Solo Travel: Dealing with a Concerned Parent

You’ve packed your bags, your passport and visas are ready, your wallet is by your bed and you’re all set to conquer the world on your solo adventures. It’s an epic scenario when suddenly, standing in between the door and your dreams are your parents. “SOLO TRAVEL, YOU MUST BE CRAZY!!!” they bellow. Suddenly home seems a lot more daunting than the supposedly big bad world out there. Here are a couple of things that might help if not to convince then at least to explain your wanderlust to your folks.
Warm them up: Needless to say, don’t just spring your plans upon them all of a sudden. Start a couple of months in advance by talking about the destination you want to travel to and what you would do “if” you were to go. A couple of weeks later let them know you’re thinking of heading off on a trip and address their concerns while keeping calm and without getting too agitated. Also consider taking baby steps, for your first solo trip, instead of going to a completely new place maybe go somewhere where a good friend or a member of the family lives. Whilst there make sure you’re independent and heading out by yourself often enough. This will help show your parents that you’ll be okay on your own in another country/city/town.

One of the biggest advantages of living and growing up in India is that travelling in 90% of the outside world feels like a cake walk. Inspire confidence in them of your ability to take intelligent decisions and to look after yourself. Once they’re aware of the determined plans that are brewing in your head your eventual decision to go off on a solo adventure won’t be a complete shock to their sensibilities.

Thinking of leaving on a jet plane? Best warm your folks up to the idea first
Clue them in (but just enough): At the end of the day all the negativity towards solo travel stems from one important thing: concern for safety. Our parents just want us alive and well. While that’s fair, it can get a bit irrational sometimes. Clue your parents in about your travel plans as much as possible – tell them where you’ll stay, give them the phone number of the hotel (phone numbers are always reassuring) and share your tentative itinerary with them. If there is a friend or family in the area that’s even better, let them know an emergency contact lives around the corner.

That said, they needn’t know every single detail about all of your plans. Sitting 1000s of miles away from you, all that will lead to is worry and paranoia. If you intend to bungee off a building, venture out into the countryside solo or hike and camp by yourself, it’s probably best to keep them out of the loop. Give them an outline of your plan, mention poor connectivity and spare them some sleepless nights.

 

Thinking of traipsing around the countryside solo? Best leave that bit out.

Share your love for travel: Explain to your parents your love for adventure and your need to travel. While they might not understand or agree with it, it’ll help them see where you’re coming from. Tell them of the thrill you receive from travelling somewhere new and how much you learn and grow by experiencing new cultures. Let them know that you will meet other (good) people while travelling and more often that not you’ll have company. When you talk about something you really love your face and eyes light up in an entirely different way. They might be able to ignore what you’re saying but they won’t be able to ignore that glow.

Share your love for travel and new cultures

Encourage Them To Travel: Do your parents travel enough? If not, another idea to get them round to your travels is to get them hooked onto wanderlust themselves. Encourage them to take more holidays and to get out there and explore this so-called “ big bad world”. Take the initiative by seeking out holiday destinations and making the bookings for them. Work them towards falling in love with travel (it’s hard not to) and while solo travel might still be beyond their comprehension, at least they’ll start to understand your wanderlust.

Share your wanderlust and encourage them to travel
Be Financially Independent: Perhaps the most important point on this list. If you’re going to travel then make sure it is with your own money. Work hard and save enough cash to go off on your own adventures. That’s the only way you’ll have a say in what you want to do and how you want to do it. Not to mention the fact that it’s incredibly unfair and selfish to use your parent’s money to do something they absolutely do not want you to do. It’s a myth to think you need truck loads of money to travel. For your first few trips, if your budget is small then make sure you choose a destination accordingly. South East Asia, Africa, and Central America are particularly cheap regions to travel in.
Make sure you’re funding all your adventures and experiences

 

9 comments

  1. Hey thank you fro such wonderful tips … i so need them now as i am planning a Trip in India for almost week or more in Month of August ,as i have been waiting for des trip since 10 years .. when i told my parents about trip they actually reacted ” what are u nuts.. y all of sudden ” but guess all the above tips are surely going to help me … thanks alot ….

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  2. A very informative post..!! thanks for the tips…havent mustered courage for solo travel as yet..but definitely want to do it once in my life 🙂

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  3. You're welcome Divya! I hope you leave on those adventures soon. There is no better moment than now 🙂 It makes me really happy to know that I can contribute to providing a little bit of encouragement to other solo female travellers too. Good luck!

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  4. Great post on solo travel! I came across your blog through India Untravelled. You have given some valuable advice to those who might be struggling to get a yes from their parents. In my case, I am fortunate that I never really had to convince anybody at home. I think if a girl decides to travel solo, she should convey her desire confidently to her parents. Planning and preparation play a key role here. If you show your parents that you can't plan properly, they WILL get jittery!

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  5. Thanks Renuka! Indeed you are really lucky that you've not had to convince anyone to be able to travel solo. I think for most Indian women convincing family is probably the biggest challenge. Good luck on all your travels! 🙂

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  6. Thank you Arati. It's always nice to hear other people- especially women- are able to gain inspiration from my travels and writing :). I was in Nepal recently but it was a very quick trip! Next time hopefully.

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  7. […] Dealing With Parents: Solo female travel or just girls travelling together is steadily catching on in our country but a lot of Indian parents still haven’t come around to the idea. The best way to ensure your sanity and theirs is to keep them clued in …but not too clued in. If you plan to hike up an active volcano with poor connectivity, let them know you’ll be in the countryside where the connectivity is poor but perhaps keep the active volcano bit out of it. Sitting miles away from you at home, all they will do is worry.  You can tell them all about your adventures once you’re back. A key point here is also financial independence, if you’re going away for adventures of your own then make sure the money is your own too. Work hard, save and then travel harder. For more help with this particular issue, click here. […]

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