Five Ideas for Traveling with your Grandkids this Summer

April 2008 News
Memorial Day is just around the corner. Want to make the most out of summer travel with your grandkids? They're out of school, ready to have fun, and now's your chance to take advantage of travel time. Doug and Robin Hewitt, devoted grandparents and authors of The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting: 101 Practical Ideas & Meaningful Activities to Share Your Love (Hatherleigh, $16.95), offer this helpful advice:
The hours in a car can be loads of fun if you plan ahead. Remember, you're up against a culture that tends to isolate children with their entertainment devices (DVD players, MP3 Players, Playstations and the like). So, get them to turn off their electronic toys and interact with you, whether it's to talk or to play.
These tips were made for car travel, but you can adapt them for air travel, too. Beside, even if you're flying somewhere, you've got to get to the airport, right? Why waste that hour of driving when it's prime time with the grandkids?
Tell your grandkids some stories about your youth and their parents, too.
Maybe you're the kind of grandparents who love to tell stories, and you tell them all the time. If so, great. If not, speak up, because grandkids need to hear these stories.
Play games in the car.
I Spy, 20 Questions, Slug Bug, or Bingo cards with license plate numbers. Tell round robin stories. Someone start a made-up story with wild, exaggerated characters. Everyone else take a turn in continuing the story.
Ask the grandkids to read a story to you.
Reading is a great activity for children, and asking them to read to you shows them respect, gives them valuable reading time, and creates a special bonding memory.
Practice good safety routines.
Always write their name, address, and several contact phone numbers on labels to place inside both shoes and backpacks. Get medical insurance information from the parents. Even if they're coming along for the ride, it would save time if you had the information handy when a medical situation involving the grandkids arises.
Bring a backpack for your grandkid.
If your grandchild is bringing one along, great, otherwise you can give one as a gift. Depending on the trip, add appropriate items to the backpack: disposable camera, ID information, books or comic books, depending on age and interest. Hand-wipes are always a good idea. Include a change of clothes, too, so your trip isn't interrupted by lost luggage or a nasty spill.
Remember, summer vacations are special for children, and your grandchildren are no different. They're times when connections are made and memories are imprinted in their minds, and you can make this year's summer travel special.
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