Surely is tough jumping back in to travel with the grandkids, post-pandemic. Desire’s sky high, but keeping them (and me!) safe is daunting after these years of extreme caution. Maybe solid data could help us move on out. TravelingMom studied some numbers wondering as coronavirus fades, who are the grandparents ready to travel?
How’s Your Rhythm?
I’ve lost my rhythm. My spend-time-with-my-grandkids rhythm that is. Has that happened to you too — darn coronavirus? I’m tracking ways to get it back, and it seems I’m not alone. Data indicates travelers like me are dipping in cautiously, going somewhere in 2022 with three generations, not just elder and younger.
Family trips for 2022 with Road Scholar are on track to match pre-pandemic numbers of 1,452. That’s how high it was in 2019. This is the travel company that loves education and matches tour guides with the subject matter, or shapes the learning around the leader’s expertise. Often that’s adventure expertise, as with horses and rafts and canyons and hiking trails. I remember when Road Scholar called itself Elderhostel, but that’s because I’ve been a grandmother a long time, with new babies still arriving. Elderhostel was the name in 1975 and trips involved college campuses for learning experiences, and often lodging. Today, under its new name, Road Scholar involves all 50 states, 100 countries and all sorts of hotels, dude ranches, glamping tents and more. The reason that matters to me? It helps me understand the data.
Skip-a-generation Trips Slower To Rebuild
Skip-gen trips are slower to grow in 2022. Everybody wonders why. These grandparent/grandchild journeys were only 68% full in 2022 compared to pre-coronavirus in 2019 when they were 86% full. Here’s my theory as a TravelingMom reader and writer: The kids have changed with pandemic loneliness, and so have we elders. That means feeling a little skittish around one another after the long enforced separations. Taking three generations might just ease the transition.
This might be overdoing it, but my brood settled on a July date. With so many of us seeking the beach together, we need eight bedrooms. And that still includes sharing space with cousins and siblings, and maybe even a grandma. Multi-gen grandparent travel as I know it also needs the title of great-aunt because sibling-based second, third and fourth generations do adventure together.
Grandkids Used To Travel With The Elders
When I was a kid, summer camp meant sleepaway for a week or maybe a month. Recent years for my grandchildren it’s more like a staycation week after week of themed topics: drama, soccer, maybe rock climbing gym. Those near-to-home weeks can be pricey. Data shows lots of us scooped up the grandkids for a summer trip in 2019 and 2018: Road Scholar bookings were 7,509 and 7,092 those years. When the 2022 numbers were crunched for this report—4,303 were booked. So perhaps we’re stepping out together, but slowly? What are the other 3,000 nervous about?
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TravelingMom Terri Marshall shares a whole bunch of practical tips to double-check your thinking as you consider planning travel with grandchildren.
Invite a Friend of The Grandchildren Too
I’m responding to the tentative mood with this loss in mind: kids have missed so much friendship time with virtual school. Maybe there’s a way to accomplish elder/younger renewal with kid friendships too. I’m inviting my 10-year-old grandson who lives in Atlanta to ask a friend to explore a route from the city to the coast. Love to share itinerary ideas for road trips with a grandchild and friend from different starting points around the country.
Here’s my notion heading south from Atlanta — of interest to me, and hopefully them!
- Ocmulgee Mounds in Macon, mid-state, is poised to become a National Park.
- Indian Springs State Park has trees to climb (although mostly tall pines with branches too high to grasp) and 10 cottages to rent (complete with sheets and towels). Creek Indian history is abundant here, a logical tie to visiting Ocmulgee Mounds.
- High Falls State Park is a tent, trailer, RV kind of place, with six bring-your-bedding yurts.
- Jekyll Island on the coast rescues sea turtles and releases them when healed; oceanside hotels and camping spots available..
- Savannah has history and art and ghosts, and the beach at Tybee Island.
Do Travel Pros Provide Excitement?
Professionally guided Road Scholar trips have glitzier options like rafting in the Grand Canyon or hiking and horseback riding in Zion National Park. Hot air balloons in Colorado or dog sleds in Alaska. Roping and riding white stallions in Arizona. Kayaking with seals and otters.
Considering trips like that raises the question of cancellation policies throughout coronavirus times. TravelingMom Nasreen Stump dived deeply into those. Of course, policies change as the times do, but her research helps the rest of us know the questions to ask.
Summer Camp Can Be Skip-Gen or Multi-Gen
In addition to my road trip notion, I’m wondering if summer camp together might be an icebreaker to grandparent travel after this coronavirus hiatus. Road Scholar seems to consider this just right for 10 – 12 year-olds with their grands in the Ozarks.
Sounds like an easy re-entry to travel together. Archery. Canoes. S’mores. The Mark Twain National Forest. Ziplines. Staying in a lodge.
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Tips And Checklists Ease Stress
Stress-free and memory-making strike me as the goal, along with tons of fun of course. Take a look at some ways to help ensure that. Number crunchers like knowing how the facts were gathered. Road Scholar gathers monthly data from 2,500 senior participants to gauge their travel intentions. That started in March 2020—the infamous pandemic shut down month. One confidence indicator is that more people booked trips in February 2022 than pre-pandemic February. That’s overall travel programs with Road Scholar, not drilling down to grandparents.
Bottom line: Stepping back into traveling with the grandkids may take a little time, but we’re ready to try.