Family & Pets
Planning a trip with the grandkids? Here’s how to make it fun!
In order to make sure that your trip with your grandkids will be fun for everyone, it's important to keep a few things in mind before heading off.
Get their input
Rather than just planning everything out for the kids, why not get them to help make a decision about the itinerary. By getting them involved in the decision making process it will make them feel more of an equal player on the trip.
Ian Jackson, Boomers Travel Insurance Managing Director, says it's increasingly common for Australians to take their grandchildren on overseas holidays, exposing them to difficulties not ordinarily encountered at home.
“Different countries have different policies on allowing children to enter and leave without their parents,” Jackson advises. “Children travelling with a guardian can leave and return to Australia with only their passports, but other countries have strict rules that require documents beyond the regular passport and visa.”
Jackson also says it is important to check requirements with the embassy, high commission or consulate of each destination country.
Some countries required evidence that a child had parental permission to travel, or might request other documents to identify the parents such as birth certificates, adoption papers or custody orders.
Be aware of the Smart Traveller Insurance Guidelines when travelling with children
- Be aware of documentation required by authorities in all countries to be visited.
- Carry a letter of permission from parents in addition to any other documents required.
- Be aware of medical requirements and plan to ensure access to child medications.
- Ensure all travellers are fully covered by travel insurance.
- Carry emergency contact numbers, including insurer’s help line.
- Be aware of airline procedures for unaccompanied children if collecting from airports.
- Consider providing children with identity wristbands showing emergency contact numbers, in case of separation.
- Register travel plans with the Australian Government here.
Selecting a travel insurance is important to ensure that you are covered when things don’t go to plan. Be sure to choose a plan that offer cover for children when travelling with their parents or grandparents. This is often at no extra cost, as long as they are up to the age of 25 years, not in full-time employment, and are travelling with the policy holder.
Plan out the trip
Travelling with young grandchildren, whether domestically or internationally, requires some extra planning. It is advisable to have a letter from the parents giving permission for to be travelling together, with their contact details, who is going on the holiday, how you are connected and all of the holiday details.
Carry copies of the parents’ passports and the child’s birth certificates. Make sure you also have copies of any relevant papers when it comes to custody of the child.
Make sure your grandchildren have proper identification, including local and home contact information on them at all times during the trip. It’s also a good idea to have a recent photo of them in case they do get lost.
By also emailing yourself important information and current photos to an email account you will be able to access anywhere, and you can ensure you will always have the information you need close at hand no matter what.
If your grandchild will be taking any medication during the trip, make sure you are completely clear on the medications and the dosages. Also, ensure you have a notarised authorisation form from your grandchild's parents in case he or she needs medical attention during the holiday.
Top ideas to ensure it is a great trip for everyone
- Talk to the parents who will know if their child is ready to be away from home without them, and what they enjoy. Learn their sleeping and eating schedules, and try to stick to them as best as you can even with time zone differences.
- Take the child out for the day before the big trip – perhaps to the zoo or to the beach – as a test run if you don’t usually spend much time alone with them. It will also give you a chance to test your endurance against that of your grandchild.
- Discuss the planned holiday with the children to get their input and to get them excited about it.
- Keep in mind that the memories from time spent together are going to be more important, long term, than where you go.
- Remember that you are going to have to put their interests first and plan accordingly. And be prepared to change plans midway if things aren’t working out.
- Don’t be too ambitious – particularly with activities that are regulated like a stage show or a museum.
- Be prepared to give everyone a little space rather than being in each other’s pockets 24/7.
- Pack on the light side but if your grandchild has a particular favourite toy having that along may help sleeping in strange rooms and cities. Taking along familiar (packaged) snacks is also a good idea at least for the journey from Australia.
- Give the kids some of their own spending money. It’s even more exciting for them to work out what souvenirs to buy when it’s a foreign currency.
Written by David McGonigal. Republished with permission of Wyza.com.au.
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