There’s an abundance of travel articles about traveling solo, traveling with friends, traveling with romantic partners. And though all those trips are special and edifying in different ways, there’s one kind of travel that doesn’t get a lot of attention: travel with parents.
And no, I don’t mean the road trips you took as a teenager to a state park that you mostly ignored in favor of playing Snake on your Nokia. I mean making a choice as an adult to travel with your parents. If you haven’t done it, you should. Here is why.
Travel with your parents because they never did
You can live with your parents for 18 years and see them once a week and for every annual holiday, but that still doesn’t compare to going somewhere totally new with them. It’s easier and cheaper to travel now than it has ever been. And for many people in older generations getting on a transatlantic flight and seeing Rome with your own eyes was unfathomable. Millennials complain about how their parents made enough money to buy a house by the time they were 23. And that may be true, but many of our parents haven’t left that house since we were in diapers. So give them opportunity and encouragement to finally do so.
Travel with your parents to thank them
Maybe you can’t afford to treat your parents to a weekend in Cabo. But while most people are planning trips with their friends, their lovers, and eventually their own kids, simply inviting your parents along on an adventure can mean the world to them. Even the worst parents in the world made sacrifices for you. At the very least your mother destroyed her entire body to bring you into this world. And at best, your parents probably slaved away at jobs where they were unhappy to make sure you could have food on the table or to put you through college. Going on a trip with your parents is a fantastic way to thank them for their sacrifices and to let them know that they still play an important role in your life.
Travel with your parents to show them you are safe in the world
With all the horrible things that happen every day, most people forget that daily life is relatively safe in most parts of the world. But it’s easy to get caught up worrying about your adult children getting lost or hurt in the middle of nowhere 15 hours away. If your parents are afraid of you going to France because of terrorism, take them with you. They’ll forget all about the awful things they feared would happen. Show your parents you are a responsible, competent, and safety-conscious traveler instead of giving them reassurances via text. And the next time you’re traveling on your own somewhere, they’ll have less reason to worry.
Travel with your parents to make their dreams come true
Take your parents to that one place they’ve always wanted to see. Show them the castles and monuments they’ve read about since they were children – the ones they never thought they’d see with their own eyes. Listen when they tell you about all the ways they had pictured it differently for the past 40 or 50 years. No matter what their expectation, it’ll always be more spectacular in person (except the Mona Lisa). Let them tell you where they were when the Berlin Wall came down while they stand inches from that history. That experience will be a one-of-a-kind moment that you’ll be glad you shared with them. As much as parents love hearing about your adventures, they deserve to experience some for themselves.
Travel with your parents to see them in a different light
When you always do the same thing with your parents, you’ll always see them in the same way. Your mom is perpetually in the kitchen making food for everybody. Your dad is always fixing something around the house. And both of them won’t stop asking when you’re going to have a baby. You should travel with your parents to get them out of that routine, and to show you that there’s a lot more to them than what you usually see. Get drunk with them in Spain. Take an exhausting hike through a forest. Make them try things they’ve never eaten before. If you rekindle their youthful sense of adventure, you’ll find that your parents are a lot cooler than you think they are.