Kids with Woody and Buzz Lightyear at a putt putt course, featured in Tips for Taking Grandkids on Vacation – Without You!

Hooray! Your parents have asked to take your child along with them on a family vacation. Everyone is super-excited about the wonderful experiences and memories they’re about to share.  

At Family Travel, we’ve been there, done that, so we’ve got pro-active advice to make sure everything runs smoothly. Here are some tips for you, the parents, to avoid some of the problems that could occur down the road.   


One Grandkid or More?

We recommend taking one grandchild at a time. It will create a special bond for them, and other siblings will look forward to their own time together.


What’s the Best Age?

Obviously, you know your child best and how they will do away from you. If your child is younger, it’s a good idea to start out with small jaunts, like an overnight outing to a hotel. A trip to Great Wolf Lodge or another destination with an indoor water park is a great place to start. Older kids, particularly those who’ve been to overnight camp, won’t have as much difficulty separating from you.

Two boys playing at great wolf lodge, featured in Tips for Taking Grandkids on Vacation – Without You!

Before You Travel



ID’s have never been more important. Make sure your kids have proper identification. A school ID, passport, or driver’s license (of age) will confirm their identity. Same for the adults.


Proper Documentation

Write a letter outlining your permission for your child to be with your parents, especially if they’re leaving the U.S., and have it notarized. State that your parents are authorized to serve as their guardians in case medical or dental issues come up.

Give your parents copies of your health insurance and dental insurance cards, just in case. Make sure your child’s COVID-19 vaccines are up to date, along with their vaccination cards as proof.

It’s also a good idea to include any prescriptions for medication in case their pills get lost, wet or need to be replaced.

Ideally, you should scan all of these documents and email them to your parents.

A girl and her grandfather, featured in Tips for Taking Grandkids on Vacation – Without You!

Give your parents current pictures of your child, so they have them in case. Recommended: both digital and print.  



Make sure your child brings something from home; a stuffed animal, blanket, or lovey, anything that will make them happy and comfortable.  

If your child is gluten-free or has other allergies, be sure to pack their favorite snacks in Ziploc bags.

When we took our granddaughter to Disney World, her mom made every day  easier for us by putting each day’s outfit in a plastic bag. Everything matched and we didn’t have to search for socks or underwear.


On the Trip


What are we going to do today?

Suggest to your parents that your child have a say in determining the activities.  “Do you want to hang out at the pool or play mini-golf?” While traveling with grandparents is an opportunity to try new experiences, flexibility is key for everyone.


Time to Chill

After a fun day together, it’s always a good idea for a little downtime. Remind your parents that your child needs time to relax and unwind. If they’ve brought along an I-Pad or tablet, this is ideal for some screen time.

Two young girls look out of a balcony, featured in Tips for Taking Grandkids on Vacation – Without You!
How often should they call home?

At least once a day, twice a day for the younger kids who need to connect with you. Use Facetime. That way your kids can see that everything is ok at home.


My daughter gave our granddaughter a few gift cards to buy things for herself and  her siblings, which we really appreciated. We still talk about how much fun we had buying those presents.  

Make a Memory Book  

They’ve probably taken tons of pictures during the trip. Encourage your parents to make a photo book of their getaway; one for them and one for your child to remember the cherished time they spent together.

Hopefully, these tips will ensure an awesome time for everyone…and you can start planning the next one! Check out the Family Travel with Colleen Kelly website for exciting destination ideas.


Photo credits: Mira Temkin


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