communicate up front. We wanted to know how they like to travel and found out that they wish to plan a lot more upfront then we do. My husband and kids and I love to “wing it” when we go on vacation. We did a lot of talking beforehand on how to make those two things work. Make sure you’re communicating up front. No one wants to learn that you need to sleep in until noon every day once you’re on vacation. You need to tell people that up front so they can prepare and work around that.
2) Give a little:
Maybe your way of traveling isn’t always the best way. Honestly, I think my husband and I could have participated a little more in the planning despite the fact it wasn’t our style. What I learned from my mother and father in law on that trip is that you can’t really “wing it” when it comes to meals and fast passes in Disney World. I’m so thankful we went on vacation with planners because that is the reason we had so much fun and got to experience all of the best rides and restaurant. Be open to other travelers in your party and the ideas they have – you may find yourself in a castle, eating lunch with princesses if you do.
3) Leave the Door Open to Communicate During the Trip
Communication is so vital that it’s on this list twice. Make sure you leave the door open for discussion during the trip. We’ve all been on vacation and unexpectedly didn’t feel like doing something we planned to do or suddenly found something more interesting to do that we couldn’t miss. Make sure you tell the people you’re traveling with that you would like to know when things aren’t working on vacation. If and when they bring something up during the trip, take the time to listen and work it out together. The faster you address it, the quicker you’ll be back to having fun on vacation.
4) Be Upfront About Money Expectations Before Your Trip
Are you expecting to split the cost of transportation? Are you hoping to treat everyone for a dinner or two? Do you need people to chip in for gas? You probably have something in mind mention these expectations as soon as you can. Let everyone know the expectations of the trip as early as you. Make sure you listen and work out any disagreements when it comes to money, even if the conflict is about you wanting to treat. My husband and I learned this the hard way when we invited his parents to go on vacation with us. We wanted to take care of the cost to stay at the house we rented and have his parents stay as our guest. They asked several times to let them pay, which we thought was them just being polite.
If we had listened, we would have heard them saying that they didn’t want us to pay because it wouldn’t make them feel comfortable and relaxed during vacation. Luckily, we talked through this (see Item #3 above) the first day of vacation and came to an agreement where we all felt comfortable.
5) Ask About Routines
As you know, some kids need naps and meals at certain times. That goes for the grown-ups too. Your son-in-law might need a cup of coffee before he can talk to people in the morning or enjoys a glass of wine with dinner on vacation. Make sure you talk through some of these things before you go and plan around them.
6) Leave Each Other Room
You can have too much of a good thing. Make sure you set aside some time where you won’t be together all the time. This can be breaks throughout the day or day trips within the vacation. While on vacation with our family, my husband, kids and I took a quick day trip and had some time alone with just each other. This was a nice break for all of us, and we returned the next day with a refreshed attitude.
7) Try it Out
Not sure you’re ready to travel with the kids and grandchildren? Take a trial run. Plan a short weekend getaway together and see how it goes. Chances are you’ll have a great time! It’s a great way to learn from the experience without committing to a full week together.
We’re still learning how to make this all work. Do you have any suggestions for traveling with adult children or with family or friends? Share your ideas in the comments.