Freshly arrived at university, I waved my teary-eyed parents away and started a new chapter in my life, determined to seize every opportunity I could. Pair this with my love of travel and two weeks later, after the madness of Freshers, I was ringing my parents to tell them I had put a deposit down on flights to Uganda where I would be volunteering with a charity that summer. Perhaps it was the timing, perhaps it was the place, or the small charity I was going with, but it’s fair to say that at first, my parents weren’t exactly as thrilled as I was about this next adventure.
I think this is something that often comes up in our lives as young travellers: the anxious parents questioning if you really should be going on this trip, maybe not all that happy that you’re off to some remote location. Mostly it stems from a worry about their child leaving their safety net and entering the unknown, but you can make it easier on them. Not by going somewhere else or taking the path well-travelled – keep pushing the boundaries and exploring the new and unique. However, by providing some background to your travels you can let your parents have an easier night’s sleep and get their support in your far-off wanders.
In the case above I maybe didn’t provide the best example of how to get your parents onboard. Ambushing them with the news that I was going to Uganda probably did me no favours. It’s best to approach the subject more slowly: talk about where you’re considering going and why, show that you’ve thought about why you’re spending your savings on this trip and not one closer to home. Surprising your parents with the news that you’re off to the other side of the world is more likely to make them worry; have you really thought about this; is the place safe; is the tour company reliable; what if you flights home are cancelled; did you book through a reputable site; the list goes on and on.
The best way is to do your research. Most of your parents’ worries are likely reasonable concerns, so doing a little research around them will probably help your travels to be less stressful anyway. A major thing that will help persuade your parents into accepting your travels is getting travel insurance, and checking you have the right insurance. Many places offer a range of insurance plans and depending on your trip you might need different insurance. For example, if you plan on doing any adventure sports such as white-water rafting or diving, you need to make sure these are covered in your insurance as most basic plans do not cover them. It’s important to also note that many policies have small print stating that any incidents occurring when intoxicated by drugs or alcohol will not be covered by the plan. Getting the right insurance can be a little confusing but luckily there are guides out there to help.
After showing your parents your comprehensive insurance, continue to wow them with your preparedness and seal your travel pitch with some information about the country you’re going to. Check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice where you’ll find advice concerning safe areas of countries and places to avoid, as well as information on local laws and customs. If your parents are worried about your safety during your trip this is a great way to show them that you have considered this, as the responsible young traveller that you are!
The main thing to have in mind when trying to persuade your parents to get on board and be as excited about your travel plans as you are is to listen to their worries. Research your destination and then you’ll have information to back you up. By being more aware of the things that could potentially go wrong whilst travelling you’re showing them that you are responsible enough to look after yourself on the other side of the world. Not only will you then have your parents on board, but you’ll also be more likely to have a stress free trip. Safe travels!