Holidaying with your parents and your kids, or letting your parents take your kids away to give both the children and you a break, is nothing new, but since the start of the recession there’s been a huge increase in the number of such holidays and breaks. In particular, taking the grandparents on holiday with you can save you money if you share accommodation and if you ask them to babysit, as well as giving them precious time with the kids and greater involvement in family life.
For inspiration, see our recommendations for grandparent holidays and also our features on travel with grandparents:
A Three-Generation Trip to France
Skegness: a Family Campervan Break
A Family Holiday in Northern Greece
Grandkids, Goldfish and Golden Retrievers in Alexandria, USA
An Holiday with Extended Family in the Forest of Dean
A Break with Extended Family at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
Tips on Taking the Grandparents
With a large group of family, the most cost-effective approach can be to rent a cottage or a villa together – generally speaking, the larger the property/greater the number of beds, the lower the cost per head. This may mean you’re able to afford something bigger and/or better than you would as a single family – a villa with a pool, for instance.
Make sure everyone has their own space to avoid getting on top of one another. With self-catering cottages, try to find a place with a separate annexe or similar so that grandparents can get some peace. On campsites/holiday villages, consider getting neighbouring mobile homes or tents.
Don’t take advantage. Remember that grandparents generally have less day-to-day interaction with kids and will probably get tired more quickly than you do. Make sure you give them the opportunity to go off and do their own thing too.
Try to tie in trips with existing family members’ interests and skills – what greater gift for a boy than to be taught fishing by his grandad, for instance?
Tips on Grandparent and Grandkid Holidays
At least the first time, think about staying close to where your parents and kids are – again, this may give all parties peace of mind knowing you are on hand in case of need. It will also help all of you get the feel for it and give you the chance to tackle any issues or hiccups.
Do a trial run – something short and easy, such as a night in London with a trip to a West End show, or a weekend at the coast.
Be realistic about grandparents’ energy levels – there’s no point them running themselves into the ground and risking their wellbeing trying to keep up with the kids. Choose a holiday type where there’s scope for them to kick back and relax while the kids play – the seaside is ideal. Make sure they are comfortable with all arrangements and don’t feel out of their depth.
Consider some kind of escorted holiday, which can take the stress out of both the trip itself and the organisation of it, and give both parents and grandparents greater peace of mind. Cruises and all-inclusive resorts can also work really well.
Make sure that grandparents are wise to any seniors’ discounts they may get for hotels (particularly large international chains), travel or attractions.
Make sure that grandparents have with a signed letter from you stating their relationship to the kids, that you have given them permission to travel with them and your contact details, plus copies of their birth certificates.
Browse the rest of our comprehensive Tips section for advice on all aspects of travel with kids.