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Skip-Generation Trips: Why 'Gramping' is Growing & Where to Go

Grandfather and Grandson Trip to the Beach
Allianz - Grandfather and Grandson Trip to the Beach

During ordinary, non-pandemic times, it’s well known that the No. 1 gripe of grandparents is not seeing their grandchildren enough.

So, just imagine how that longing has grown for Nana and Papa over the past year-plus of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, sipping from their World’s Greatest Grandparent mug while staring at a wall of framed photos depicting the newly budded branches of their family tree simply doesn’t cut it. They need to pinch those little cheeks — live and in person. In all seriousness, according to an AARP study, 89% of grandparents derive mental social, and physical well-being from spending time with their grandchildren.1

And who would deny them that?

But there’s a problem: more than half of grandparents have at least one grandchild living 200-plus miles away.1 And because parents are so busy with work and other time-consuming adult responsibilities, it’s often tough to get the extended family together more than once every so often.

Thankfully for Baba, Gigi, and the grand-kiddos, there’s something called skip-generation trips, also known as skip-gen holidays — or our favorite phrase — “gramping” (the second cousin of “glamping”). These are trips in which grandparents and grandchildren get away together — taking mom and dad out of the equation.

Gramping is the rare win-win-win. Grandparents get dedicated time to spoil the grandkids. The grandchildren get to form important bonds with grandma and grandpa — whether learning family history or exploring exciting destinations together. And mom and dad even get the opportunity to hatch their own escape — or at least catch up on sleep from the comfort of home.

There’s ample evidence that more and more Americans are discovering all of these benefits: in the same AARP study, “taking vacations with grandchildren” cracked the Top 10 List of activities grandparents are doing with grandchildren.1

If it’s your first time planning a skip-gen holiday, don’t worry. We’ve prepared some suggested destinations and advice. But first, let’s talk about the most important item on your gramping packing list: travel insurance.

Why Travel Insurance Makes Sense for Gramping

Travel insurance is always a versatile resource, but it may just reach peak usefulness when used for skip-gen holidays. Why? Let’s start with the group not going on this trip: the parents. While welcome the opportunity for their own parents to spend meaningful time with their children at a state park, theme park, or even under their roof, they might be a bit anxious. Maybe they’re kids are fussy eaters. Or what if one of the kids gets sick — or injured, even? What if the kids’ luggage gets lost? Or what if the gramping trip never even gets off the ground?

A travel insurance plan from Allianz Global Assistance can help with all of these things — even fussy eaters. (Seriously, all plans include Concierge assistance, so grandma can find out which local dining spots have a kids’ menu with grilled cheese — and then call to ensure that cheese is yellow, not white. Any kid will tell you it makes a big difference.)

Travel insurance answers the question on the tip of the tongues of both parents and grandparents planning for a skip-generation trip: what if something goes wrong? With benefits and coverage including Trip Cancellation, Emergency Medical, Baggage Delay, and 24-Hr. Hotline Assistance, everyone involved in a gramping trip can pack peace of mind thanks to Allianz Global Assistance.

Plus, depending on the trip itself, travel insurance can work in a few different ways for skip-gen holidays. Maybe it’s covering just the grandkids’ as they fly out to see grandpa’s new place on Florida’s Space Coast. Or perhaps the grandparents and grandkids are all traveling to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. — a prime gramping destination you can ready more about below.2

 Take a moment to find the right travel insurance plan for your budget and itinerary.

‘Gramping Destinations’

Some skip-gen holidays are comfortably spent at grandma and grandpa’s home. It makes sense, right? It’s their home turf — they know the area well and the grandkids likely have loads more room to roam than the typical hotel room.

But many gramping adventures take to the roads and skies. And we have a few thoughts on destinations you should consider where everyone can have a little fun.

  • Free ‘Parking’
    You may already know this gramping insider tip, but here goes: if you’re at least 62, you can purchase a lifetime senior pass to visit all U.S. National Parks and wildlife refuges for just $80 (plus a $10 processing fee). At destinations that charge per vehicle, everyone gets in for free. And at parks and refuges that charge per person for entrance, up to three grandchildren (or adults) can join the passholder for free. So, where will you go with this magic ticket? How about Big Bend National Park in west Texas? A popular destination for birding, Big Bend offers both deserts and mountainous landscapes to explore, as well as canyons dug out by the Rio Grande. Take a day hike, search for fossils, and then rest up at Chisos Basin Campground while striking sunsets slip below the horizon.3, 4

  • Your Itinerary’s Missing Piece: Legoland
    Remember when Legos were just tiny brick blocks that scattered the floor of any home where kids lived? Seems like forever ago. Now the Lego universe includes movies, video games — and yes, even amusement parks. There are two reasons why they’re a prime choice for skip-generation trips. First, who doesn’t love Legos? They’re an ageless toy and artform that help you get lost in hours of playtime. Second, Legoland Parks and Discover Centers are everywhere — from Florida to California and the United Kingdom to Japan. Enjoy Lego rides, Lego shows, and regular old Legos. The flagship Florida resort even includes a waterpark as part of its sprawling footprint on the former site of Cypress Gardens.5

  • Hello, Dolly!
    Few destinations are built for a multi-generational traveling group quite like this east Tennessee tourist destination. The crown jewel — or rhinestone, we should say — is the Appalachian-themed Dollywood. With attractions including the Barnstormer roller coaster and Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner show, you’ll quickly soon discover why Dollywood is known as America’s “Friendliest Themepark.”6 Other big Pigeon Forge draws include the Smoky Mountain Opry, plenty of outlet malls to handle the grandkids’ back-to-school shopping, and the great outdoors.


These are just a few suggested gramping destinations to get you thinking. Botanical Gardens, museums, minor league baseball games, and even the library down the street from Nana and Papa’s place all make great spots for grandparents and grandchildren to build memories together. As for mom and dad, they’ll be sending happy thoughts to everyone on the trip from afar — right after they wrap up their snorkeling excursion and just before their couple’s hot stone massage.

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