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Two years ago, I decided it was perfect opportunity to tell my overprotective parents about the solo trip I had been dreaming about taking, since I was 18. Just as I gathered enough courage to break this news to them, they proceeded to give me some pretty good reasons why I shouldn’t be going. Disappointed, but undefeated, I went to them again two days later, with the same proposal but a different approach. Lo and behold, I was on my way to the best trip of my life! For all you women out there dying to fly out of your nests but have a family that’s a little too scared to let you go, here is a guide on how to convince your parents to let you take that solo trip you’ve been dying to take.
Never expect your parents to say yes to a vague and mumbled ‘solo trip’ that they can gauge nothing from. Make the internet your best friend and go through a minimum of 15 different websites to gather as much information as possible about the place you are visiting. This will help your parents realise that you are responsible enough to do this alone.
Important tip: Make sure your research is up to date and recent as it can be risky relying on outdated information of a country, from the internet.
This worked a great deal with my parents. I made sure I fed them little tidbits of information about my destination over two weeks before I popped the question, so that they get a little accustomed to me talking about it. This gives them time to acclimatise to the idea of you going away, which is much better than dropping the bomb on them out of the blue at dinner time!
Grab every person you can think of who has taken a similar trip and has come back home, unscathed. Female travellers who’ve taken their first solo trips, friends or family members who can vouch for the destination you have picked, even testimonials from tourism websites and travel blogs/forums. The more examples you cite, the stronger your case to convince the parents.
The primary concern for any parent regarding their child going off alone is safety. It can be a harsh world for a woman out there, and they have every right to freak out. Promise them that you will always find ways to inform them where you are, how you are doing, and when you can contact them next. Trust is earned over time, and eventually you’ll find them taking it much easier if they can rely on you to keep them in the loop about your time away from them.
Pro tip: In areas of low to zero network areas, I promised to send my parents two missed calls on their phones: one in the morning as I wake up, and one before going to bed, signalling to them that I am safe and unharmed in a foreign city. It’s really as simple as that!
Planning your own trip is no piece of cake. It involves days of careful thinking and some of the questions you will be asked by your parents are: Where are you going? For how long? How many cities? What is the budget? What is the allocation of funds like? What are the safety measures you are taking? Why do you want to take the trip? How is it going to contribute to your life? Why now? Why alone? Be ready to answer them all!
Instead of straight up asking permission to backpack across Europe, it’s advisable to first ask them to allow you to travel alone to places nearby, maybe not more than 2 hours away from home. Begin with places within the city. Gradually move on to neighbouring cities, districts, states, countries, and eventually continents!
Our parents are absolute darlings and all they ever want from their kids is to feel like they still belong in our world, even though we may have drifted apart with our own social lives. One trick that I’ve realised works like a charm, is to ask my parents their opinions about trip essentials. Ask your dad what he thinks is the most reliable airline, ask your mum to pack you your favourite munchies for the road, go shopping with them to buy your travel necessities and take their choices into account. Butter them up, and watch them melt in a snap!
Godspeed girls, and good luck for your first trip!