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C’mon Grandma, It’s Time to Hit the Whitewater

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None of the grampers interviewed for this article had to contend with much homesickness, possibly because their grandchildren were all in the double digits. That tracks with the Family Travel Association survey, where most grandparents cited 8 to 12 years as an ideal age range. (Unsurprisingly, none expressed interest in traveling with a newborn or 1-year-old.)

“It’s the perfect moment between childhood and adolescence, and it’s an age where they’re able to stay up later, be a little more flexible with food and get to know other kids even if they’re a little shy,” said Ms. Behnke.

The Behnkes will fete their third-oldest grandson’s 11th birthday on a Road Scholar Grand Canyon tour in June; their youngest grandson, bringing up the rear, has already expressed his wishes: Greece. (He has been vetoed.) The Millers are toying with where to eventually take their four granddaughters, 3 to almost 10.

And as grampers on both ends of the generational spectrum know: Like fine wine, relationships get better with age.

“When I could go over to my grandparents’ house when I was little, they would be in their grandparent role: making sure you grow up healthy and strong,” said Ms. Bradbury, already a young adult on her VBT bike tour. “Now we have a real friendship — our relationship has shifted from a teaching role to a companion role.”

Sarah Firshein is the Tripped Up columnist for The Times. She formerly held staff positions at Travel + Leisure and Vox Media, and has also contributed to Condé Nast Traveler, Bloomberg, Eater and other publications. If you need advice about a best-laid travel plan that went awry, send an email to [email protected].

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