Today, travelling the world seems to be a rite of passage for many young people. Lifestyles and attitudes have changed, and transitioning straight from high school to university is no longer the norm. Instead, millennials are opting to take a year off to travel, volunteer, and simply find their feet as adults.
It’s an incredibly exciting time, but you may feel a little powerless when it comes to offering them support. So, to help you be a part of their grand adventure we’ve put together some ideas you can use to support your grandkids as they travel. From financial help to emotional support, we’ve got it covered.
Gearing up for a gap year is a major task, and your grandkids will probably feel quite overwhelmed. Especially if they haven’t travelled solo before. You can offer support by helping them tick off essentials, and arming them with handy resources. Gap Advice is a great source, packed full of safety tips, travel news, visa info, volunteer ideas, and more. If they’re still deciding where to go and what to do you can chat to them about destinations, and what kinds of countries or continents they’d like to visit.
Leaving home for months on end can be an emotional experience for both you, and your globetrotting grandchild. You can’t avoid missing their company, but you can embrace technology and offer them emotional support from across the globe. From Skype to FaceTime, there are so many ways to stay in touch. Before they leave, let your grandkids know that you’re only ever a click away.
Ideally, your grandkids will keep you in the loop about their travels. Or, at the very least you can snag information from their parents! Take the time to do a little research about their destinations, and select activities or experiences that catch your attention. You can then offer to ‘sponsor’ an experience on the pretence that you’d be doing it if you were there. From skydiving in Switzerland, cooking classes in Thailand, surfing lessons in Costa Rica, and elephant sanctuaries in India, there are so many ways you can enrich their experience. If they’re heading to a destination you’ve travelled to before, another great way to connect is to treat them to an experience or activity you enjoyed first-hand.
A warm welcome
When young adults return from gap years they can often have a hard time readjusting. The sense of freedom and carelessness they’ve become accustomed to will have to be reassessed, and they could also experience reverse culture shock if they’ve spent a lengthy period of time in developing countries. You can help by offering them a warm welcome and a place to feel comfortable. Sometimes, all they’ll need is someone to listen to their stories, nod at the right times, and offer a little insight every now and then.
Gap years can be incredibly transformative. Your beloved grandkids could fall in love, discover their passions and lay down roots. They’ll learn the art of independence, grow as human beings, and at the very least stir an appetite for adventure. As a grandparent, you can do so much more than simply sit back and watch the adventure unfold. Whether it’s financial help or the kind of emotional support that money could never buy, you can play an important role in your grandchild’s gap year.