Travel Tips

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!

7 Ways to Make Your Travel Plans for the Year

Picture this. It’s the start of a new year and you’ve made travel goals for yourself but have no idea where to start. Have no fear! We’re here to help. Follow these tips to help you plan your travel for 2019:

  1. Start planning early.

    This goes without saying but it needs to be said! It never hurts to start thinking of the places you want to visit this year. I always start my year thinking about where I’d like to go because I think it’ll keep my travel wheels turning. Even if I don’t make it there, it’s still on my list of future vacation destinations.

  2. Look at your calendar and plan your paid-time-off.

    I’m a big believer in maximizing long weekends and holidays in order to make the most of your vacation. You can still work full-time and find the time to travel the world. There are 10 holidays recognized by the Federal Government (sometimes 11 if it’s an inauguration year) between January 1st and December 31st. That means there are 10 (sometimes 11) days that you potentially have off and can use to go on vacation. Use them wisely!

  3. Identify festivals and events you want to go.

    Have you always wanted to go to Essence Festival but it always seems to sneak up on you? Not this year! Pull out your calendar and google each event or festival you’re interested in attending. Keep them on your radar by setting up travel alerts on helpful travel sites like Kayak or Skyscanner. The alerts will not only remind you of places you want to go and when, but they’ll help you keep an eye on the price changes.

  4. Open a travel savings account.

    This was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I opened a checking and savings account with Charles Schwab because they don’t charge any withdrawal fees abroad. I’ve allotted money to automatically be withdrawn from my paycheck to go into this savings account. When the time comes for me to travel, not only have I already saved for my trip’s expenses, but I’m also able to access this money abroad without paying a fee. Genius!

  5. Get a travel rewards credit card.

    If you’re not using a travel credit card (and paying it off monthly), you’re not living right. My mother and I traveled to Paris completely free (in Economy Comfort, by the way) because of my American Express points. If you’re wondering how I did it, become a believer and read more about that here.

  6. Follow travel hacking sites on social media.

    You must, must, must do this and have your friends do it too! This is the best way to find places to travel cheaply and will allow you to see more of the world.

  7. Stop making excuses.

    There’s no time like the present. Travel is a privilege but it’s one you can take advantage of with proper research and planning. Use these tips and get to it!