Traveling with Your Grandchildren: Advice for the Ages

By Carol Band

A trip to the petting zoo might thrill a 3-year-old, but a 10-year-old would probably be happier playing mini-golf. You will want to tailor your trip to your grandchild’s age and interests.


“Don’t expect a vacation with grandchildren to be a dream trip,” says Helena Koenig of GrandTravel. “Everyone will have to compromise.”

Preschoolers usually do best on a day trip or weekend at someplace near their home. Plan plenty of hands-on activities with short rest periods, snacks and bathroom breaks. Prepare for their short attention span and be flexible.

Older children (if they are independent) are fine away from home for three days to a week. Grandchildren ages 5 to 11 are the ones who are most often taken on vacation with grandparents. Take advantage of their enthusiasm and energy and plan plenty of time for them to run, giggle and be kids.

Teens can usually handle two weeks or more away as long as they have a friend with them or are engaged in activities that they enjoy. Give teens time to be alone and don’t force them to participate in activities. Consider a volunteer vacation. Building houses for the homeless, working at a national park or taking part in an archaeological dig are worthwhile activities that can make both of you feel good about the time you spend together.

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