How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Travel the World

How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Travel the World

“Mom… I’m going to quit my job and travel the world.”

The very moment that these words escaped my lips back in 2013, I assure you that my mom had various ghastly visions in her mind that are not limited to scenarios of me ending up as a broke lass, or as a cold lifeless body in some foreign place.

That might seem a bit drastic but it’s true — it’s a known fact that parents are the true-blue experts in worrying and… we can’t really blame them for that.

I say this because though I’m not a parent, I still remember the last time that I was in charge of looking after my nephew while we were in the mall and that brief moment when he was out of my sight made me experience a feeling that I would never, ever, want to experience again. It’s surely a nerve-wracking ordeal to be responsible for someone else’s life and safety… so how much more when you have your own child, right? That’s why as early as now, you must understand the ‘natural instinct’ of our parents to protect and worry about us.Mom Sister

Now, I come from a family that’s very traditional so they are fiercely set on the normal flow of life: study, graduate, work in a good company, marry, have kids, and then retire. In fact, the whole of my country (the Philippines) has a very traditional culture so it was a huge shock when my parents found out that they had a non-conventional child who did not only want to quit a secure corporate job but also wanted to travel the world like a nomad. (They thought I was crazy. Naturally.)

So if you were on the same boat as I was before, I can imagine how anxious you might be right now as you try to gauge a way on how to convince your parents to let you travel the world. (A lot of you have actually been messaging me about this topic).

It might be easy to do this if your parents were solo travelers themselves in the past, or are a bit more radical towards this idea. Still and the same, the fact remains that they will always have some concerns that you need to answer to.

Fortunately, parental concerns are somewhat universal after all, and with the right preparation AND with the help of this post, you should be able to quell their worries and eventually make them more accepting of your decision. Besides… if I had managed to make my ‘strict’ parents let me go, then for sure, YOU could too!
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How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Travel

What To Do:

I bet that at one point in your life you did a business presentation for work, and/or a thesis defense for school. Well guess what… that knowledge and experience can be put into good use on how to convince your parents to let you travel the world!

Why? Because there’s a need for you to send them the message that you are serious about this, that you are well-prepared, that this is what you want, and that you have planned out everything from start to finish. You certainly wouldn’t want them to think that you’re doing this on a whim (well, I hope to goodness you’re not!). So yes ladies and gents, prepare a PowerPoint presentation if you have to, print all the information that you have researched, etc. etc. etc.

It might seem weird to do such a formal prep with your parents but without a doubt, through this way they will be surprised at how earnest you are, which will send them into thinking that you really mean what you’re about to discuss with them. At the same time, this preparation is beneficial for you too, so that you can meticulously cover the A to Zs of your plans together with the two people that care for you the most.

Tips for the Discussion:

How to Convince Your Parents

» FIND THE PERFECT TIMINGYou know your parents’ habits and mannerims best so use that to your advantage. For example, if you know that your dad is too busy for anything during the weekdays, and that your mom is never in a good mood during the mornings, then of course you should avoid those time frames. Pick a day and period that’s best for your folks, and also try to inform them beforehand that you are planning to talk about an important matter to the both them.

But of course, don’t talk about this topic a week before you leave for your trip! If possible, inform them months or even a year in advance. When you have everything sorted out, that’s the time that you can launch your grand overall ‘presentation’.

» BUILD TRUST AND MOMENTUM. Have you been to trips lately where you got trashed or have put yourself in harm’s way? If your answer is a big fat ‘yes‘ to this question, it might be a good idea to let some time pass until you regain enough trust from your parents again. Also, if you have never traveled by yourself before, I advise that you try to arrange solo trips to nearby places first in order to slowly ease your parents into the idea that you can travel alone (AND to also ease yourself into this experience as well).

» BE THOROUGHLY PREPAREDThis goes without saying, but I just want to stress this well enough. This is not only for your parents, but for YOU too. Rest assured, I will be discussing below the various factors that you need to confer with your folks and naturally, you need to do all the research and ground work in advance so that you could find out the things that you need to do and know as early as now. (For instance, you need to think about how you will save money for your trip, etc.)

