When I tell certain people in my life that I am traveling to [insert country name] I get mixed reactions. Some people are excited and ask that I take them with them. Others…let’s just say aren’t as enthusiastic.
The ones who aren’t enthusiastic about my travels usually ask me questions or say things like:
Aren’t you scared?
Why would you want to travel?
What’s wrong with staying in the United States?
Isn’t it dangerous out there?
I saw on the news that…
I remember that girl who never came home…do you remember that case?
And when people say these things, sometimes they have good intentions. Sometimes they are just worried because they don’t know what it’s like outside of their country. All they’ve heard about living overseas is that it’s dangerous and something to avoid.
Your loved ones who truly care, want to see you healthy and safe.
Before you tell your parents (or family members) you want to travel, you have to be armed with information. You shouldn’t have any holes in your travel plans. If you come to them without a plan and just say you’re going to travel the world, it might not go over too well. They’ll feel unease and nervous. You’ll leave the conversation feeling frustrated and trapped. When you’re doing your research here are some things to consider:
When you approach your parents about your travel plans, you have to come to them as an adult. When you prepare your pitch don’t say things like:
And even when you present your pitch, don’t whine or pout. Instead, include that this is something you’ve been thinking about for a while and have done a ton of research.
You should also try to highlight the benefits of your potential trip. Some benefits could include:
Your parents (or family members) care about you, so it’s natural they have concerns. Respectfully listen to their concerns, even though it may be hard. Let them know that you hear what they are saying.
When you’ve heard their concerns, let them know you’ve thought about their worries. Find solutions to their worries and share them as apart of your travel plans.
What if your luggage gets stolen? What if there’s a terrorist attack? What if you get sick? What if there’s a natural disaster? What if you get robbed?
There will be a solid chance that nothing will happen to you and you will enjoy your experience overseas. However, life happens. There may be unexpected situations that occur no matter your level of preparation. Acknowledge that. But also point out that you’ve:
Enrolled in the U.S. State Department STEP program
Made copies of important documents like your passport and credit cards
Researched emergency numbers in your host country
Will get the proper immunizations and medication needed (if applicable)
Looked into travel insurance
You want to show them that you’ve thought about worst-case scenarios and what you would do in case they happened. You also want to show them you’ve taken preventative measures just in case.
If traveling solo is an issue, find friends to go with you. If you can’t find any friends to travel with, research tour companies that will allow you to go to your destination with a group. With a tour group, not only are you traveling with other people, but you will have guides that will take you to each destination.
If you are in college, perhaps look into study abroad opportunities.
And although it might not be your preferred choice, you can always invite your parents/family members.
If you want your parents (or family members) to take you seriously, show them how you are going to finance your trip. If you’re a student, check out How To Afford Study Abroad. If you aren’t in school, show ways you can pay for your own trip. If you need some ideas about how to save for your trip, check out 21 Ways To Travel On A Limited Budget
There is a real chance that your parents still may not be on board, no matter how detailed and soundproof your plan is. And that’s understandable because they’re your parents. They love you.
I never want to advocate bringing tension or division within families.
You might have to wait until you’re a full-grown adult, with a life of your own (ie., not under the legal custody of your parents, living with them, or receiving any financial support). Until then, you may have to just respect your parent’s wishes.