When I first told my parents I was planning a solo backpacking trip through South-America, I was surprised by their reaction. They know me well enough to not argue with me, but I could tell they were not happy. They asked: when are you going? How long are you going? Are you going aloonnneee…? You could hear the echo in that question. Yes, mom and dad, your adult, 33-year old daughter is going to South-America.. ALONE! As this was not the first time I had to break that news to them, I assembled some tips to reassure parents of solo travel plans across the globe. These tips will help you look responsible and mature when breaking the news to your loved ones.
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How to reassure parents of solo travel plans?
When you break the news that you’re going traveling solo, there is nothing more exciting than a whole bunch of people jumping up and down and wanting to join you. Asking questions like: where are you going? Are you going to include this city or that park in your trip? Will you bring me back a souvenir?
Unfortunately, it’s very likely that not everyone responds to your solo backpacking plans in equally exciting manner. Your parents worry about you. They still do, even if you’re an adult like me. Or have a family of your own. To your parents, you’re still their little girl. You are their daughter, who is planning on setting out to explore the world, on her own. Here are some tips to reassure parents of solo travel plans.
Before you break the news to your parents, make sure to read these first time tips for solo female traveling by Arzo Travels.
Bend and flex
No, this is not yoga but every salesmen and woman knows: to make a sale, you have to bend and flex. And yes, trust me, you’re making a sale. You are selling your parents the idea of you traveling solo around the world and them being ok with that.
You have to understand where they are coming from. Do not say: “Don’t worry! I’ll be fine.” Because that will not help them. They DO worry and they do NOT know you’ll be fine. Even if you travel with your parents, like I did, you can still be travel scammed in Rome for example.
You have to bend your phrases and acknowledge their concerns. Tell them you understand that they will worry. Tell them that it is okay that they worry, because you’ll know they love you. Do not argue with them but acknowledge their feelings.
Show them your solo travel plans
The idea of a girl alone in the big wide world for weeks and weeks on end is daunting to everyone. That adventure seems of astronomical proportions and that is scary. However, if you break your trip down into bite sizeable chunks, it’s much easier to digest.
Show your parents your itinerary. Show them where you will be going. Show it on a map or as a route. Tell them where you’ll be staying, which flight numbers you have. I showed my parents my hap-snap travel map with my reasons to travel to South-America and they used it to google places while I was away.
If you need to talk to your parents about your solo travel plans and how you’ll finance them, show them your budget and how you will pay for your travels. Maybe you do not have the money to show for it just yet. Let them know, you thought about this issue and you have a plan to tackle it. This will prove to your parents you are mature and responsible and you can travel on your own. If you need help to budget for your travels, check my posts about my budget for Dublin, Solo Female trip to Cologne, Budget Trip To Alicante and Barcelona Budget.
Make specific and measurable agreements
Don’t reassure parents of solo travel plans by telling them you’ll call as much as possible. Odds are your mom has a different idea of “as much as possible”. When you tell them you’ll text them as soon as you’ll land, they think they’ll receive a text message when you’re still waiting to get off the plane. And you were thinking you could send a text once you checked into the hotel, unpacked your bag, took a nap and a shower and explored the pool first.
Make sure you are on the same page regarding your agreements. If you agree to call your mom every Monday, make sure you do call her, every Monday. Even if you don’t feel like it or have not much to say. Just call to check in and reassure your parents. If you’re wondering how to stay in touch, check out these posts from fellow bloggers about cheap international cell phone services and best cell phone plans when studying in Europe.
Talk to your parents
If you want your parents to take you and your solo travel plans serious, the best way is to talk to them. I know, your parents might seem like a 7-headed monster who will never understand any of your plans to travel or your life in general, but they are your parents. They care for you.
When I noticed my parents were uneasy with my solo trip to South-America, I just put it out there. I literally asked them: What can I do to reassure you? What can I do to make you feel better about the idea? Turned out; they wanted just 1 thing. Know where I would be staying and they asked if it was possible for me to check in every day with them.
In my mind, it sounded a little bit childish to text my parents every day where I was staying, what I was doing and where I would be going. But I soon decided: if that will make them feel better or more comfortable: then I’ll do it.
It turned out, it was very easy to reassure my parents of my solo travel plans. All I had to do was share my plans with them and text them every day. Maybe your parents want something different from you, but you cannot reassure parents of solo travel plans, if you do not know what they want. So just ask.
Or…. be original!
Or.. you can just be original. Like Jonathan Quiñonez who poses with a sign saying “Mom, I’m fine” on every Instagram picture of his travels around the Carribbean. Like this one. I’m sure seeing this will reassure your parents..
How do you reassure your loved ones of your solo travel plans?
Are you planning on traveling solo soon? What did you do to reassure your parents of your solo traveling plans? Let me know how you deal with worried parents and what is your strategy to look mature and responsible about your plans? Please share your other tips with me!