Wanderlust courses through my veins, and sharing the joy of travel with my grandchildren is an absolute privilege. Like many of you, I find myself at a life stage where the luxury of time permits the meticulous planning of beautiful journeys with my family. I assure you, the investment in both effort and resources yields unparalleled rewards. Darlings, travel is beneficial for us as women. I am aware what a blessing it is that I am in the position, both financially and health-wise, to travel with these Grands of mine.
Having personally taken my grandchildren to London, France, and Africa, I can attest to the transformative power of such experiences. London’s rich history, the beauty of Paris, the poignant power of Normandy, and the awe-inspiring sights of Africa, from silverback gorillas to the vast Serengeti plain, are all strands woven into lifelong family memories.
I am authority on the art of travel. If you are curious about planning travel with your grandchildren, keep reading for inspiration!
Travel With Grandchildren: Paris and Normandy
When I think about traveling with grandchildren, I am reminded of our trip to France with our three-day adventure through Normandy with some of our ‘Grands.’
Our itinerary had us leave Paris early in the morning and drive to Versailles. For our grandchildren it was a lesson in French History. The Royalty of Versailles, The French Revolution, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVII, Napoleon, periods of French furniture, the gardens. Truthfully, the visual and educational history is fabulous.
Our next stop was Monet’s Garden that is located in Normandy. Our ‘Grands’ were captivated by the experience. Monet designed and planted his entire French garden with his famous Lily Pond. Exploring and seeing where he sat and painted, his lovely home and the story of life told by the guide made the experience very personal. Our ‘Grands’ left the gardens with a newfound knowledge of the art of painting, growing and designing a garden and a sense of the French way of life. And an appreciation for Monet himself!
Our next stop was Honfleur, Normandy. It is a small picturesque village on the Seine River. The Grands loved the small bed and breakfast, walking through the village and eating in charming restaurants on the Seine. They were exposed to the ‘old Europe’ compared to the ‘young America.’
To veer off the trip for a moment, I told the ‘Grands’, “Please leave your cell phones at home and bring your iPads or laptops. We will all keep a daily journal of our experiences.”
The last night of our trip we sat together around dinner, and each of us read our entries. What a wonderful evening we shared. At dinner, I again reiterated how fortunate they were to have this opportunity to be exposed to world history and travel with their family. I stressed to them to be appreciative and grateful for all their good fortune, large and small.
“Add the word gratitude to your vocabulary, dear grandchildren of mine.” I implored them repeatedly throughout our family trip.
Include History When you Travel with Grandchildren
The next day, we started our day at the Normandy Beaches. Our first stop was the Peace Museum where we learned the history of the Normandy Invasion. We saw a film and toured the Museum. Darlings, a must!
The month was June, but it felt like late fall. The wind blowing off the sea set the scene. We visited the beaches. They were code-named Juno, Gold, Omaha, and Sword. It was hard to imagine our American troops disembarking into the cold sea with heavy backpacks with the German soldiers shooting from the cliffs.
If you take this trip, my recommendation is to bring a guide with you when you reach the beaches, because one cannot reconstruct the history unless you are a history major!
Honoring The Fallen
We visited the large cemeteries: The American Cemetery where over 10,000 Americans are buried! The German Cemetery, 21,000 dead and the British with 4,648 of her soldiers buried along the beaches of Normandy.
Before leaving for Europe, I said to each of the ‘Grands’, “Please bring a candle from home to light in honor of our soldiers who gave their lives to protect your freedom and your country, the United States of America.”
The American Cemetery is owned by the USA and contains row after row of identical white crosses and Stars of David. Everything in the cemetery was shipped into Normandy from the United States, including the grass seed, all trees, and all flowers! The ‘Grands’ lit their candles and said a prayer.
If you visit this area, be warned: The weather is not predictable. It can be cold, windy and rainy. And it was! If you travel with grandchildren here — and I hope you do — bring an umbrella and layer your clothing.
