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Here’s Why We All Should Be Embracing Gramping

Another travel trend I’m absolutely obsessed with this year has to be gramping. No, not glamping – gramping with an “r.” The term is used to describe trips that are just for grandparents and grandkids – parents are left behind. It’s a great way for the two generations to truly bond and, as a bonus, it lets us off the hook for a short time.

If you’re curious about gramping, here’s everything you need to know below.

Disclaimer on Gramping

I fully recognize that we all have different relationships with our parents and not every grandparent matches up to an AARP ad. Use your best judgment as a parent to decide if your parents’ or in-laws’ place is a safe and loving environment before you embark on a gramping adventure.

It can also be good to see grandparents in action or have a talk with them on what’s acceptable for kids these days. I mean, I adore my parents and they were both loving and responsible. But they also raised me in the 1970s when bike helmets and seatbelts weren’t mandatory, so… I’m going to need to go over some details.

4 Reasons to Embrace Gramping

1. Grandparents and kids get a chance for 1-on-1 bonding.

As we all know, a relationship between grandkids and grandparents is often very different from parent and child. And we also know our kids’ time with their grandparents tends to be pretty limited. Why not give them more time to bond with just each other?

2. YOU get some peace and quiet for a bit.

I mean, let’s all be honest with the selfish reason gramping sounds like such a fun travel trend. It means you can relax – after all your parents raised you and you turned out just fine! You know those rare moments where you get your house to yourself and can just sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy the silence? Now picture that over a few days… maybe even a week depending on everyone’s stamina. Or maybe a little getaway just you and your partner…

It’s nice to have a break being a parent!

3. Gramping doesn’t have to be a crazy, far away trip.

The best part about gramping is that it really doesn’t have to be this crazy, far away trip. Sure if the grandparents are up to it, plan a European vacation where thousands of steps are taken each day. But really, a gramping trip can be as simple as dropping your kids off with your parents and then having them plan for some day trips or adventures locally. This way they’re comfortable and confident getting around an area they know, and they can share some of their favorite places with the next generation. Not to mention, what grandparent doesn’t love showing off their grandkids to their friends and neighbors?

4. Grandparents and kids are a lot more similar than you think.

One thing I learned on many of my multi-gen trips is that kids and grandparents have a ton more in common than you’d think. For one, they both tend to get a littttlllleee grumpy around 2:30 PM and need some cookies and a nap to perk up. Both also tend to be morning people who go to bed early, and both are best suited to enjoy the simple things in life.

5 Tips to Make Gramping Fun for Everyone

1. Try a multi-gen outing or trip first.

Before you do anything, I recommend trying a multi-generational trip all together. Again, this doesn’t have to be anything major. Maybe an afternoon at a local park or a day trip to an amusement park. Heck, even just spending a day doing an activity with your parents and kids together at their house can be a fun test drive.

The point is, you’ll get to see how the grandparents and kids interact with each other to see if they’re compatible enough to plan a gramping trip. Plus, as I mentioned above, it’s a good way to see if your parents’ parenting has modernized enough!

2. Make sure kids are old enough.

Another big thing is to make sure your kids are old enough to leave with your parents for an extended period of time. This age really and truly depends on the two parties involved. Some grandparents would love having a toddler around and still have the energy to keep up with one. But for others, it might be better until the kids are a bit older and can control their interactions and communication better.

3. Always keep kids active and give them small responsibilities.

This is a good rule of thumb for grandparents. The key for a smooth trip is to make sure the grandkids are constantly engaged. Don’t be afraid of giving them small responsibilities or doing a little active learning. Going to an amusement park for the day? Get them to choose the next ride and then have them figure out how to get there. Baking or cooking? Get them in the kitchen mixing and cracking and reading the recipe! Going on a road trip? Play good, old classic games like trying to find all 50 US state license plates or eye spy.

Kids are pretty smart and learn quickly – don’t underestimate them.

