Spending time with your grandchildren in this day and age can be tough at times. With the rise of social media and the advancements in technology in general, it can be hard to spark their interest and hold their attention for long before they’re drawn back to their phone screens.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up. At the end of the day, kids are still kids, and they want to have fun! It’s important for them to make memories that they can reminisce on in later life, and what better way to do that than with their loving grandparents?
So, how do you plan that perfect getaway to have with your family? One that captures your grandchildren’s imagination?
Europe is a great region to visit with youngsters because the flight times are quite short, so there’s less time to get bored on the plane!
Capture their imagination by exploring their interests
It can be pretty easy to figure out a way to make a trip align with your grandchild’s current interests.
For example, a child that has an interest in the Vikings—whether school, TV shows or books—would probably love a trip to Norway! The Viking Ship Museum in the Bygdøy area of Oslo might be a good place to start. Of course, you might want to avoid Norway in the winter if you’re not a fan of chilly snow-covered winters.
Italy may be a sunnier alternative in the colder months if you want some exciting history to explore with the grandchildren. A trip to the Colosseum could link in well with the Romans, and Italian food always goes down a treat with the youngsters!
If your grandchildren like taking photographs, think of places with brilliant photo opportunities, great for the budding photographer or Instagram enthusiast. For older classic buildings you’ll do well in Tallinn (Estonia) or Prague (Czech Republic). If classical palaces and grandeur are their thing, Vienna is hard to beat.
Older children will be learning a language at school, and visiting a country that speaks the language can really bring the lessons to life. [Editor’s note: I spent five years at school learning German, which seemed like a total waste of time until I visited Germany and Austria in my 30s and had an amazing time. I suddenly wished I’d paid more attention at school!] The most common languages taught in schools these days are French, German, and Spanish, so there are plenty of choices for places to visit for practice.
Sport can be a wonderful thing to bring the generations of a family together. If your grandchildren are football fans, how about a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the home of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, A.C. Milan, or Bayern Munich?
For motorsport fans, a trip to a Formula 1 Grand Prix will be unforgettable. You can often combine the race with a visit to the host city: the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest (2nd-4th August 2019) is great for this. And of course, every Ferrari fan must go to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza at least once in their lifetime (6th – 8th September 2019).
For younger children with an interest in Lego, how about Legoland? Their oldest park, in Denmark, was built in 1968, but there is also a Legoland in Germany.
Disneyland Paris continues to be well-liked by people of all ages, and you can get there directly on Eurostar if you’re not keen on flying.
We’re also hearing good things about First Choice Holiday Villages. They have a great Kids’ Club for younger children, along with activities and a pool. There are several of them across Europe, all in nice warm places, including Ibiza and the Costa del Sol.
Planning the trip
Planning what to do on the trip is important, but don’t be so strict with your timetable of events that you forget to allow those beautiful spontaneous moments to occur.
Create a list of activity options that you could do or places you could visit—remembering their selling points—and let your grandchildren have a say on which sounds the most interesting. It might not be the most organised way to plan a trip, but having a flexible itinerary can be better when it comes to family fun.
And it might have to come down to a vote, but it will be a family decision, and that means that you won’t be dragging along disinterested kids. They’ll be engaged and enthusiastic about the family adventure! This is something that they also wanted to see, not what their grandparents insisted on seeing.