Perhaps you are a “newbie” to skip-gen travel, and this was the summer you planned to take that first special trip with your grandchild. Or perhaps you are a seasoned skip-gen traveler and were looking forward to another great trip – maybe even had all the reservations made.

Then covid-19 came along and turned everything upside down. What’s a travel-loving grandmother to do during this current pandemic?

Here are 5 tips for keeping the skip-gen travel dream alive in 2020:

Give Your Grandchild a Raincheck

If you already had a great trip planned with your grandchild and had to cancel it, print out an actual certificate, redeemable for the trip (or a similar one) once the pandemic has subsided – whenever that may be. They can place it on their dresser or pin it to their bulletin board… and dream!

Plan a Trip Anyway

While there’s still some summer left, there are also school holidays – and even next summer to look forward to. It’s possible to enjoy preparing for a trip together in such a way that the disappointment is not overwhelming if, in the end, the trip just can’t happen.

Often anticipation is half the fun! Research online. Share photos of the destination. Talk about what you hope to see and do.

Will your grandchild be disappointed if the trip gets canceled? Of course. But if the preparation has been handled well, your grandchild will have had many delightful hours imagining themselves on the trip – and may have learned a few interesting facts along the way. And who knows? Maybe the trip will still happen!

Adapt the Trip

Were you planning on traveling by train or plane or crossing a border into Canada or Mexico? (I was.) So many dreams may be either impossible or inadvisable now, so look for the silver lining. Maybe this is the time to plan a road trip, especially to one of our many beautiful national or state parks.

With a little research, you will find there are many close-to-home pandemic-safe road trip possibilities. And road trips are inexpensive, flexible, and a great bonding opportunity.

One of the best skip-gen trips I ever took was a 2,750-mile, 40-hours-in-the-car road trip with our four oldest grandchildren, ages 5 – 9. No, really! So, the new trip you plan may be just as much fun as the original one – maybe even more!

Introduce Your Grandchild to “Armchair Travel”

What if you simply cannot get together with your grandchildren this summer? What if the distances and/or risks are just too great, or other issues interfere?

In that case, plan a “virtual” trip together. Pick a theme and have fun with it!

Let’s say you decide to “visit” Hawaii. There are great online resources to learn about the state – beautiful photos and even videos on sites such as YouTube. Have your grandchildren study what makes this state unique. Encourage them to make a volcano out of clay that can “erupt” with vinegar and baking soda.

Go to a dollar store and buy lei necklaces and pineapple-themed decorations. You might even be able to find a grass skirt (or have your grandkids make their own). Then plan a series of Skype or Zoom sessions to “travel” together. (Hey, it’s a pretty inexpensive way to travel!)

Much of international travel is currently banned but that’s no problem for the armchair traveler. You can visit all the great wonders of the world without ever leaving home. An Amazon rain forest? The Galapagos Islands? The pyramids of Egypt? It’s all right there at your fingertips!

So, consult with your grandchild, pick a theme or destination that interests you both, and start planning your “trip”!

Plan a “Trip Down Memory Lane”

Tell your grandchild that instead of planning a trip in the future this year, you will be going together into the past. Bring out old family photos. Kids love to look at pictures of when you and their parents were young.

I just returned from a family legacy road trip with three of my grandchildren, ages 8, 11, and 12. We were able to responsibly social-distance by spending most of our time in nature, it was completed in about a day and a half, and the total cost was about $300 for the four of us.

It brought my family stories to life and my oldest granddaughter proclaimed my childhood as “the childhood of her dreams.”

Imagine how great that made me feel!

Or, for an interesting twist on this type of “travel,” go back a few generations, get a map out, and trace the family roots. Where did your ancestors come from originally? How and where did they arrive?

If you haven’t already, perhaps this is the time to do a DNA test, sharing the results with your grandchildren. If you can’t get together in person, the wonders of modern technology can still allow you to share the stories and photos together.

Travel may never look quite the same again. Embracing that fact makes it possible to move on to what is still doable. One of the best things a grandparent can model for a grandchild is resilience. By the time we grandmothers reach our 60s, we have generally weathered more than a few disappointments.

Along the way, we have learned not to sweat the small stuff, how to be flexible, and how to creatively do an end-around most problems. For skip-gen travel in 2020, it’s an opportunity to polish off and practice those skills.

With a little ingenuity, skip-gen travel and all its wonderful benefits can still be within reach!

Did Covid-19 disrupt any travel plans you had with your grandchildren? If so, have you been able to adapt and plan something else fun? Which of the above tips work best for you? Please share your 2020 travel story in the comments below.

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