Get Your Parents to Support Your Travel Dreams

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hi Lois!

I'm Charisse*, a Filipina from Bacolod who adores everything about your blog. Ever since I found out about it two years ago, it feels like my whole body has been engraved with maps, plane tickets, and the desire to travel all around Southeast Asia

To make it happen, I've been saving nearly everything I've earned from my freelance job as a host/emcee. I'm still seventeen though, and no matter how much or how excitedly I talk about Cambodia or Laos to my parents, they're still unsure about the whole "shoestring budget/ backpacking thing". How can I let my parents see that the world's beauty and wonder is worth the uncertainty, worth the constant worry over me? I want to take the road less traveled by and honestly, I don't ache to know any other way.

I wish you much adventure and laughter wherever you are and whatever timezone you're in. Sorry for such a long and sentimental message!


Hi Charisse*, 

Wow you're so young and already itching to travel! I'm so happy to read your note but I can imagine your parents are very concerned. Especially that you are still in your teens. I was a late bloomer. I was already 26 when I first decided to move to the US which is the first time I did "long term" travel. It was difficult for my parents to accept when I told them I had made up my mind to quit my job to travel. But I've managed to get their blessing in the end. Here's what you can do:

Trial Trips

Maybe you can do some short backpacking trips around the Philippines first to gain your parents' trust. You can go to some nearby island or go camping in the mountains. Start with a weekend trip, and once you gain their trust, go away for longer periods. Always ask for their permission and let them know exactly where you are going and how they can reach you. 

Demonstrate Value

Tell them about the life skills you will learn from traveling. To start with: reading maps, budgeting, negotiating, learning languages and so many more. Traveling has also helped me to be street smart and no class can ever teach you that. As a traveler, I'm learning so much more about Culture, Geography, Politics and Foreign Languages than in any classroom I've ever been. Why? Because I now find them essential to my survival in the world. Make them realize that you will a better person after this trip. 

Solo or Group Travel

Are you planning to travel solo? Perhaps you can go on trips with friends first. It may also help if you're traveling with someone they know and trust. Invite that person to your house so your parents can get to know them. Your parents need reassurance that you will be safe and in good company.

Constant Communication

Always try to communicate with them even when it's tough. They will feel better that you are honest and transparent with your intentions and plans. Always value their trust and never take their concern for granted.

Before Leaving

Prior to my Southeast Asian trip, I left a detailed itinerary with my family which included dates and all the places we planned to visit. I also left a copy of my passport. I also purchased travel insurance and left a copy of the policy with my family. 

During the Trip

While on the road, I did my best to contact a family member regularly. I also tried to purchase a sim card in most countries so they have a number to reach me at. When I had to go to some countries with unreliable internet service, I would send a note to a family member and set expectations that I am okay and that they may not be able to reach me and for how long.

I'm sure you will be able to convince your parents that traveling is something that will enrich you as a person. But be patient with them as well. It's difficult to imagine your child in all sorts of dangers. Believe me, I'm a parent now too.

Most of all, keep on dreaming and one day, it will all happen!


Here's a reply I got from her:

Thank you so much for all of this! I think starting with the Philippines is a really good idea. I'm excited about it too because there's so much to see and experience here. My parents sent me to the San Francisco for my freshman year in highschool and being away from home opened up so much in me. I have a bestfriend who I plan to travel with and she's already like family to my mom and dad. 

Thank you for bring up the insurance part though! That's something I haven't thought too much about. Also, it's very helpful to know that I should leave as much information and details to my parents as you did. I've always had the idea that I could just pack up and go, but it's only now that I understand how much anxiety that would cause my family. It's true that I get impatient and extremely restless sometimes, but I guess that's because I forget how much time and opportunity I still have. It's easy to get carried away and overlook how actually wonderful and supportive my parents are whenever I hear them heavily question my plans. 

Since it's summer though, I've talked to them about a beach trip I want to organize with my class and my desire to spend a single week around Manila with my younger brother. Without any hesitation, they gave me the green signal! Thank you so, so much Lois. Of all things that I got from your message, it's to be patient and to never, never get discouraged! I hope your little girl will pursue whatever her passion is one day too. From listening to all your colorful and magical stories, I hope she will come to tell many of her own. I wish her, and you, nothing but the absolute best!


*name changed to protect privacy

How did you get your parents to support your travel dreams? Share your story in the comments!
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2 sole trails

  1. These are great suggestions. I have always struggled with my parents opinion about traveling. Especially about the money issue since I am not a big fan of money and it just keeps making troubles all over the world I don't really think about it in a really, smart way. I work hard for it, and as a University student working and Uni is something that just doesn't go well together, if you work more than study... ;) And when I have the money I spend it because I always had the luck that I wasn't saving up for anything, no goals, nothing and then I decided to travel. It gives you a purpose, you start saving up, stop wasting money on useless stuff... I guess traveling has changed me a lot, sadly my parents do not see it yet. I hope they will eventually and I hope they will support the idea sooner or later.

  2. I could totally relate to this! Travel definitely made me a bit wiser about money. Not richer haha Another thing I struggled with in the past was the feeling that my parents were not proud of me. But I guess everyone goes through that :) Thanks for sharing and I'm sure your parents will understand somehow.


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