Growing up, the only memories I associate with my grandparents and travel were driving to their houses to spend the night, not traveling to Hawaii or the Caribbean. I do want to go on record, though, as saying those memories are priceless.
Grandparents today (baby-boomer grandparents, we are) have the means by which to travel with their grandchildren, and more and more are doing so.
I’m not talking about a trip to the zoo — at least not the zoo in your home town. I mean a trip to one of the family-friendly Great Wolf Lodge resorts (the ones in Kansas City and the Dallas metroplex being the closest); their activity-packed indoor water parks are a haven for grandchildren.
Or maybe a trip to the exotic ocean-themed Atlantis resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas, where there are endless water activities — both fun and educational — for all ages. Or it could be a trip to New York City or Hawaii or even a cruise. The possibilities are limited only by the thought process.
In my business planning every little travel detail is so important. However, in planning trips with our grandchildren I’ve found that it doesn't all have to be perfectly planned. Some of our best trips with the little ones were those that weren't defined by a daily schedule.
Speaking of grandchildren, we have four precious ones; they’re 2 years old, 5 years old, 7 years old and 10 years old. We haven't conquered traveling with the 2-year-old yet, but the 10-year-old has been on several trips. Her favorite location is Old Bahama Bay, a resort and marina located in West End, Grand Bahama (55 miles due east of Palm Beach, Fla.). The setting is laid-back, the staff treats the children like they’re paying the bill, and the kids can catch their own lobster or fish and the staff will cook it for them.
Even if you aren’t yet planning to travel outside the Unites States, get passports for your grandchildren. That way you’ll have them when you need them. And even when we’re staying within the States I take my grandkids’ passports with us. It's always good to have proof of their identities, especially when their parents aren't along.
When our only child was a third-grader at Pulaski Academy she was asked to name her favorite destination. Her little passport had been stamped several times, but she announced with such clarity that her favorite spot was Magic Springs. I share this as an example that it's not really important where you go with your grandchildren, just that you spend time with them. And oh, how it makes the teenage years with their mother so worth it now!
Theresa Kimberling has been in the travel business for 28 years, planning trips for large church and school groups. KimberlingKids@aol.com.