» STAY CALM. As their ‘children’, we have the tendency to whine when our parents’ object to something — yep, no matter how ‘grown up’ we are, this phenomenon can’t be helped at times. (Admit it — yes, no?) Hence, if during your dialogue, your parents suddenly or continuously interrupt you about something, please refrain from getting too emotional. If they swiftly start saying ‘no’, calmly ask for the chance to finish what you’re saying or to ask what their concern is. Again, take note: treat this as if it’s a business presentation or a thesis defense! You wouldn’t whine nor shout to your boss or professor now, would you?

Therefore, it’s clearly important to use logic here in order to present yourself as reasonable and mature because these are exactly some of the many characteristics that your parents would want to see from you.

» SET THE TONE. All things considered, I now introduce you to a vital aspect of this article: don’t ask for their permission. We are trying to make a point here that you are mature and capable enough to do this trip — that it’s what you truly desire and what you have duly prepared for; so surely, the act of ‘asking for permission’ is not a part of this equation since that will paint you in a whole different light. Remember: you’re not a child anymore.

So try and make it sound like you ARE going at all costs, and that you are doing this conversation with them simply because you want them to know everything about what you’re planning to do and why you’re doing it… and because you respect them and seek their ‘blessing’.

With this, you will immediately set the situation into a matter of seriousness — but indeed, take this approach with a grain of salt as dependent on your parents’ characteristics; though I still recommend that you take this approach.

What To Discuss:

Convince Your Parents

How long and ‘why’

To travel the world for a year (like a gap year or a studying abroad stint) as you desire to experience various cultures and different places could be a reason that’s met with more warmth by your parents… as compared to traveling the world indefinitely as you firmly decide to quit your job and work on the road.

Depending what your reason might be and how long you plan to do this trip of a lifetime, you need to tell your parents ALL about it. May it be because it’s your dream or your need to explore the globe (for a while or for a long period), just be open to them about it so that they can fully understand why you’re suddenly jumping into this decision.
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Afford to Travel

How you will afford to travel

It’s always best to show to your parents that you are doing this trip with your own money and resources, since it is a way to show them that you can absolutely take care of yourself (and also a way to prove to yourself that you CAN).

Now, if you plan to save up a big fund in advance for your trip without the need to work while on the road, it’s better to earn or have that money first so that by the time that you do this discussion with your mom and dad, they can see that you already have your personal finances sorted out.

» READ: Money Saving Tips to Start & Live a Life of Travel /// How to Travel on a Budget

Otherwise, if you plan to work remotely as you go around the globe, tell them about the means of how you will achieve it. Or if you have already grabbed a remote job that can support your traveling lifestyle (like being a digital nomad for example) explain that to them as well.

(If you ever need ideas on the various jobs that you can earn from as you travel the world, come read my article below.)

» READ: 5 Job Types That Allow You to Earn as You Travel the World


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Logistics

The logistics: routes, accommodations, activities, etc.

Be as detailed as possible about the flow of your travel. Disclose the mode of transportation that you’ll be doing, the hotels/hostels that you’ll be staying in, the adventures that you’ll be taking — everything! And based on your parents’ personality, focus on the things that you think they would be most concerned about.

Example: If they’re the kind of folks that are concerned about hygiene when it comes to staying in hostels, make sure that you book yourself into a good one and then proceed to assure them that there are hostels that have prime and clean facilities with a laundry room and a kitchen. Give them a virtual tour of the hostel if you must, with the use of photos from their website or from their guests.

Or if you’re planning on partaking in adrenaline-packed activities, don’t you dare hide it since that will jeopardize the trust that your parents have in you (I say this because if they know you as a person who likes extreme activities, they’ll find it fishy if you wouldn’t discuss any plans that are related to that; most especially when you’re going to a destination that would obviously involve some intense activities). But then again, this is a case by case basis depending on your parents’ nature. Besides, when I planned to do paragliding, I didn’t tell my mom at all; but that’s not because she wouldn’t allow it but because she will probably be on edge — in an agonizing way. So I only told her afterwards and said with a triumphant tone, “Look mom, I did it and I’m still in one piece!” But notwithstanding, as a general rule: be honest.

