Steal away with the youngsters
You love your grown children, but you also want some alone time with your grandkids — ice cream sundaes perhaps, or even a private dinner when you tell them stories about how rotten their parents were when they were 10 years old. Maybe you want just the girls with you one day and the boys the next. Don't think you're being selfish or unfair. You simply want time to bond with the best little things that ever happened to you.
Decide who's paying
Money is notorious for being a sticky family issue, so figuring out who pays for what must be done in advance. Otherwise, expect hurt feelings that will harden like a rock. Remember, some of your children might not earn what the others can afford. And even if you're footing the bill for rooms at an expensive resort, remember the price of a cheeseburger there is still $25. That's why cruises and all-inclusive resorts are a good idea: They create equality among all family members. And if you want to spring for that extra special bottle of wine, no one will complain.
Condominiums are also a cost-saving way to create some budget wiggle room. You might even consider getting two condos so you can separate the reserved from the rambunctious. There are a number of rental websites to help you choose the perfect house, condo or apartment, including Vacation Rentals by Owner, Home Away and airbnb.
Get a group photo with everyone in it
When was the last time you all got together? If you can afford it, hire a professional photographer, or enlist a new friend you've met on your trip to snap a picture of you all together, using a really good camera. But don't fret about the group pose. Let everyone else argue about who stands where, and how little Jimmy already got chocolate on his nice shirt.
As for you, you'll look across those faces and remember the colicky all-nighters, the new-school struggles, the first time you gave them the car keys (and didn't breathe until they made it back home safely), the financial worries, the trips to the emergency room.
"Say cheese!" someone will say, and the smile will come easy as a wave of memories washes over you with one clear message: This is what life is all about.
Samantha Brown, a TV host and blogger at samantha-brown.com, has visited 220 cities in 49 countries. She is AARP's travel ambassador.
Also of Interest
- Family fun travel — redefined
- Older men still want more sex
- Match your interests with AARP volunteer opportunities
Visit the AARP home page for travel tips, deals and more