Follow these top tips to ensure a easy holiday experience when the older folks join you on your family vacay.


Travelling doesn’t just give your family the chance to enjoy new experiences together, it’s one of the best ways to make memories, too.

Inviting the older folks to tag along on your adventures lets junior know their grandparents better. The grandparents may even volunteer to care for your tots while you and your spouse squeeze in some date night activities.

That said, it doesn’t mean that travelling as a clan doesn’t have its downsides. However, you can avoid possible misunderstandings by having a plan and being prepared. Follow these handy hints…

Tip #1 Build the trip together

PROBLEM Everyone has their own idea of what a dream vacation should look like. Your young ’uns may want to explore the less touristy parts of town or laze at the beach. However, your parents or in-laws may prefer joining an organised travel group with a fixed itinerary.

SOLUTION Get together and discuss what each of you will like to do during the trip and put together a plan that works for everyone. Everyone should also be prepared to make certain sacrifices — for instance, the amount of time spent doing a certain activity.

If you are travelling for a longer period of time, say for a week, each of you can also take turns to plan activities.

If you are travelling for a longer period of time, say for a week, each of you can also take turns to plan activities.

Tip #2 Safeguard your family’s healthcare needs

PROBLEM Much like bubba, who’s immunity may not be as strong as an adults, your folks may need vital vaccinations to safeguard themselves from infections. If a parent requires a mobility device to get around, you should pick a hotel with wheelchair-friendly amenities.

SOLUTION Book an appointment with your family GP or check out the Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic at Tan Tock Seng Hospital before your trip. Tell your doc where you’re headed, so that he can advise you on the jabs to get and medications to bring, as well as offer travel health tips. Otherwise, we’ve got you covered with this list of meds.

Also, be sure to get travel insurance coverage for your family, which will come in handy for any medical emergencies. Most policies offer specific forms of medical coverage, so do note of what’s covered and what isn’t. Then, research and list where the nearest hospitals and clinics are located at your destination.

Finally, check if the airline or hotel offers special seats or other arrangements like wheelchair rentals respectively, for your family member with the mobility problem.


Tip #3 Be mindful of your accommodation

PROBLEM Depending on what you have in mind, some families may prefer paying for a suite to fit everyone. Others may want separate lodging for the grandparents. Also, you’ll need to consider if you’re want to sample local cuisine at every meal or indulge in the standard international buffet.

SOLUTION Ask your folks what sort of amenities they’ll like at their hotel. Consider putting everyone on the same level, so it’s easy to contact each other if anyone needs help. Also, take note of any special dietary restrictions — eg a gluten-free, vegan or diary-free diet — then check if the hotel can accommodate your needs.

Remember, you are on vacation — rest and relaxation should be your top priority.

Tip #4 Figure out who’s paying for what

PROBLEM It’s every kid’s dream to gift their folks with an all-expenses-paid trip to a destination of their choice. But it’s a privilege few can afford.

SOLUTION Talk to your parents and agree who will pay for what. You may offer to pay for their air tickets and lodging ― in return, you can let them pay for certain meals. Otherwise, you can let them pay for whatever activities they have planned. Or you can divvy up the total cost when the bills arrive. If you’re travelling with your in-laws, it’s best that the respective spouses broach this subject with their parents.

Tip #5 Pack light

PROBLEM You won’t want to waste precious time dealing with lots of luggage to transfer from the airport to your hotel. Your frailer elders may resent they having to struggle with luggage, which is a sure-fire way to start your vacation on a sour note.

SOLUTION Agree on how many pieces of luggage each person can bring. This will encourage everyone to maximise luggage space by only bringing what they need.

Here are some simple packing tips to follow:

* Depending on the time of day and the weather conditions when you arrive at your destination, your bulky jackets and pullovers may have to go into your carry-on baggage.

* Begin by filling precious luggage space with necessities like clothes, undergarments and toiletries.

* Maximise your baggage space when you opt to wear the same set of clothes twice or more during the trip.

* Otherwise, pack quick-dry garments, so doing the laundry is much quicker and easier.

* How you pack your stuff matters, too. Get more of helpful hints in our video here.

Tip #6 Be flexible

PROBLEM A chock-a-block schedule may not be a prime ingredient for a dream holiday. Remember, you are on vacation — rest and relaxation should be your top priority. Sticking to a packed schedule may also be too demanding on your folks as well.

SOLUTION Remember the list of vital activities you have all agreed on in Tip #1? Revise the itinerary to ensure that you have set aside time for free-and-easy activities like taking a stroll or going sightseeing. You’ll also need to set additional time aside if you intend to take public transport overseas as it’ll take much longer to get to your destination.

Do also check out where you can do various activities within the vicinity. For instance, visiting a beach resort means that you and your folks can tan yourselves, while your kiddos busy themselves with water activities or building sandcastles.

Photos: iStock

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