I’ve been on a few holidays with my grandsons since they were born – one of the more memorable being a three-week road trip down the Highway One coastline in California, taking us from Santa Monica to San Diego. While it is more work than travelling with adults, holidaying with your grandkids is an experience I highly recommend.
We travelled frequently (and mostly locally) with our daughters when they were in primary school – for the most part just up and down the coast of WA. One Christmas school holidays, we spent almost a month driving from Geraldton to NSW and back. When the opportunity to do the Californian road trip with my eldest daughter and her sons came up almost 30 years later, I was stoked I’d get to experience a similar holiday with the boys. As a bonus, at eight and 11, they were at the perfect age for a trip like this – we didn’t need to work around naps, and they were old enough to have input into what they wanted to see and do.
Being the grandparent, I got to enjoy the trip a little more this time around… and have a giggle at my daughter trying to keep her patience as her kids presented her with all the same challenges she and her sister had given us all those years back.
So, what are the highlights of travelling with the grandies in general?
#1: I have made lasting memories with them
This holiday is one they’ll remember for the rest of their lives, seeing some of the most amazing sights in the world along the Californian coast. Being little pop-culture boffins like their mum, they got to see sets from their favourite shows, and drive past places they’d only read about or seen on TV. They swam in the Pacific Ocean at famous beaches – including Laguna and San Diego – and ate ice-cream on the Santa Monica Pier. These are the kinds of memories they’ll probably go on to recreate with their own kids one day, and I’ll always be a part of that for them now, which is priceless to me.
#2: You get to know them better
Spending a couple of weeks together means getting to know them on a deeper level. While we see our grandkids a lot, it’s not the same as being there from breakfast time until they go to sleep – there are so many informal conversations, jokes, and mini-experiences you get to have that don’t happen in smaller time parcels. They are also free from the usual commitments of homework, chores, and extracurricular activities, so they are more relaxed and open to chatting and chilling out.
#3: You experience things you otherwise wouldn’t
It’s unlikely that I’d find myself visiting places like Legoland (or staying in the hotel, with its Lego rooms and disco elevators) or going on roller coasters on an adults-only holiday. With the kids in tow, I did all these things and more, and with their enthusiasm, I enjoyed them immensely. Californian trip aside, we’ve also taken them to some of the places around Australia we particularly love, and it’s magical introducing them to these special spots.
#4: It’s fun!
As well as sharing a laugh, who else will convince you ice-cream is an acceptable breakfast every now and then?
If you’ve ever considered taking the grandkids away on a holiday, but you’re not sure what to expect, all I can tell you is you’ll be building memories with them that they’ll take into their adulthood. Even if you prefer to do the main trip with their parents in tow, do take the little ones out separately for a few activities on your own while you’re there.Plan your next family holiday