So you’ve made the decision. You’re off to see the world. Now to convince your parents that it’s a good idea. The first thing to understand is that whatever your parents’ reaction is to your announcement, it comes from a good place. Whether they are sad, angry or shocked it’s because they care about you. But pre-empting these reactions and how you will handle them will go a long way to getting them on board with your travel plans.
But whether they have a million questions, give you the silent treatment, or even try to convince you not to go, here’s how to talk to worried parents about your travel plans:
1. Explain the benefits to your career
Behind how much they will miss you, your career prospects will likely be a huge secondary concern for your parents. So let them know you have considered the effect travel will have on your career. Focus on the positives and address their concerns by sharing how your adventure will make you more employable because you’ll be more confident and assertive. If you plan to work or volunteer while you are away even better, explain the long-term benefit of such experiences.
2. Show them you have done your research
The last thing your parents want to hear is ‘I’ll just figure it out when I get there’, they will want to know you have thoroughly considered your destination choices so sharing a detailed itinerary with them will help set their minds at ease. Play down any of the more adventurous experiences you plan to have, like cycling death road in Bolivia and instead focus on more cultural aspects such as visiting the centuries-old Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.
3. Make an agreement for how you will stay in contact
Whether it’s through Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype or email, thanks to the internet, staying in touch while you’re around the other side of the world has never been easier. So agree how often you will be in contact and most importantly be specific. Saying you’ll ‘call as often as possible’ may mean once a week to your parents and once a month to you so it’s best to set realistic expectations and compromise if necessary before you jet off.
4. Tell them how you will stay safe
You need to sell the idea to your parents and a good way of doing this is to demonstrate to them that you have considered all aspects of your adventure, including if things go wrong. So talk them through what your backup plans are in the unlikely event you get robbed or seriously injure yourself. It may be yawn-provoking but chat with your folks about what your travel insurance covers and precautions you have in place to keep you safe.
5. Explain how you will financially support yourself
Your parents will worry less if they know that you are being financially responsible and have enough to support your trip. Run them through your travel budget and the research you have done on living costs in the countries you’re headed to. If you are planning to work as you go, share with them how this is possible and how you plan to secure employment. Running out of money whilst you are thousands of miles away will be one of their biggest worries.
Lastly, be cool. Don’t get into an argument with your parents or throw a tantrum. Encourage them to ask questions and listen to them. Then get that ticket booked and don’t look back!