You all know that we love to travel and, it is especially fun to have grandchildren along. Depending on their ages and the trip length, there are certain necessities that you may want to consider to make your life (and theirs’) a little bit easier.
The first, and I believe most essential is that they have their own age- appropriate luggage. Whether you check it or stow it, find something that they can easily handle in the airport and on / off trains. It doesn’t have to be new – one of your gently used pieces will suffice – but should be light weight and the 4 wheel variety. As they get older, they will want to be in charge of their own “stuff”. Missy K knows what goes in the overhead and what will fit under her seat. The older boys are now being put in charge of getting our luggage into the overheads and on / off trains! After certain age, they must be able to handle their own luggage and carry on bag.
Item # 2 is a backpack. Again, make it light weight and durable. It should have plenty of zip pockets, space for a water bottle, and a roomy main compartment. For the younger ones, being washable really helps. One of our cardinal rules is that everything that they may possibly want on the plane, train and automobile (think I just aged myself with that reference) must fit inside with room to spare. It should also easily fit under the seat in front or at the very least be easily accessible.
Item # 3 is a decent set of headphones. Nobody wants to listen to their music or movie. Teach them good manners and when the flight attendants approach, they must remove the headphones and speak to them. This also applies when one of us is speaking to them. By a very young age, they should be able to order whatever drink and food they desire – always with a please and thank you.
Item # 4 is some sort of entertainment device. Trust me on this, they will not be completely enthralled with the offerings on the in-flight video system. Books also fall into this category – all of our kids seem to like real books rather than ebooks. Just remind them that they do get heavy. They also have the responsibility for gathering up all of their things when they leave the plane, train or automobile.
Item # 5 is food / snacks. On road trips it just has to be junk food – just ask the Good Doctor! On long flights, they will need something. Just make sure that it is not something smelly. They are responsible for picking up their trash.
Item # 6 is a pillow. It can be their own from home or a really good comfy travel pillow. If you purchase one, let them choose what suits them best. Airplane pillows are notoriously germ ridden and not very comfortable. They will rest / sleep much better with a pillow that they like.
Item # 7 is something warm with which they can cover themselves. A small light weight blanket, a wrap or soft snuggly will work. It will get cold on long flights so be prepared. These are our essentials for making all trips easy for everyone. Give them the responsibility at a young age and they will rise to the occasion. Enjoy this time and opportunity to travel with your grandchildren – it will end too fast.
HAVE ANY GREAT NANA TRAVEL TIPS? WHAT DO YOU TAKE ALONG TO MAKE GRAND-LITTLES HAPPY IN FLIGHT?
TIP FROM A MOTHER OF TWO TODDLERS:
Wrap small toys in foil and let the kids unwrap them on the plane. The foil takes much longer to peel off and the kids stay happy and busy!