Medieval Art and Architecture
The next part of our itinerary was equally extraordinary. We saw the Bayeux Tapestry in the village of Bayeux. It has survived over nine centuries, and it is in perfect condition! It’s nothing short of miraculous. Its length of over 200 feet, the exquisite artistry, the harmony and freshness of color, and the genius of telling a story as an art form is breathtaking!
More beauty and history awaited us as we drove on to Le Mont-Saint-Michel. It has been the destination for travelers for centuries. The small community is an island perched on a rock. We climbed to the top of the old Abbey. The medieval town is not reconstructed. In my opinion, this is another must see if you travel with grandchildren.
Bringing Travel Home
When we arrived home, I bought two movies for the Grands who traveled with us and for those who stayed at home. The Longest Day and Private Ryan. I wrote a note with my gift.
Dear Grandchild of Mine,
God Bless America!
All my devoted love, forever.
Travel with Grandchildren: East Africa
Most recently, our travel with our grandchildren has taken us to East Africa. My Ultimate Concierge, three of my grandsons, and I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime and will remember it always.
A Painful History and Jaw-Dropping Scenery
We explored the haunting echoes of history at the Genocide Museum in Rwanda, reminding me of the resilience of the human spirit.
The Serengeti plain unfolded before my eyes, it was a spectacle of diverse and majestic wildlife, expertly showcased by our guide, Bennie.
Amidst the cities of Nairobi and others, African accommodations became sanctuaries with outdoor showers, delectable fresh cuisines, and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets that painted the sky.
Learning From the Wild
The animals of the Serengeti, with their silent eloquence, became my teachers. Their movements conveyed volumes without uttering a sound! The animals silently shared their patterns of life, the delicate balance within their communities, and the connections within their herds and prides. The silverback gorilla encounters and the moments spent with baby orphaned elephants, where I was not only permitted to feed them but also learned their poignant stories, added layers of depth to our journey.
Feel Wonder When Traveling with Grandchildren
Africa, with its mesmerizing wildlife, culture, and beauty, has become a cherished chapter in the book of my life, leaving an enduring imprint on my heart and soul.
The entire experience was profound for me. And sharing these experiences with our devoted grandsons and my Ultimate Concierge, the best husband in the world, became the heart of our African sojourn. From the expansive Serengeti plains to the Singita camps in Tanzania and Rwanda, and the encounters with silverbacks in the high mountains to the tribes at Sarara camp, each moment etched itself into our memories.
Finding wonder in travel does not require you to leave the continent. You can even experience the magic of traveling with your grandchildren without leaving your local area!
Considering Your Budget and Time
What if your time or your budget do not permit you to be a globe-trotting grandmother? Might you consider something on a smaller scale where you can travel with your grandchildren and still have a wonderful adventure? Of course! An adventurous local trip or staycation can be just as magical. Try changing course and thinking of travel with your grands in terms of a weekend journey or a day trip that is not thousands of miles away from our shores.
A Weekend Trip to the Big City
If you are trying to keep things budget friendly or smaller-scale, I would recommend exposing your grandchildren to one of the large cities in our country. Can you make it to Boston, San Francisco, New York, or Chicago? I suggest hiring a guide to take you on a walking tour, or see the city by bus tour. In today’s world these cities have their problems but we cannot stop living and learning. We just have to be ‘aware’ and plan our travel well.
Visit the National Parks
One of my favorite places to visit is the national parks of the USA. The exquisite views and adventures that can be found at these national treasures are life-changing. Next year, I’ll be hosting a group trip to Yellowstone, Zions, Bryce Canyon, and more, and I’d love for you (and your grandchildren) to join me! Learn more here.
Darlings, when we choose to travel with grandchildren, we are opening up their eyes to culture, history, and beauty. And we are etching upon their hearts memories and feelings that will last a lifetime…and perhaps, if I am lucky, the wanderlust bug will pass on generation-to-generation and my Grands will have the joy of travel with their own posterity.
Are you planning to travel with your grandchildren? Or have you experienced this joy already?
I would love to hear about your multi-generational travel experiences in the comments!
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