Europe

7 Tips for Saving Your Sanity While Traveling with Parents

As an adult, my mom and I have traveled together before, taking to the Bahamas and Las Vegas. We’ve sort of made it a tradition over the last couple of years. However, our trip of a lifetime to Paris and Nice, France (for free, by the way. Read more about that here) would be the first time we traveled for so long and far together. It turned out to be nothing short of amazing. It was her first time traveling to Europe, so I wanted her to enjoy the trip and see and do as much as possible. Who knows if she’d ever return!

I planned this trip for MONTHS, taking into consideration where we’d stay, eat, what we’d do and how to fit it all in. I was a little nervous about things going as planned but when the trip was over, she told me I did an excellent job planning (I happen to agree with her) which made all the time and effort I spent planning worth it.

But no one talks about how traveling with parents can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming. They are in a different generation, do things differently and most times have a different idea of fun. But that doesn’t mean that traveling with them can’t be managed. Here are some tips I’ve learned from traveling with my mom over the years:

  1. Book transportation ahead of time.

    When I travel alone or with friends, I usually just wing it. Uber, train, cab, whatever. We have a vague idea about how we’re getting from the airport, but nothing really concrete. With my mom, I knew better. I didn’t want to worry about being overcharged, getting lost or wasting precious time. I booked transportation to and from each airport and she actually thanked me for us not having to figure that part out. It made traveling easy and one less thing for us to worry about.

  2. Don’t skimp on accommodations.

    While I’m usually particular about where I stay, I wanted to ensure my mother had no bad things to say about the hotel. I wanted every part of her travel experience to be epic, and that included our accommodations. Everything worked out for the best and she loved our hotels.

  3. Plan your itinerary but be flexible.

    On our way to Paris, my mother had an aisle seat and did not get much sleep. She was so tired once we arrived at our hotel, but we had a Blacks in Paris tour a few hours after landing. She asked if we could reschedule the tour and while we couldn’t due to the tour guide’s schedule, I didn’t mind cancelling it because I knew that her getting sleep and feeling semi-rested at the start of our trip could set us up for success for the remainder. Turns out, I was right and my mother was a champ for the rest of the day and the trip.

  4. Give them photography lessons before you leave.

    If you care in the least about photos of yourself memorializing your epic trip, you will give your give your parent(s) phone photography lessons before you leave. Otherwise, you’ll spend precious moments having meltdowns in the middle of Parisian streets because your mother doesn’t get your angles properly. Trust me.

  5. Let them win sometimes.

    I ate at Hard Rock Café two nights in a row. Yes, you read that correctly. We had an awful time trying to find good food in Paris, so once we got to Nice and ate a decent meal at Hard Rock, there was no turning back for her. I couldn’t believe she wanted to eat there again, but I had to give her something to make her feel like she had some kind of input during the trip. So I sucked it up and ate at Hard Rock again. And I didn’t die. Win/win!

  6. Take some alone time.

    Seriously. Similar to traveling with friends, traveling with your parents can be difficult and very taxing. Take a moment for yourself and save your sanity.

  7. Cut them some slack.

    They may not move as fast as you, or have the same taste in activities as you, but they gave birth to and raised you. Cut them some slack!

While it’s a different experience than traveling with friends or significant others, these are moments to cherish and remember. I hope that these tips help with traveling with your parents and take some of the edge off!

Where Am I Headed in 2018?

On my 2016 travel wish list, there was Napa Valley, Colombia, London and Thailand. While I went to other places too, I ended up in San Francisco (kind of close to Napa Valley) and Colombia. My 2017 travel wish list consisted of Ghana, Miami, Canada, and Cuba. In 2017, I went to Ghana, Miami, Vancouver, and more. There's no denying that my theory works! Put it out in the universe and it will come to you. This year is no different. I've thought long and hard about what travel goals I want to accomplish in 2018 so here we go!

Confirmed Travel

I don't have any. LOL. I have no flights booked. None. Nada. Not a single one. Shocking, I know. I have a few personal things going on right now and my schedule is a bit uncertain. So I've intentionally not made official travel plans. But don't get it twisted. Travel will definitely occur. Lots and lots of travel!

Wish List
(in no particular order)

Los Angeles

I visited LA in 2016 after road tripping from San Francisco and loved it so much. Beaches, warm weather, and laid back vibes...all things that make me a happy Ashlee. I'm putting this on my wish list because I want (read: need) to go back sooner rather than later.

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Budapest and/or Croatia

Both of these places have been in my thoughts for years. YEARS. I hear they are beautiful countries, with amazing architecture, history and nightlife, all things I love to explore when visiting a new destination.

Budapest  Photo Credit: Lonely Planet

Budapest
Photo Credit: Lonely Planet

Thailand

It's high time I get to Asia. Seriously. I'm not sure what's taken me so long, but I definitely need to get to Asia soon and what better place than fan favorite, Thailand? I put it on my wish list for 2015 travel, but everyone and their mother booked trips over the last few years which was a bit of a deterrant for me. Still, everyone who goes to Thailand seems to love it so I'm sure I'll be no different. 

Photo Credit: Kuoni Travel

Photo Credit: Kuoni Travel

Spain

Spain seems to be one of those countries that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime. Art, history, city life, and amazing food are amongst the great things I've heard about Spain. I'd also like to visit a few of its islands, including Ibiza, San Sebastián, and Valencia. 

Photo Credit: Condé Nast Traveler

Photo Credit: Condé Nast Traveler

Sri Lanka

This one may be a little far fetched but I am putting it out there in hopes I can actually make it happen! I've heard this island country is beautiful, with tons of wildlife and amazing beaches. And because it's a gateway to Southeast Asia, there are a few other countries I can visit before or after.

Photo Credit: RIU

Photo Credit: RIU

South Africa

Because I can always go back. Again, again and again!

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What places are on your 2018 list? Start thinking and planning!