1. Ushering in a New Age of Grandparent Travel

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    “I made a promise to show them the world.”

    That was the vow that Pat Zelkowitz made to her granddaughters. She had developed a special bond with her two granddaughters throughout the years and wanted to share the wonders of travel with them.

    Like Pat and her granddaughters, I was very close with my grandparents. They were huge influences on my life, taught me so many things, and helped make me the person I am today with their knowledge, strength, and guidance. While I was able to travel with my grandparents here and there during school vacations and on trips to local museums and the Boston Common, looking back I wish I had been able to see more of the world with them by my side and learn from their unique perspective along the way.

    Luckily, grandparents today have more disposable income, freedom to roam, and robust travel options before them, like with Road Scholar’s diverse selection of Intergenerational educational programs. These fun and educational journeys offer grandparents and grandchildren the chance to spend quality time together and deepen their relationship in a unique, educational and exciting way. Not only do grandparents get to know their grandchildren in a special way, but the grandkids get to go places and see things they might not otherwise get to see and do (while giving their parents a breather!).

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    Pat at a Road Scholar farewell dinner party in Paris

    Finally, Pat got the chance to take her granddaughter to Paris. The eight-day Paris program, Intergenerational in the City of Lights: A La Decouverte de Paris, is one of Road Scholar’s most popular. A total of 12 girls between the ages of 13 and 16 and their grandparents shared the experience of visiting the world-famous Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and the Paris Ballet. And it wouldn’t be a Road Scholar program without a few exclusive activities, including a French language lesson, a baking class at a French boulangerie and a private Eiffel Tower excursion.

    “I had attended a Road Scholar program at the Chicago Art Institute, as well as a New York opera program and both were fantastic,” Pat told me. “I told my family about it, and when I learned about Intergenerational programs I asked if they would be open to me taking my oldest grandchild to Paris. Honestly, I don’t think they would have let me take her if it wasn’t with Road Scholar. My daughter and son-in-law knew that if anything happened to me, Road Scholar would take care of my granddaughter, and I know they found comfort in that.”

     “I so enjoyed my time alone with my granddaughter,” Pat said. “We got the opportunity to bond in a way we simply couldn’t have with her parents around. Our program was so successful, in fact, that I’m now taking her younger sister on the Road Scholar Harry Potter program in Oxford, England. Who knows what the kids will talk me into next?”

    Pat is just one of thousands of grandparents who have cherished our learning adventures with their grandchildren. We’ve created a video dedicated to grandparents and the special experiences they share with their grandchildren on Road Scholar programs. Click the image below to watch it!

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    Pat reminds me a lot of my mom, who is more typical of the grandparents of today. She is planning a trip to the Galapagos with my 16-year-old nephew. They both love to swim and snorkel and explore the same islands Darwin made famous and they both love the idea of traveling with one another without my sister Karen supervising. This shared experience will continue and strengthen the bond they already have but for sure will be a great memory he will have had with his Nana.

    For adventurous kids like my nephew, we also have a new Road Scholar Kids page, where your grandchildren can watch fun videos and search for Intergenerational learning adventures by their age, interests, and more. Send them the link so they can explore our programs for themselves!

    To learn about more Intergenerational programs, visit our Grandparent Travel page.

    Thank you to all the grandparents out there for changing our lives for the better!

    -JoAnn Bell

    Vice President, Programs


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