I don’t know how it came to be, but I have quite a lot of experience in travelling with my parents. Specifically, travelling with my parents one at a time.
When I was 15 I convinced my mum (and sister + two aunties) to accompany me on a girls trip to Hong Kong. I couldn’t go alone at such a young age, so my mum sorta had no choice when I managed to save my pennies and book a ticket (ha! Sorry mum).
Then, on my 17th birthday I travelled to Europe with my dad. It was his first time overseas and this trip came about when he ‘challenged’ me to save enough money to book a ticket when I wouldn’t stop harping on about how badly I wanted to go.
A few years later during my university degree I had a tough ride getting through my second year of law school and living away from home (I’m super close with my family and my mum is legitimately superwoman in my eyes – without her cooking and caretaking combined with a ruthless university workload, I was a mess) – I convinced her to come with me on a trip to Thailand as I had found “two for one” tickets online and needed a travel buddy. She obliged.
Most recently, I was living in Berlin for a few months to see if I would like to move there permanently – and my mum simply insisted she MUST come help me settle in to my apartment. AKA my mum wanted to see Europe for the first time… and I gladly helped her book a ticket for a few weeks later.
Travelling with Parents
…..has grown on me over the years. For started, they’re one of the most reliable travel companions you can have under your wing. So many times friends have expressed their interest in coming to visit me overseas or going on holiday together, but time after time they have failed to come through (sometimes for good reason, usually because they can’t organise themselves in time!!!).
There are down sides, for sure. But the joy of sharing those moments of discovery with your parent(s) is priceless.
How to survive
If your parents are anything like mine, they haven’t travelled as far or wide as you have. If they’re already the globetrotting type, go you! They’ll require very little training and encouragement to try new things. Otherwise, here’s how to survive:
Go somewhere new to both of you
Out of the trips I’ve taken with my parents, the most memorable for both of us have been the trips to foreign places neither of us have been before. While it is fun to show someone a place you yourself are familiar with, it is much more exciting to explore and uncover an entirely new place together. That way you don’t come into the trip with too many expectations to live up to and can remember that particular country or city as the trip you took with your mum or dad.
Encourage them to try new things
Maybe it’s a generational thing or maybe most parents just tend to become less curious as they’re older? Whatever it is, you’re gonna have to give them at least a little encouragement to try new things. Whether its food, an activity, or an extreme sport, pushing your parents to try things outside of their comfort zone will give you both lasting memories and make for great stories to tell over the dinner table when you return home. My dad was afraid of heights and I somehow (after a long pep talk) convinced him to climb the Eiffel tower with me. Still a story I love to tell (him, not so much).
Try all of the activities
When you’re travelling with anyone, especially family, it can become easy to fall into the trap of your comfort zone and forget to get back out of your comfort zone to try new things. Doing loads of activities will allow you to create more memories and also make the days go quicker.
Wake up early and seize the day
This should go for all trips – regardless of who you’re travelling with (or if you’re going it alone). You’ll be much more productive and alert if you wake up early and seize the day, and it also makes it less likely that you’ll go home with any regrets. Wake up early, seize the day, and spend the evenings reflecting on all that you achieved that day (plus if your parents are anything like mine they like their dinner around 7 and bed time around 10 – haha!).
Make memories to last a lifetime
Don’t forget to capture those moments – and not just on the ol’ iphone and quick upload to social media. Parents come from pre-internet-generation and as such have a higher appreciation for tangible things, such as a polaroid photo or film camera. Be sure to take lots of photos both of each other, together, and the things you see as well. Memories have a way of fading over time so It can be great to go back and remember things you would otherwise forget.