Grandparents' guide to traveling with grandkids

Dear readers: This is a guest post from travel expert Kendra Thornton, written just for Grandma's Briefs readers. Enjoy!

travel with grandkids

Taking a trip with your grandchildren can be a great experience for you and your grandkids — a time away from Mom and Dad to laugh, play and explore. Being prepared for your trip in addition to any possible hiccups will maximize the fun and limit the stress. The first step? Start planning well in advance to ensure you have everything you need to make your trip with your grandchildren their best one yet!

car with grandmaEntertainment
A lot of kids have their favorite electronic devises with them at all times. Although you certainly do not want to spend your trip watching them play Nintendo, you also don’t want to be bombarded with the dreaded "Are we there yet's." Before you leave, sit down with your grandkids and their parents to make sure you are all on the same page.

Having a DVD player, iPad or tablet can certainly provide hours of entertainment for the transportation aspect of your trip and keep younger children well occupied. If you are leaving the United States, think about investing in a portable DVD player. Since the compatibility of DVDs changes from country to country, you want to make sure you’re all set to play your grandchildren’s favorite bedtime show.

Bring snacks
Kids will want to eat on schedule, whether you are mid-flight or headed down the interstate in your car. It is unlikely that you will be hungry as often as they are, and it can be hassle to stop and eat every time a tummy grumbles. Bring along some of their regular snacks or baby food to keep their stomachs happy during the trip.

For babies and younger toddlers, make sure not to introduce too many new foods during the trip so that if there is an adverse reaction to the food you will be able to pinpoint it. This will hopefully limit any frantic phone calls home as well.

beach with baby

Pre-register and research your reservations
Being stuck in a long waiting line for a car rental or arriving to find your check-in time has been pushed way back at your hotel can make a trip with kids stressful. Make sure that you take the time to make reservations beforehand, and register for a rental car online or over the phone before you leave home.

Most of us are already in the practice of solidifying reservations, but what do you know about the reservation you’ve chosen? Do your due diligence before booking by using a local travel agent or online review. When my family booked a trip to the Island state, it was great to be able to read through reviews of Honolulu’s best hotels to find the one that fit our budget and amenity requirements.

Essential documents
Unless you are listed as your grandchild’s legal guardian, you will want to have documentation stating that their parents have consented to the trip. Although this will be less of a problem for those traveling by car, having a letter of parental consent — ideally notarized — will prevent any hang-ups with law enforcement or customs. This applies to children traveling internationally with only one parent as well.

If you have special circumstances that make this consent form difficult to obtain, make sure to get in touch with the U.S. Customs office as soon as possible and bring a printout of all documented correspondence with you.

boy with binoculars

Dealing with sickness
Although we all hope our vacations go on without a hitch, sometimes we all need a little medical attention. Whether it be a scraped knee or a necessary visit to the local doctor, you want to make sure you’re prepared. Things like motion sickness are common during car rides, boat rides and flights. Hold small children during take off and try to make sure they have plenty of fresh air by rolling down windows slightly or pointing the air vents at the child.

Bring a first aid kit as well as an extra set of clothes within easy reach for quick cleanups. I find that decorated band-aids have magical healing powers to get kids back up and playing faster than generic. Also make sure to have a copy of their insurance cards on file at all times in case you need to make a quick doctors visit.

Kendra Thornton Kendra Thornton is a travel expert, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of three. She is a long-time travel advocate who has been packing her bags and traveling the world since she was three months old!


Today's question:

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