When I decided that I needed a holiday abroad last year, the last thing I planned to do was travel with my parents. But as a single woman in her twenties, I quickly realized that I lacked the options for my fellow travelers. Most friends of my age can not afford to travel abroad for a long time, financially or in a timely manner, either because they are studying or looking for a career.
I did not feel safe when I was traveling alone – an option I do not like being the social being that I am anyway – and I’m a terrible navigator. When my parents announced that they would travel through Europe for three months, I reassessed my idea of a perfect holiday and asked if I could follow them.
It was logical. They are experienced travelers, both speak French, my mother speaks Spanish and both can ask for toilet in a dozen languages. We traveled to Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Spain and Italy, and although the Grand Tour was a challenge with their parents, it was a rewarding and rewarding experience for all of us.
Inevitably, we sometimes needed space from each other. The booking of complete houses at Airbnb suited us better. The rigors of traveling can test everyone’s patience, but when you’re with your parents, you know each other so well that you know how to deal with friction.
Now that I am back in Australia I have considered, with direct experience and in hindsight, 10 advantages and disadvantages of traveling with my parents.
Quality family time:
You will spend a lot of time with those who know you best, who you love most, but who will not be here forever. My mother and I were interested in visiting as many museums, galleries and historical monuments as possible. So it was a wonderful connection, as we walk through Europe and see inspiring, grandiose works in places like the Sistine Chapel we will both remember. I doubt I could live the places we visited as fully as I would have done without them, depending on the interests we had (probably because she raised me).
Parents are reliable:
Your friends might have to cancel at the last minute due to a lack of money, but parents tend to plan and follow. And they will never leave you halfway, and you will be stranded in the Himalayas just because you quarreled. We had surprisingly little and I did not hesitate at any time to book plane tickets or tickets, for example when planning trips that never took place with friends, because I knew that. My parents were reliable, open and mature.
You do not have to go the extra mile:
Their parents expect and can probably afford a higher level of comfort, so they are likely to reduce their financial burden on housing and food. You book a decent hotel or a classy hotel, Airbnb, eat in more upscale restaurants and do not expect to take part in the rental car. You can also subsidize your entry fees for expensive attractions. Mine was generous and considered this trip as a kind of education for me. They took pity on my young graduate, broke up and offered me Parisian street pancakes and a passage from Spain to Italy.
They benefit from their knowledge and their life experience:
Whether you are an experienced traveler or just spending wild holidays, over the years your parents have learned some tips and tricks to make your trip enjoyable and safe. You may have already visited your destination. In this case, you can specify the best things that you should see and do, as well as the areas to avoid. My mother was very similar to my personal guide because she had a wealth of knowledge and enriched my understanding of art and culture. My father, a very experienced engineer, knew the best and most reliable transport services as well as the repairs to my suitcase when the wheel was misaligned while moving on the European pavement.
You will be better in a crisis situation:
Whether you have lost your luggage or the rental car breaks down and you need to contact the insurers – your parents will probably already have dealt with the situation and can solve the problems that arise as young people. Travel partners can still travel to Panic. You can also better identify a potential problem before it happens, which means that your journey is relatively stress-free. Prevention is better than cure, and my parents have often avoided financial, practical and situational tragedies that I did not even think about.
What attracts you might not please your parents. Do not expect the exciting journey that you could spend with a partner or group of friends of your age. Parents will probably not want to be at the party before 5am on a Contiki boat. Mine does not have. If this is the holiday you are looking for, do not travel with your elders. Recognize the generation gap and prepare for a calmer journey. I walked around several times to explore the nightlife of Seville alone while my parents returned to the house early in the evening.
The technological challenge:
The presentation of Airbnb to my parents was a test in itself. I had to guide her through the basics, eg For example, navigate through the website and then convince them that paying by credit card online is a safe bet. I was the one who was still developing everything that was technical, including connecting the phones to Wi-Fi and recording our flights online. Intergenerational travel involves elements of mutual giving, and here I come to help you. Be aware that you have to contribute in one way or another.
Parents are more likely to get tired:
While you’re still cooking and you want to climb Machu Picchu or attend a flamenco dance class, parents may not be able to do as much as you do in one day. Having prepared a complete Parisian itinerary, I forced my five hours to hike for five hours at the Musée d’Orsay and four hours at the Louvre that same day. On the left bank was only a small cheese plate. While trying to get Audrey Hepburn back in front of Winged Victory Samothrace like in Funny Face, Mom stumbled behind me looking for a bench. She had to get up. (Note: There are very few places in the galleries of the Louvre).
Illness and injury:
Older people can be physically vulnerable. After a long life, they may suffer from arthritis or questionable knee problems. My Fitbit told me that we took more than 35,000 steps daily and that my mother really felt it. Make sure you have travel insurance.
They will take care of you:
Yes, you are a fully functioning adult and get along better, but your parents will protect your life. Mine tried to keep me from going out on my own, and I felt like a teenager with them, constantly reassuring myself that I was safe, that I had not been stolen or lost my passport. They love you, so they will worry.
What did I get from my international trip with my parents?
Be prepared for compromises and often feel the gap between the generations. All in all, however, I will remember my journey with people, a fantastic opportunity to spend time with them outside of our family environment and get to know them better as individuals. In the end it strengthened our relationship.
I encourage others to travel with their parents or children if they can. Given the memories that you will share and the growing mutual understanding, the benefits of intergenerational travel far outweigh the disadvantages.