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Even though summer may seem a long way off, there are only two months until your grandkids will say goodbye to this year of school and embark on that wonderful break from routine known as summer vacation.

If you’ve wanted to take a Grandparent/Grandchild vacation, now is the time to put the plan into motion. Grandkids’ summer vacations often get scheduled up with summer sports, summer camps and even summer school. Before you know it, there won’t be any spaces of time left that coincide with your summer vacation plans.

So get busy. You’ll want to go about planning this exciting vacation in an organized fashion. Here are some tips for getting travel dates on everyone’s calendar and then eagerly awaiting the vacation date to arrive.

The Basics of a trip with the grandkids

The first order of the day is to get together with your family and start the conversation. This may mean e-mails flying back and forth or telephone calls for those who live too far away to meet face to face.

You probably have some idea of the destinations being considered. Your children and grandchildren may agree, or have other ideas. It’s time to pick a destination, find a workable date and then work hard to schedule flights, hotels, car rentals, cruise dates and the like. Nothing is more disappointing than to choose a vacation site and then find nothing available during your windows of travel opportunity. Remember summer months are peak travel times for everyone, so start scheduling early.

You’ll also want to be very clear on the budget for this vacation. Who pays for airfares, hotels, food and fees? Are you choosing to foot the entire bill, or are you expecting the kids and grandkids to pay part of the costs? Best to be clear on this important item right from the start.

Something for Every Grandchild

Even though you’re most likely planning this trip with the grandkids in mind, be sure to include some events or activities that please you as well. Be sure you’re up for the amount of walking or driving that may be necessary. If the children are on the younger end of the spectrum, be sure you factor in wait times and need to get the wiggles out times.

Things to do with grandkids. Allow each grandchild to voice their hopes and dreams for the vacation and plan something special for each child. Younger children often feel left out of the equation when older children are able to do things such as go on special rides, or go down the slide at the water park. Guard against one of the children feeling left out.

Stay Flexible: keeping the grandkids happy

Even with the most careful planning, things can go wrong on a vacation. Flights can be delayed or cancelled. Hotels or other housing arrangements may fall through. The weather may not cooperate or there may be a scraped knee that requires some TLC.

Be ready to modify plans and have the mindset that grandparents and their grandchildren can enjoy time together wherever they may be. You may have to carry along a stash of travel games, cards, art supplies and the like to fill in some down times.

Paperwork: documents needed for each grandchild

No matter where you travel, you’ll want to have a notarized letter from the grandkids’ parents documenting permission to seek medical treatment. In an emergency you’ll get quicker treatment and avoid problems with rights and permissions.

Be sure to have photocopies of insurance cards for each grandchild and copies of either a birth certificate if you’re traveling in-country or actual passports if traveling out of country.

Need a Little Help?

You may opt to have a travel organization help you with planning this grandparent/grandkid adventure. There are many agencies that specialize in putting together perfect itineraries for wonderful intergenerational vacations. Here are several sites to check:

The Sierra Club

Family Cruise

Road Scholar

The memories you’ll make when enjoying travel with your grandchildren will be worth every ounce of effort you put into planning the time. Enjoy your intergenerational vacation.