little girl with her grandpa

Grandparents’ guide to travelling with grandchildren

January 30, 2023

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When it comes to travelling with grandchildren there are several things you need to consider before you head out for the day. This article will give grandparents a little insight and travel tips when it comes to travelling with their grandchildren.

Travelling with children can be testing at the best of times, whether you are just travelling to a local attraction or jetting off for a warmer climate. Grandparents are playing an increasing part in their grandchildren’s lives by providing childcare whilst their grandchildren’s parents are working. As well as spending time with them in the traditional sense which can also include taking them away on days out and possibly even on holidays. 

Planning a day out with the grandchildren

When it comes to taking the grandchildren out for the day it can be a little overwhelming. Whilst you might have been out and about with them to various attractions as an entire family alongside their parents, this may be the first time that you are venturing out with them on your own – especially if you are both heading out to a new place.

Where to go?

Heading out to a local attraction could be the easy way to ensure that you have had a trial run before heading to a major attraction. However, sometimes you just have to buckle up the grandchildren and head off on an adventure, after all, this is how the best memories are made. There are many helpful tips in this Grandparents’ guide to Alton Towers if you are looking to head to a theme park.

There is a wide range of national parks, scavenger hunt ideas, learning experience attractions and adventures that you can look into during the planning process of where you’ll be heading out with the grandchildren. Travelling with younger grandchildren will be different to older kids so be sure to give this thought when deciding on where to go and whether you will need to book an overnight stay as part of the trip.

children and an elderly man sitting on a bench - Grandparents guide to travelling with grandchildren

What to pack for a day trip

  • Pushchair – If you are travelling with younger children you may or may not have the use of a pushchair during your day out. Having access to one of these can be both a blessing and a burden, allowing you to load it up with all the bags, coats, snacks etc. Perfect for allowing you not to feel like a pack horse during your day, however, not all attractions are 100% pushchair friendly and you might struggle with steps, uneven ground and transport options.
  • Bags – A backpack is potentially the easier option for you whilst you are travelling with grandchildren, leaving your hands free to keep hold of the children. Whilst being easier to carry than an over-the-shoulder bag or one that you need to carry in your hand all day long. Be sure to think about which items you will be accessing throughout the day and have them in the side pockets or located near the top of the main compartment. You don’t want to have to pull everything out in order to find sunglasses or sunscreen. Older children can also carry their own mini backpack to lighten the load for you and give them a sense of responsibility when it comes to their essentials for the day ahead.
  • Food – Whilst the prospect of carrying a picnic or snacks with you might feel like an additional weight in the bag that you could forgo and purchase food whilst you are out and about with the grandchildren. This is, of course, true, however, you may find that the children are too busy having fun to want to stop in order to enjoy a meal you have purchased, in this case, a packed lunch can be a lifesaver. Feeding them little bits as you walk between rides or activities will keep their energy levels up – plus save you money on things that they may not finish or enjoy.
  • Drinks – Many attractions offer access to water stations, which is great for refilling water bottles for both you and the grandchildren. You can bring along a concentrated squash to add to the water if that is more palatable for the children. This will save you money on potentially overpriced drinks, better for the environment by reusing drinks bottles and you can monitor exactly what they are getting.
  • Clothing – Depending on what time of year you are heading out with the grandchildren will impact the clothing choices you’ll need to consider taking with you. A waterproof jacket is always a good choice no matter what time of year as the British weather can change in minutes and what was beautiful sunshine is now showering rain.
  • First Aid Kit – Falls, trips and bumps are all part and parcel of travelling with grandchildren, a family vacation is no different in many ways from the injuries that they get from tearing around the garden at high speed. Having access to basic medical treatment with you will help ease their woes when they fall or sustain a bee sting etc.
grandparents with their grandchildren

How to manage the journey

It is a good idea to make sure you are prepared for the road trip ahead when it comes to spending quality time with your grandchildren. After all, in order to head out on the fun day you have planned you have to get there first. Making the journey an experience in itself can add to the type of trip you are embarking on. Making sure you have all the necessary documents and travel plans to hand will make it smoother from an admin side of things for your trip.

  • Car SeatsUsing the right car seat is the best way to keep your grandchildren safe when driving. Hopefully, their parents will be able to transfer their current car seat over to your car. However, if you have one already installed in your car and you have not used it for a week or two be sure to check that everything is set at the correct height and that the straps are well-adjusted.
  • Entertainment – Entertaining little ones when they are visiting your home, playing in the garden or even out at the local park is one thing but being confined to a car for a few hours can be a whole different story. My best advice would be technology, use whichever method of technology is open to you.

    Personally, I think a tablet is the best source of all-around entertainment, you are able to download new apps, films or tunes whenever you want. The beauty of a tablet is that the grandchildren can enjoy playing apps with their favourite TV characters, listening to music or enjoying a film and can either be handheld or attached to the headrest in front of them. You might want to consider headphones too if you’d rather not listen to whatever they are enjoying on the drive.
  • Snacks – This comes down to personal choice as to whether you allow snacks in your car or whether you feel that this is a bad idea. Do you want to fill the kiddies up on snacks during the journey before your adventure? If you are happy to have snacks along the way, then look at ones that don’t make a sticky mess. I’d steer away from chocolate that can melt, and sweets that can become sticky. Opting for mini packs of biscuits, fruit and similar snacks. 
  • Motion Sickness – For some children motion sickness can be an issue, usually, you’ll be aware of this from your adult children. There is a range of treatment options for motion sickness, including sickness bands that they can wear on their wrists. Restricting the use of reading or electronics in the car may also ease their symptoms.
a man playing soccer with his grandchildren - Grandparents guide to travelling with grandchildren

Memories last a lifetime

Remember just like the memories you made with your own kids, you’ll understand the importance of making lasting memories with your grandchildren.

Grandparents today are a big part of their grandchildren’s lives and having a good time together doesn’t have to cost lots of money, time is the only expense that they really want from you. If you can, take older grandchildren out separately, a great way to spend that time focused on them without being distracted by small children who require more assistance to complete daily routine tasks etc.

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