If you ever need help in planning your itineraries, plans, and accommodations, you can check out my posts below:

» READ: Things to Plan When Starting a Life of Travel and How to Get Cheap & Free Accommodation Around the World

NOTE: Try to involve your parents in this decision-making process so that there is an added assurance that can be instilled in them.
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Safety and Health

Emphasize your safety and health

This is probably the #1 worry of our parents — wait, who am I kidding… it IS the #1 worry! So it’s an important task for you to make them see that travel isn’t as dangerous like what the media has painted it to be, and that you are well aware of everything that needs to be taken accounted for. To do this, some of the things that you can do are as listed below…

  • Show them the various blogs of wanderers who are traveling the world in one piece. But don’t tell them horror stories, of course. Pick your examples with care. Thus, try to avoid showing them the bloggers who have gone through airplane crashes or ghastly experiences if possible because that’s just asking for trouble.
  • Talk about the things that you will be thoughtfully doing if in case you’ll be passing by a country that is deemed to be unsafe — or better yet, clear out any misconceptions that they may have about your destinations.
  • Display statistical data if you have to especially if your parents are more objective.
  • Assure them that you will take all precautions to stay safe and that you will proactively make ways to keep yourself from danger. Examples of such actions are not limited to: asking locals and travelers for advice, checking the news, etc. If you can even provide examples of how you have managed to steer clear of trouble in the past, feel free to use those to your advantage in order to show them even more that you can and will look after yourself — besides, you wouldn’t want to ruin your own trip so you will do anything in your power to remain in good shape.
  • Clarify how you will get travel insurance and vaccinations before your trip. (This is very important for you!) Show them that you will prepare a first aid kit, and afterwards, feel free to ask for their advice and suggestions to strengthen even more the idea that you are taking this matter seriously.
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Travel Solo

How you won’t actually be ‘alone’

The idea that you will be off by yourself also sets off alarm bells in your parents’ minds — this might be a personal worry of yours as well. Well, if you’re going to travel with someone or with friends, this definitely becomes an easier topic to explore; but my guess is that a majority of you are planning to do this solo.

Fortunately, it’s an easy topic to defend because there are TONS of ways to meet and be with people while traveling. To list this out, talk about how you can meet various individuals from:

  • Hostels
  • Your own circle (friends or relatives who are living abroad)
  • Couchsurfing* (explain to them this concept very well; the testimonials for every user should convince them that you will be scrutinizing everyone that you’ll be meeting)
  • Concerts, festivals, etc.
  • Online communities* (like us, the travel bloggers! We are social butterflies so feel free to contact us if we’re in the same area)
  • The country itself (e.g. locals)
  • Etc.

*You can always give them the added guarantee that you do have the common sense of never meeting a new person by yourself in a secluded place, since you will make sure to join group events or meet them in a crowded area.
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Keep in Touch

How you will keep in touch

Your parents would absolutely want to be in touch with you at all times so set a schedule as early as now. But it’s technically impossible to be connected all the time, so it’s imperative that you explain to them the reality that there will be times that you’re going to be too busy on the road, or that there won’t be any internet connection or mobile service in some of the places that you’ll be setting off to.

Still and all, let them know that you will ensure to get in touch with them for as soon as you can if those situations ever happen. Therefore if your parents are not tech-savvy at all, tell them how you can both connect through applications like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. and proceed to teach them how to set it up and how to use it.

(Of course, if you’re going on a longer or indefinite trip, let them know that you can always come back home to see them!)
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Future Plans

Your future

It’s essential to display to your parents that you have thought of your future extensively as you came up with this life-changing decision of traveling the world.

Accordingly, if you’re planning on traveling short-term, lay out a plan on what you would do when you return. Show them how traveling won’t hurt your chances of attaining a career —because the fact of the matter is, it won’t.  Studies have said so, and my HR friends have even supported the fact that a resume stands out from the rest if they can see how a certain person is well-traveled; more so if that person has made it possible to travel on their own. Besides, if you involve yourself in various stints like teaching English abroad or learning a new language (as well as other types of skills) explain to your parents that this could help you gear up for your future even more.

On the contrary, if you’re planning on making travel a long-term deal like I did, it’s important for you to secure a sustainable travel lifestyle. Always think long term — a recurring advice that I always try to emphasize in all of my posts here in this blog, and I hope you could see how this is such a vital thing to consider when deciding to travel the world for long. Therefore, you should plan beforehand to achieve a remote profession that could sustain your lifestyle for years to come. For my case, I spelled it out with my mom how I snagged an online job after I quit my corporate job and how I plan to find a way to launch my own business in order to secure my future even more — which did happen along the way as I was traveling!

