heatherlarson_writemix heatherlarson_writemix heatherlarson_writemix
heatherlarson_writemix heatherlarson_writemix
heatherlarson_writemix heatherlarson_writemix heatherlarson_writemix heatherlarson_writemix heatherlarson_writemix

Back to Writing Samples : Back to Travel Articles

All articles © Heather Larson / WriteMix.net. Duplication and redistribution strictly prohibited.


Travel Articles
Getaways That Grandkids Can Plan
When grandchildren help with the planning, they get more out of a trip
(posted on Grandparents.com)
By Heather Larson


Let your grandchildren initiate the idea for a trip and they will be more invested and more enthusiastic about where they go and what they see. They might even have a destination in mind that you'd never considered before, one that you'll all enjoy. Here are some ideas to get your junior travel agent started.

Write a Report: Check Out the Place

While in fourth grade, 10-year-old Jack Hingos, of Shoreview, Minn., wrote a report about the state of Georgia.

"In conversations with us, he always brought up facts he'd learned about Georgia. He was so enthused about his research that we asked if he would like to take an RV trip to Georgia with us," says Ann Marie Thompson, Jack's grandmother. "He thought that would really be neat, and it was."

Jack helped plan the route they would take using the map he'd drawn for his report along with other maps. They stopped in Savannah so he could experience a subtropical city and a totally different culture than what he was used to. He wanted to visit Civil War sites, so they toured Chickamauga and Chattanooga Military Park where Jack saw a cannon, the Andersonville National Historic Site Cemetery and Prisoner of War Museum, and various other Civil War landmarks.

"Jack never got bored and the information he shared with us as we traveled made the trip that much more interesting for all of us," says Thompson.


Mimicking Grandparents' Hobbies

Terri Doughty of Lexington Park, Md., likes to geocache, which is a form of treasure hunting using a GPS device. Geocaches usually contain trinkets, baubles, coins, or something of little value. If you remove something from the geocache, you are expected to replace it with an object of similar value. Although none of Doughty's grandchildren own their own GPS, they know how to use one and they are always asking her if they can go "caching."

"We read the cache page to them from Geocaching.com, because the little ones don't read yet, so they know what we're looking for," says Doughty. "And after looking at the GPS, they're off."

One weekend, Doughty and her husband took those five grandchildren to Fredericksburg, Va., to geocache. To avoid tiring their youngest geocacher, one grandparent carries 3-year-old Lilly until they've reached the location of the cache. Then she tries to find the treasure.

"We started at 8am and finished at 8pm and found more than 10 caches," says Doughty. "One of the caches was located inside a great ice cream shop called Carl's."


Having a Destination in Mind

Dee Poujade, a grandmother in Oregon, traveled to London a number of times. Her 4-year-old granddaughter, Michaela, asked when she could go to London, and Poujade said when she was 7 they would go and they did. Before they left they looked at maps and talked about what Michaela wanted to do. One of the maps, specifically for children, came with stickers to place on the map after visiting an attraction. Riding a double-decker bus, watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and seeing a Beefeater at the Tower of London all earned stickers. Michaela's goal was to use up all the stickers.

Sally Olds tells the story of Poujade's trip in her book, Super Granny: Great Stuff to Do With Your Grandkids, due out March 2009, from Sterling Publishing. Olds cautions that when kids plan a trip overseas, you have to do your part by taking the necessary legal documents with you.

"Even in Canada, you'll need a note from the child's parents that it's okay to take them out of the country," says Olds. "And you may want power of attorney in case you need to seek medical attention for the grandchild."


Read the Book: Visit the Setting

When the books kids read are rooted in reality, they often want to see those places for themselves. This holds true for the Twilight series for tweens and teens written by Stephenie Meyer.

Set in Forks, Wash., on the Olympic Peninsula, grandparents bring their grandchildren to see where the main character lived, went to school, and dined out. Devoted readers also want to visit Port Angeles, where the heroine shopped and went out to eat with her boyfriend, and First Beach in LaPush, where several characters in the story went hiking. The Forks Chamber of Commerce offers a trivia test for Twilight readers and a small bag of sand from First Beach.


Offering Each Grandchild a Trip

When Shirley VanScoyk's grandchildren turn 13, she offers them a trip anywhere in the world as long as it's not to a theme park. The first of her grandchildren wanted to see ruins so he chose Pompeii, Italy.

"We spent hours on the Internet looking at satellite shots of the places we wanted to visit and talking about money and food," says VanScoyk. "Since we returned, he and I have common memories, share private jokes, and he has a special store of knowledge of another country and an adventure."

Her youngest grandson is already trying to choose between an African safari, a cruise on the Nile River, or ecotourism in South America.

If your grandchildren love Peter Rabbit, read our article about England's Lake District. Students learning about Abraham Lincoln may enjoy touring Illinois, following historical markers. Grandchildren take a major role in planning trips with their grandparents in our story, Following 15-Year-Old Dreams.


Back to Writing Samples : Back to Travel Articles