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How to Handle Fatigue When Traveling With Grandchildren


Learn how to handle fatigue when traveling with grandchildren.

Traveling can leave both grandparents and grandchildren too tired to have fun.

Photo © MECKY / Getty

We've all marveled at how much energy the grandchildren have. Keeping up with them can be a chore at home, so how can we manage it while traveling? There are strategies that can help you handle fatigue so that your trip won't be compromised.

Get in Shape Before You Go

Beef up your workout program to increase your stamina. If you don't have a workout program, start one, and start it early enough for it to have some effect, usually around one month to six weeks before your departure date. If you belong to a gym and can afford a trainer, that is probably optimal. If not, an at-home regime of walking and light weight-lifting will suffice, or try one of these exercise regimens. A simple walking program will help, but won't build the upper body strength that you may need for lifting luggage and sleepy children.

Don't Start Tired

The way to achieve a fatigue-free beginning is to do everything that you possibly can ahead of time. There is almost nothing that can't be done ahead of time. It is usually simple procrastination that keeps us from doing it. If you can't pack toiletries or your hair dryer ahead of time, buy duplicates so that you can pack early. Two jars of face cream last twice as long as one, so you're not really spending money foolishly.Stop the mail and the newspaper and arrange for pet care. As soon as you think of a task, address it.

Don't plan to leave at the crack of dawn. Whether you are flying or driving, the ideal time to arrive at your destination is around three. Your lodging probably won't be available for check-in before three. So take a late morning flight if you are flying. If you are driving, don't start your trip with an eight-hour drive. Start at a reasonable hour and be checked in at your lodging by early afternoon.

If you are flying, try for non-stops. Layovers eat up energy, especially if you are chasing grandchildren around an airport, and having to make connections can be nerve-wracking.

Rest During the Day

If the grandchildren are resting or sleeping, you should be also. If the grandchildren are not cooperating, switch off with your traveling partner. One of you can nap while the other watches the kids. You aren't crazy enough to travel alone with the grandkids, are you? I didn't think so.

Strive for a Good Night's Sleep

If you're old enough to be a grandparent, you should know some of the things that make it easier to sleep. Pack a small fan if you're accustomed to white noise or a package of chamomile tea if that helps you relax. Grandchildren should have their own beds if at all possible. If your lodging choice has a pool, an evening swim is a great sleep aid. If you don't swim, get in the pool and do a little water exercise. You'll reap the same benefits.

Eat Well

Increase fiber, fruit and vegetables to avoid constipation. (Try to induce the grands to make some fresh choices, too.) Have snacks on hand to avoid those low-blood-sugar valleys. Nuts and fruit are good choices. Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.

Don't Be a Martyr

If you had planned to go to the water park, and you wake up exhausted, don't go to the water park. If you get tired, allow the grandkids to indulge themselves in a video or their iPods while you rest. You don't want to return from your trip exhausted either.

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