Tag Archives: Backpacking

Six Ways To Make Your Parents Happy While Traveling

24 Jun

If your parents are anything like mine, then I’m sure you deal with the many questions and concerns that come along with traveling.

I’m sure a part of it is because I’m only 21 years old. Although my parents will always have their doubts and concerns since I’m young, I’m grateful that they are understanding enough to allow me to live my life the way I want to.

And for me, that is seeing as much of the world as I possibly can. Meaning, I pretty much work to travel. All my money goes towards traveling. While my friends are buying $100 Coach wristlets (and there is nothing wrong with doing so), I’m thinking that that same $100 will get me 5 days of food and accommodation in Cambodia.

When it comes to backpacking, I know that my parents really are truly happy for me, but they’re always going to worry about me.

A lot of people associate hostels and the like with the horror stories they’ve heard so I try to keep my parents calm and at ease about me traveling through a foreign land. I owe it to them.

So, here are a few things that I do to keep my parents happy while I’m traveling.

1) Make an itinerary.

Every backpacker knows that it is very hard to stick to an itinerary. For me, honestly, it changes based off the relationships I make. If I meet a group of awesome people who are leaving for Luang Prabang a day later than I planned, I’m going to wait the extra day, no question. The people I meet are what really makes or breaks a place for me. Making itinerary for my parents seems like a good way for them to know where I am each day and if I change my plans I tell them. This is beneficial for every party involved. It’s always a good idea to have at least one person know where you are at all times. When I arrive in a new city or switch hostels, I always tell my parents, which definitely makes them (as well as myself) feel more at ease.

2) Create a budget.

Obviously you aren’t going to know about each and every dollar that you’ll be spending, but if you do research beforehand you should have a basic idea of what you’ll be spending each day (food, accommodations, alcohol, activities, etc). I send my parents my budget so they know that I’m financially capable of even going on a trip. It will also make them happy to know that I likely won’t be calling in the middle of the night asking them to wire me money.

3) Photocopy EVERYTHING.

I photocopy all important documents (passport, plane itineraries, contact information, etc) and I make sure that I scan and send them to my own email and my parent’s email. I have a few copies of my medical insurance, emergencies numbers (like the Canadian embassy in each country I’m visiting). I show them the address of the first hostel I’m staying at. This makes them feel a little more comfortable about the whole idea of traveling, especially if I’m backpacking solo. If my mom wants me to give her information that I think is unnecessary, I give it to her without a fuss.

4) Prove their assumptions wrong.

Last year, I went to Peru for six weeks. This was around the time that there was a man (Vandersloot, I think) who had murdered a young American woman who was studying in Peru. Of course, my parents were freaking out about me going. They also started to have all these assumptions about South America and Peru. I did everything I could to prove those assumptions wrong. Now, I’m backpacking throughout Southeast Asia, and these assumptions are starting to arise again. My mom talked to a Vietnamese woman at work who said that I cannot go to Cambodia because it’s way too dangerous. So, I did everything I could to show my mom that there are going to be some aspects of danger anywhere that I go (and that Canada probably has just as much danger as Southeast Asia does) and that just because I’m going to these countries, it doesn’t mean I’ll be traveling through the more dangerous cities and towns. I’ll also be traveling with another person and I will have a network of other travellers I’ll meet that are in the same boat as I am.

5) Contact them.

Call them once or twice a week (or as often or not as you’d like). Or if calling is too expensive, email them. Use the social network to your advantage. Tell your family and friends about your blog (if you have one), twitter, facebook, skype, etc, and update as often as you can! Figure out the time difference before you leave so you know the best times to call them. I’m bringing a netbook with me on this trip so I will use skype as often as I can. If I know that I will be unplugged for a few days, I make sure that I let them know. I know you’re going to be having the time of your life traveling, but try to think about the people who love you at home.

And lastly,

6) Leave some details out.

They don’t need to know EVERYTHING that I’m up to. Like drinking until the sun rises or how I was lost (by myself) for 4 hours or… I’ll leave it at that since my parents actually read my blog. Sometimes it’s better to leave a few things to the imagination to avoid more worrying.

A bar in Trujillo, Peru. You can't see it in this picture, but there is someone's PUKE all over the stairs!

And there you have it. Six ways to make your parents happy (or happier) about you traveling.

Do you have any other tips?