You’ve bought the ticket, you’re so excited for your adventure, you’ve read all the best travel tips in the world, but there’s just one thing in your way — yo momma! or your dad, or a pack of wolves (hey, I don’t know who raised you).
Here’s a few things you should consider when you want to get your parents blessing** to travel the world.
Remember – you know your family- tailor all these ideas to what works best for you, some of these likely wouldn’t go over too well with all families.
Try Terrifying Them With Something Way Worse First
“Mom, Dad. Before you say anything, just listen: I’m pregnant*…and eloping… with a mob boss…”
(Make sure you have something to hide behind before attempting this.)
Once their blood pressure comes back to earth and eyes roll back into their sockets… you can tell them you’re just kidding, and that you’re ONLY going to travel the world.
You’re still going to have an uphill battle on your hands, so come prepared. Knowing your enemy is half the fight, and beating them with their own weapons will leave them with a little injured ego, but a mountain of pride and awe at their baby all grown up.
Know What You’re Talking About
Know the countries you’re hoping to visit, and get all the hyper- paranoid travel warnings from the US Government travel website. After shitting your pants because of the hyperboles on the site, come back to reality and figure out how to address the (often-times) absurd nature of these concerns.
Try these tactics to reason with your parents and show them the world isn’t full of monsters :
– reach out to people living in the countries you want to travel to. Check CouchSurfing, Peace Corps, expat Facebook groups… (you know, the internet) to find people who can help give you local information on what daily life is actually like
– Statistics. the numbers don’t lie. Odds are strong that your mom (or dad) is going to find an article about isolated incidents of violence towards travel and visualize your face at all these crime scenes. It’s normal — you did come out of her body.
Be rational in the face of hysterical.
– Present data that puts this into perspective. Crime rates in the USA are through the roof in comparison to many countries in the world. Drop the latest numbers from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and reassure your mom that danger is not unique to the exotic.
– Block their subscription to FOX news. It’s all a bunch of fear mongering lies anyway.
– Turn the tables – give your parents homework. Find a few resources (think travel blogs, magazine articles, documentaries, photo essays, etc) that present a rounded view of 1) travel 2) specific destinations
Have a Plan, Not Wishful Thinking
Your parents don’t want to bail you out of your travel any more than they want to bail you out of jail.
Show them you’ve covered your bases : safety, budget, and insurance (this is a FAQ link including insurance, vaccines, visas, etc). Worst case scenarios sometimes translate into real life and it’s important (not only for your parents) that you plan for these.
Butter em up and knock ’em down. (Here comes the KO)
Did you think I was above this? No way. Moms (and dads!) fight dirty, and you know she’s gonna try to pull a crier on you.
Unless you want a guilt trip to be the only vacation you take, brace yourself.
Memorize your variation of this:
“Mom, Dad – you have taught me to be strong, independent, smart, and (list some other qualities you rock). As much as I would love it, you’re not always going to be around to hold my hand.
(while your parents are now struggling with their own mortality take advantage to finish this off).
Remember when I was a little kid learning to ride my bike? (use example of something you did for the first time that you both remember, but this bike one is pretty solid if I do say so myself )
You held onto the seat of my bike, and kept me steady. When you let go, anything could have happened. I could have fallen over, been hit by a car, kidnapped… (you know, get dramatic with it, like they are now. Talk slowly, let this stuff settle in… the most important part is yet to come.)
I didn’t. With your training and guidance I was able to keep my balance, my eyes open, and move forward. (hand your mom the tissues now) I know you’re scared, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was, too — but just like the bike, I also know I am going to be just fine.”
If you can’t convince your parents with a script that like, I don’t know what will help.
But seriously, this is an emotional journey for them – it’s the representation that you don’t need them holding your physical hand – and that’s hard on them, too. But by supplying answers to all their logical questions and concerns, there’s not much more you can do other than hope they’re there supporting you** along the way.
* this only works if you are female, ahem.
**no, not financially. if you’re trying to convince your parents to pay for your trip it’s likely time you took a look in the proverbial mirror and grow up! Instead of getting them to bank roll you, you could try to figure out how to get a job around the world so you can pave your own path.