4. Let go of some control

Here’s one thing to remember as a parent – your parents are responsible adults who raised you and have a vested interest in making sure your kids are happy and healthy. They’re not just babysitters. Sure share with them important information like food allergies or medications but otherwise, relinquish some control.

Trust me, your kids will survive eating too much sugar and staying up too late while they’re with grandma and grandpa. You’re really getting the highest quality childcare for free, so just let your parents take the wheel and create some core memories with their grandkids.

5. Have the grandparents take the kids where they used to take you on family trips.

I have some gramping destination ideas below, but if you’re wondering where to start, start with your own childhood trips. Your parents already have experience visiting these places (and with a lot less technology than we have today), and it could be fun recreating some memories they already have with you.

6 Great Gramping Destinations

1. Their House

I know dropping your kids off at a grandparents’ house sounds a lot more like babysitting than gramping, but it can be a good starting point just to get everyone comfortable. If everyone is used to grandparents already babysitting, maybe structure this visit to feel more like a trip. Set-up a tent in the backyard and pretend to go camping. See if there are attractions, parks, or museums within an hour or so. See if the local library or community center is hosting any fun events. Really, there’s so much potential no matter where you live.

2. Amusement Parks

Planning a day at an amusement or water park feels like another easy step towards a full blown gramping adventure. They’re designed with kids in mind and one day at a fun amusement park can really gauge how everyone is going to do traveling together for longer. See how everyone does compromising on rides and how everyone handles a long day in the sun.

3. Kid-friendly Resorts

Kid-friendly resorts are great because they’re usually, quite literally, built to cater to families and kids. Grandparents can travel with kids and feel safe knowing they’re surrounded by other families and a staff that’s trained to work with all sorts of younger chaos. Plus many resorts will have all sorts of activities, areas, and events to really make the trip come to life.

future of cruising

4. Cruises

Now if you’re really ready to shell out some time and money, cruises are an amazing gramping adventure. We LOVED our multi-gen cruise to Alaska, and I could see it working just as well if it was just my in-laws and grandkids. Just thinking of all the adventures we had on that one cruise – I love that my kids will have those memories with their grandparents in them.

Plus, like kid-friendly resorts, cruises often have dedicated sections and events just for kids. I know, for example, that on Holland America Line’s Eurodam, there’s a whole Kid’s Club just for ages 3-17. With a professionally trained staff to keep an eye on them, grandparents can also take a bit of a break during the multi-day cruises.

5. Campgrounds

Who doesn’t love a fun camping adventure? Most campgrounds are more than used to families visiting, and you can even rent campers and RVs these days if you don’t want to go the tent route. Many parks across the country also won’t have cell reception, so it has the added benefit of getting kids to disconnect and be away from their screens for a few days.

6. National Parks

I think I can safely say the National Park System is the greatest thing about this country, and the earlier your kids can learn to appreciate them, the better. Most national parks offer some sort of fun programming for kids, and they’re just fantastic for camping, hiking, and getting back into nature. Plus, why not let your grandparents get their grandkids their National Parks passports?

And there you have it – a guide to gramping to get you started. What do you think? Would you try a gramping adventure? Have you already? Let me know all about it below!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. We’ve taken each of our grandkids on a mutually planned one to two week trip to Europe the year they turned 11 (not yet adult entrance fees). And a second shorter domestic trip at age 15. Until Covid slowed us down. Two of the kids will finally get that delayed trip this year. But I HATE the term “gramping”!

  2. We sent our two children on solo visits to their grandparent’s home starting at a young age. It gave them one-on-one time with each other, as well as one-on-one time for us with the child at home. It was easier on the grandparents having only one small child to deal with and they always found fun local parks, petting zoos, pick-your-own fruit farms, etc. to take them to.

    It’s true I did have to give up control (ice cream for breakfast, the tooth fairy visited their house for a first lost tooth), but it was worth it for the lasting bond and memories that were created!

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