While it may sound strange to some, grandchildren are great travel companions. You’re able to show the kids the ins and outs of travel, while they can teach you to look at a place in an entirely new light—no matter how many times you’ve been there. It’s become such a trend to travel with your grandchildren, in fact, that there are actually tours geared toward intergenerational travel buddies, including Grandtrvl and Elderhostel. But if you’re not into joining tour groups, these five trips are sure to provide an unforgettable experience for every generation—just don’t forget to send a postcard to the parents back home.
Cruise through Alaska
A cruise through Alaska is the perfect way to tie in comfort and convenience with a little adventure. Numerous cruise ships sail along this northerly state, giving you the chance to explore various ports for up to eight hours. Considering Alaska’s size, it’s not a bad way to see the state. While on deck, expect to catch glimpses of bald eagles hunting overhead and humpback whales breaching down below. You’ll also pass by massive glaciers before stopping off for some kayaking, ziplining, guided hikes, or to explore a new town. In between these once-in-a-lifetime excursions, the kids can roam free on the boat, giving you some much-needed down time.
Go on an African safari
Most kids have gone to the zoo with their grandparents, but why not step it up a notch? Take the kids to see “The Big Five”—the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and cape buffalo—in their natural habitat, and we’re willing to bet you get an award for “grandparent of the year.” But this trip isn’t just for the kids. No matter what age you are, seeing South Africa’s vast range of wildlife is an awe-inspiring and unforgettable experience. And as anyone who’s been on a guided safari knows, there’s something new to see every day, so you definitely won’t have to worry about a bunch of bored kids. This trip is on the pricier side, and it won’t afford you a lot of downtime, but it also won’t be hard to make memories. Whether you spot lions pouncing on a group of nearby zebras, or a lone honey badger raiding a beehive, you’ll be reminiscing about this trip for a long time.
Get lost in Disneyland
Part of the reason you travel with your grandchildren is to get in touch with your inner child, and there’s no better place to do that than Disneyland. If you don’t take the grandkids, what other excuse will you have to visit “the happiest place on earth”? In Disney’s magical kingdom you don’t need to decide between bobsledding down an icy mountain, diving under the ocean, or exploring an exotic jungle—it’s all in one place. Of course the best part will be when you run into Mickey—a familiar face for every generation. But the key to making this trip truly magical? Good walking shoes, sunblock, and lots of water!
Put up your feet at an all-inclusive
A beach vacation in Central America is a no-brainer. The real key when you’re travelling to this part of the world with kids is to avoid anywhere that’s too dangerous, remote, or just plain hot. But when you book at an all-inclusive resort, you don’t have to worry about what the kids are up to, so like a cruise, it will give you the flexibility to do things together as well as apart. Some of the best spots to check out with children include Playa del Carmen in Mexico, Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park or Tamarindo, and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. In each of these places, you’ll find turquoise waters, stunning beaches, friendly locals, and day trips to nearby towns, ruins or waterfalls for when you all start to feel a little antsy.
Camp at a national park
You don’t have to leave the country to show the kids something new or cultivate a memorable experience. If you’re outdoorsy, consider a camping trip. Yes, Canada is home to some beautiful cities, but it’s probably best known for its natural landscapes. And when you see the rugged beaches and rainforest of Pacific Rim National Park, or Gros Morne’s stunning flat top mountains, it’s not hard to see why. Camping never gets old, and driving across the province, or even part of the country, is a relatively inexpensive trip. That’s why this is a great option if you’re looking for something you can turn into a yearly tradition—at least until the kids go off to college. It’s also the only way you can ensure you’re all unplugged from devices and tuned in to each other.
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