Traveling with Grandma: How Grandparents Can Make Traveling Easier - Family Traveller (USA)

The old saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough go to Grandma’s.” But we’re thinking you need to take that one step further, “When the going gets tough, the tough bring Grandma!” According to the American Grandparents Association, grandparents spend $100 billion on entertainment and $77 billion on travel annually. Studies have shown that spending time with your dear old Nana and Papa will not only prolong their lives and mental acuity but also is a boon for kids (and parents), as well. According to a recent study by Boston College, “an emotionally close relationship between grandparent and grandchildren is associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations.”

But traveling is different, you say? More people adds more stress? Actually, the opposite is true. Here are multiple advantages to bringing Grammy and Papa on you next big vacation:

Divide and Conquer

Your 10-year-old wants to go snorkeling but your 3-year-old can barely blow bubbles. And mom and dad are playing a high stakes game of rock, paper, scissors to see who misses out on spotting a sea turtle. Never fear, grandma (or grandpa) is here. Grandparents love to travel (According to AGA, 66 percent, actually) but few are up for big, strenuous excursions and are more than happy to play on the beach with your toddler. Phew, now go out and snorkel to your heart’s content.

Six (Or Eight) Hands are Better than Four

Heading to a busy amusement park? Playing on a crowded beach? Your toddler is having a hard time keeping up? The more hands on deck, the more work gets done. Grandma will happily watch your toddler ride Dumbo again and again, while the rest head to the Haunted Mansion. Plus, children can wander away fast, so if your twin toddlers are playing in the sand with Grandma, you can keep a better eye on your oldest daredevil jumping the waves.

Plan a Special Date Night

You’ve heard raves about the hottest restaurant in town but your kids can turn an evening meal into more like a trip to the zoo. Order some yummy takeout for the kids and grandpa, and head to that fancy restaurant for a special meal with your sweetie. You’ll be amazed how relaxing and rejuvenating one night on your own can make you feel.

Are We There Yet?

Little Johnny pulled Susie’s hair and your baby just started screaming for a bottle. For one, kids will most likely be better behaved when an adult has their eye on them in the back seat. And thanks to grandma, you don’t have to twist and contort to feed a baby a bottle from the front seat, while the hubby cruises along at warp speed.

Two Rooms, Please

Face it, we love our kids but we are also with them at least 12 hours a day and on a vacation, that time doubles if your jam-packed in the same room together. Forget about kissing your spouse goodnight, you’ll be snoring before your head hits the pillow. But with Grandma around, there are two magic words: separate rooms. Grandma loves getting that extra snuggle time and bedtime stories with the kids, while mom and dad can relax and enjoy some snuggle time of their own.

When a Tantrum Erupts, Get Reinforcements

Nobody likes a temper tantrum but studies show that Grandma and Grandpa can have a better way of dousing the flames then a stressed-out parent who has a rep to protect. As a parent, you are the enforcer and have to stand strong, but Grandma, on the other hand, well she’s the friend, the confidant, the best bud. So, stand your ground and then stand back and let Grammy work her magic.

Early Birds versus the Night Owls

While there are always exceptions to the rule, let’s face it, Grandmas and Grandpas loves relaxation, early bed times and an occasional nap. Sound familiar? It’s like they’re made for each other. So, if your toddlers and young kids are pooping out, chances are Grandpa is more than happy to take them back to the room so you can party like a rock star into the wee, wee hours of the night and ride that hair-raising ride with your tween just one more time. It’s perfect. Grandma gets her beauty rest and the night owls get to spread their wings.

Julie Hotstetter is a mother to two girls, ages 7 and 18 months, a writer and a frequent multigenerational traveler. Often taking trips with grandparents, she also travels often with her sister’s family on large family vacations.