(Other professions that you can try to explore as dependent on your skill set are: travel blogging, teaching English abroad, etc. For more ideas:)

» READ: 5 Job Types That Allow You to Earn as You Travel the World

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After the Discussion:

It would be great if your parents would approve right away, yes? But there’s definitely a high chance that they would need some time to think things over; or if worse comes to worst, they would say no… If they answered this way, don’t pressure them. Give them the time they need to think it over but at the same time, ask for their feedback like what other things are making them worry, etc.

Important: make them know and feel that you are NOT ignoring their opinions and concerns.

Once you acquire their sentiments, ask for their involvement — so that all of you can make the plans together to reinforce the overall consistency and safety of your future travels. On top of everything, this would surely give them more confidence, not only in you but in your plans overall.
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Overall


How to Convince Your Parents

Parents are a tough nut to crack, but they mean well.

As long as you show that you are earnest and that this is something that you really want to do and that would make you happy… I don’t think they will be heartless enough to NOT let you go. It should be apparent by now that what we are trying to achieve here is their trust and faith and if you can’t get that from them, then I think that there are more things that you need to discuss with your parents other than this topic of traveling by yourself…

Now, I don’t want you to upset your parents, that’s why I made this post to gain their approval first and foremost. But if they’re really set on a ‘no’, would that really stop you…?

I don’t think so because you are doing this for yourself and you have set your eyes on this goal (…Truth be told, there were actually several trips that my parents have never approved of, but I still bought that ticket nonetheless!)

It can’t be helped that there was a rough patch at first, but it was only brief since my parents became more accepting. They have even eventually transitioned into my #1 cheerleaders for all of my traveling plans as they have come to terms with wholly believing in me and my dreams. (It became easier when I constantly showed them that I could really take care of myself and make all of my plans a reality.)

On the other hand, if you did gain their approval, that’s great! Make sure that you keep your promises, okay! As time passes by, maybe you could also invite them to where you are so that you can demonstrate to them how independent and responsible you have truly become.

Good luck, and I wish you all the best!

How about you?

  • Do you have other tips to share on how to convince your parents to let you travel the world?
  • Are there any other concerns that you think I missed out on?

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31 comments

  1. As I was reading your post, I was trying to envision what my response would be if my daughter decided she wanted to travel the world alone. I know I'd be worried and apprehensive but I would also be proud of her strength and courage.

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  2. I am possibly lucky and unlucky to have parents who really don't care if I travel. My mum was a little worried at first but I never had to have the "talk" with her. Great because I have so much freedom, but unfortunate because I feel sometimes like my mum doesn't care about me much...

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    1. It must be a boon and a bane eh? I know of some people who would love to be in your place ;) Though, I think of course that your mom cares about you! That should definitely be a fact.

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  3. Hi Ms. Aileen, i'm your age when you decided to travel the world. I am 21 but looked like a high school student, most of the time they will demand for my ID just to make sure i'm legal. This worries me the whole time, even If I wore decent clothes and make up. HAAYYY. hahaha People think I'm very soft and incapable of doing very extreme things which is the kabaligtaran. I am still saving up for my dream travel (which is UK), can I contact you when it finally happens? Just kidding. Thanks! xoxo

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    1. Haha! That's funny because sometimes that's my problem too! :)) But the difference is that once I wear makeup, no one dares say that I look like a kid haha. Anyhow, kudos to us for making our travel dreams possible! Here's to wishing all the best for your UK plans :) And sure thing, let me know! Maybe by that same time I'll be in the UK too :P

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  4. What perfect timing. I am the mother of a 21 year old who just spent 6 months in Australia. The travel bug has bitten her hard so I keep expecting that as soon as she graduates she will be off on adventures. I am saving because I know this is coming. Wanderlust is amazing and while she is the only one in the family who has caught the bug. I love and trust her. I also think go now and explore. Too many say I wish I had or I wish I did. We raise our girls to be confident and know their own minds. It's time to trust and worry silently :)

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    1. I love your last line! I believe that that's what most of the mothers' would feel! (Apart form the ones like my mom who is very strict, haha!) Safe travels to your daughter and maybe at one point the two of you can travel together!

