Intergenerational travel is a great adventure!
BY SANDY BORNSTEIN
Traveling with a baby in arms requires extra planning. Add grandparents to the mix and the overall situation becomes a bit easier for the parents. Sprinkle in an international destination and everything is up for grabs. Yes, intergenerational travel with a baby can be a whirlwind event, but at the same time a memorable experience for all.
With our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson living abroad, we will be taking at least one intergenerational trip a year, some in the U.S., others will most likely be in Asia. The first outing was when our second grandson was seven months old. His dad and mom selected a surprise destination and gave us just one hint— pack a bathing suit.
A few days before the getaway, our son let slip that we were going to Goa. I was thrilled. While I normally don’t gravitate to laid-back beach vacations, I was ready for a break from our typical on-the-go travels.
Our daughter-in-law made reservations at Ahilya By the Sea in Goa. This boutique hotel in a secluded location was perfect for a baby who followed a routine of eating and sleeping. While many love sun bathing on Goa’s beaches, we were fascinated by our surroundings. Throughout the day, we watched the fishermen on the nearby beach. In the early morning, we looked for the dolphins that graced the shoreline. The beach was non-swimming but there were a couple of swimming pools that we shared with an assortment of local birds.
When our grandson fussed, we rocked him joyfully as we walked through the pristine, manicured grounds or we’d swing in one of the hammocks. After he fell asleep, we’d park ourselves on a lounge chair so he could continue napping outside. I embraced the tranquil ambiance which was occasionally interrupted by a chirping bird. A constant breeze from the bay transported the fragrance from the nearby exotic tropical plants and flowers.
When traveling expectations need to be tamped down
All nine rooms were occupied. No two were alike in décor, their overall arrangement, or size. Fortunately, our son and daughter-in-law’s room was larger than most with room for the portable crib. With his parents in the room bedtime became playtime until the wee hours of the night so our exhausted son and daughter-in-law came knocking at 6:00 AM. Ah, the glory of being grandparents. It’s fun to come to the rescue.
For convenience, we ate most of our meals on site. The selection of fresh ingredients far surpassed my expectation for a tiny Indian hotel. The chef prepared meals that included Goan, Italian, and French cuisines. The waiters made us feel like royalty.
Sightseeing with a baby requires patience and flexibility. Eating and touring have to revolve around the baby’s schedule. When it was our grandson’s lunchtime, we shared small plates at a beachside restaurant.
After lunch, we explored Old Goa. Beads of sweat anointed our bodies as we meandered through Old Goa. Our grandson slept on our son’s shoulder while we looked at old church buildings that dotted a park-like setting. By the time we reached the historic Portuguese area of Fontainhas, it was feeding time again. Our plans were cut short. We scurried back to the hotel.
If We Had More Time
If we weren’t traveling with a baby, we would have trekked about a mile along the coastline from Ahilya to the nearby 16th century Reis Magos Fort and may have also considered going to Fort Aguada and the Museum of Goa.
It is rare that I’m able to accomplish everything I plan for a couple’s trip. This will be doubly so whenever we plan an intergenerational trip. Expectations will need to be tamped down to accommodate our grandchildren’s needs. Yes, I remember the good old days when we traveled with our four sons. Every trip included an unexpected twist, an extra dose of patience, and occasionally a trip to the pediatrician. When frustrations mounted, we’d take a deep breath and laugh. As grandparents, it’s certainly less stressful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Traveling grandmom, Sandy Bornstein, is a freelance travel & lifestyle writer, content coordinator & content writer for Golden Living Award-Winning . She is the author of May This Be the Best Year of Your Life. Learn more about her here and here.