Remember when you were a kid going to your grandparents’ house? Maybe they grew delicious cherry tomatoes or they lived down the street from a lake with a cool dock you could jump off. Chances are there were good times and cold bottles of sugary drinks — the kind you weren’t normally allowed to have at home.
Most grandparents seem to feel that once their own kids are grown, they can relax a little and spoil the grandkids. And if they want to hit the road and give the kids an experience to remember, you can live with them having a little corn syrup.
Road Scholar is not your typical travel organization. They don’t offer package deals that include a condo unit, redeemable mai tai tickets and one hour of parasailing. Their idea of a “cultural excursion” isn’t just a walk through a new town to find Starbucks.
Their roots go back to 1975, when the founders decided to launch weeklong university-level educational experiences for adults that grew from campuses to international travel.
They offer literally thousands of learning adventures, including Intergenerational, specifically for people to bring their grandkids. Even the roots of those experiences go back to the 1980s, and they’ve found that 66 percent of grandparents travel with their grandkids.
“Intergenerational programs were inspired by the interest of our participants in sharing this type of learning experience with their grandchildren. When older adults are near or at retirement age and they have a little more time, traveling, spending time with grandkids and learning something new are usually at the top of the list of things they want to do,” Despina Gakopoulos, Road Scholar’s public relations manager, tells GrindTV.
“Road Scholar’s Intergenerational learning experiences cover all of those.”
In all, Road Scholar has 137 experiences based around the child’s age. Each is rated on a scale: easy, moderate, active, moderately challenging and challenging. They obviously range in price, too, from $799 for six days at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, to $6,659 for 14 days of tracking African wildlife in Botswana.
Many trips lean toward the academic, but there are some pretty serious outdoor adventures to be had, from swimming with whale sharks in Mexico to surfing in Hawaii, kayaking the Columbia River, horseback adventures by Zion National Park, learning outdoor survival skills in the Channel Islands and rafting the Grand Canyon.
In a perfect world, we’d all like to be tubing down a river in Vermont with our kids. Work schedules don’t always allow it, but grandparents taking your son or daughter through the rainforest of Costa Rica is still a pretty good opportunity for little ones.
You can get caught up on work while they’re gone to make time for the next family excursion. And hey, if there happens to be a day of waves or an evening for mountain biking while they’re away, that’s a bonus.
Road Scholar has a whole resource page with tips on planning and traveling. Grandparents are encouraged to plan the trips with their kids.
“Feedback on these programs is overwhelmingly positive; both generations get to know each other even better and foster the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren in this unique setting,” adds Gakopoulos.
More tips on taking your kids on adventure trips from GrindTV