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  5. These are great tips. Parents want to protect their young but what parent wouldn't want their child to grab life but the tail and soak up as much of it as they can?

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    1. True! That's why I think putting sincerity towards their opinion will make them very happy, and will make them feel even more at ease about letting you go :)

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  6. I am thankful that my husband and I’s parents both travel with us. I think as a younger adult it would have been harder to convince them to allow me to travel the world. This is great information to have when talking to parents about traveling while young.

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    1. That's great to hear Tammi! I haven't had the chance yet to bring along my parents on my travels but for sure, that will happen! And I know, it's really harder to talk to them when we're still young or 'deemed' as young so it's important to show to them that everything is in order and that you are set in doing what you do.

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  7. Reading your post struck something in my core and I believe possible anyone else who reads it. I am like you, I don't want to spend the rest of my life in some corporate world, not doing the things I love. I commend you on your courage at following your dreams and then making a business out of it. The advice that your give for people to give their parents is awesome, but what I take away from your blog is that I need to start considering going for my dream and making it happen.

    Reply
    1. Hey Dee, I'm glad to hear this! Thank you for taking the time to share with me your thoughts. It's great that you know what you truly want at this point, and it overjoys me to hear that my blog is somehow inadvertently motivating you to reach for your dreams! I wishn nothing BUT the best for you, Dee!

      And again, thank you! I appreciate your kind words. :)

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  8. Hi Aileen,
    Thanks for this post. We've had lots of people ask us the same thing. So many Filipinos are worried about what their parents will think. This is a great outline in response to that. I specifically love the we're not asking for permission. At an age when your able to travel on your own it's a decision you've made and a decision you'll hopefully follow through. This should simply be the heads up.

    When Camille and I told our parents a lot of it was in passing. We told them a year or two before we went out on our long trip that we'd be doing a year on the road. I think they didn't really take us seriously but because we vocalized it a bunch when we told them we didn't resign new contracts with our work it really sank it. There was tons of opportunities for them to let us know what we we're doing was against their will but they never really did (until we got robbed in Africa but that's a completely isolated story haha).

    Like you said, they may be hesitant or not wanting to let you go but at the end of it all they become your biggest supporters, your number one fans, and still and always your parents.

    Another great comprehensive post. Thanks for this!

    Love from Manila,
    Mark and Camille

    Reply
    1. Hey Mark and Camille! Indeed, I bet a lot of people have been asking you the same! :D I've been delaying this post for quite a while now so I'm glad that I finally had the time to write my thoughts down! Anyhow, it's really great to hear that you share the same sentiments and that you agree with my points. That was how I approached my mom and though she was flabbergasted at first, it really worked out in the end! (To think that she's a very strict and traditional mom... somehow, I'm very proud of her for having been able to let go of her conventional principles!)

      And I could imagine how your parents must have felt! But that can't really be avoided right? That if anything bad happens while we're on the road, they start to get swayed. But that's basically just how life works. (Sh*t happens haha). Overall, thanks for your thoughts, you two! I really appreciate it. Indeed, our parents may be 'tough' but inside, they're all soft and gooey especially if they can see that we're enjoying ourselves. And no, thank YOU! Greetings from Belgium and safe travels, Mark and Camille!

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  9. I commented on one of your FB posts just this weekend, I think, about how I'm planning to do a freelance + travel the world lifestyle and how I don't know how to tell the 'rents. And here's the post just like you said! I'm still just halfway through it since it's almost like 11 PM in here but it's detailed as always. Thanks so much for your tips, Aileen! They always help! :)

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    1. Hey Richel! Yeah, I remember you :) A lot of you have actually been asking me about this and I think I've postponed it long enough, haha. Thank you! I really hope this helps you. Otherwise, feel free to message me and I'd be glad to help you more!

      Reply
  10. My mom would love the idea before she passed she would always say when you go off to college you will have to find me in paris she loved to travel. I think her main concern would be money for me and as long as I had that taken care of she would be good

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    1. That's great to hear that your mom is so supportive of the idea of travel, and I'm sorry to hear that she had passed. I think this would be a good time to make your dreams (and hers) possible, don't you think? Nevertheless, there are always ways to make money on the road so you'll have that covered :D

      Reply

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