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:

What are your travel plans for this summer?

5 reasons why grandkids love Grandma

Today I'm pleased to share with you a guest post highlighting a point of view from the other side of grandmotherhood.

Guest post by Sara Dawkins, written especially for Grandma's Briefs readers

As a grandchild and great grandchild, I have been blessed to know my grandma and two great-grandmothers on a deeper level than most. As a grandmother you may think that we grandchildren love you for your never-ending candy supply and your gift-giving ability, but believe it or not there is more. When I was younger there were a handful of things that kept me loving my grandmother, and as an older grandchild I whole-heartedly still adore the following things:

Your smell: This may seem weird at first sight (or scent) but you have a smell. Whether it is the same perfume that grandfather has been giving to you on your birthday for the past the twenty-eight years or your Dial hand soap, we love it. It is amazing how much scent can stir up memories and feelings. Stick to what you are doing and don’t change!

Holidays: The colors, the music, the smells, the laughter, the cookies, and the food! Spending the holidays with grandmother is like living in a movie. Every December, grandchildren get excited and giggly at the thought of spending time with you in your kitchen or eating at the family table.

Your hugs: There is something different about a grandmother’s hug. Your hug seems softer but stronger, warm and safe. A grandmother’s hug is usually paired with a quick swaying movement and followed with some sort of adoration for us. Never underestimate the power of a grandmother’s hug.

Your jewelry: Oh my! As I child I could spend hours rifling through Grandma’s jewelry box. A granddaughter trying on her grandmother’s jewelry for the first time is the moment when a little girl realizes she wants to grow up and be a grandmother with tons of necklaces and bracelets. Playing dress up is a must!

Your kitchen: Grandmothers are the masters of their kitchens. Watching grandma gracefully hurry from the stove to the fridge and back is almost an art form. Not to mention the finished products you whip up in no time. King Ranch Chicken. My grandmother would stomp her foot if she knew that was my favorite dish she cooked. Cooking side by side with your grandmother is one of the most memorable moments of any child’s life.

So as a professional grandchild, I would like to say this: Grandmothers, we love and adore you as much as you love and adore us. Keep that cookie jar full and those arms open.

Author Bio
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of a nanny agency. Learn more about her here.

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Today's question:

Why did/do you love your grandma(s)?

Great resource for grandparents

I've found very few websites of worth for grandparents, at least grandparents that look, sound and act like the grandparents Jim and I are. But today I ran across a pretty good one I think everyone will like. It's called GRAND and the tagline is "The online magazine for grandparents and the grandkids who love them." Grandmas: You won't want to miss their "Sexiest Granddad Award winners" feature!

AND, look who made the cover this month! (Okay, not really, but there's a really cool feature that allows you to upload a photo and create a cover to e-mail, print, share.)

Check it out!

(Note: This may be a tad biased, but after creating the cover of Bubby, I looked at all the other custom covers by grandparents and I gotta say, Bubby definitely is the cutest grandson ever!!)

*Props to Megan's friend Allison for the fantastic photo of Bubby!