Travelling with Family: My Experience with My Parents

Contributed by Ivy Is Lost In

When you browse through different DIY travel groups, it’s always “barkada goals”, “barkada outing” and the likes. It’s seldom that you see posts or itineraries about family travels or even travelling with your parents (senior citizens even). It’s a totally different experience for sure. You can’t exactly get wasted with your parents on a beach or go bar hopping in some city, walk all day and night or do some crazy activities. Boring? Not exactly. Again, (parents, in particular) is a whole different experience.

My love for travelling started with my parents. Before, it was always with tour groups or with other relatives abroad who would show me around. Doing it yourself wasn’t the trend back then. A couple of years ago, I started joining some barkada DIY trips and then started reading about them online. Well, they sure are cheaper. And, I had the luxury of time to explore new places rather than being shepherd into tour buses.

Also read: Travelling with Siblings: Go on a Journey With Your First Barkada

It was in 2014 when I decided to buy tickets for my family to go to Korea and “DIY” the whole trip ourselves. It took us many weeks to plan it. I kept reading blogs and other websites, and even memorised the subway maps for convenience. It had to be perfect since my parents only had me as their tour guide. Our one week vacation was a success!

Changing of the Guards at Geongbokgung Palace taken in October 2014

The next trip took place in 2015 and this time it was Japan during cherry blossom season! Was I excited? Definitely! Were my parents excited? Of course, they were! But to DIY again was a huge challenge on my part. We visited different cities and took subways and trains most of the time. It took me more weeks this time to make sure that this trip would go without any hiccups. I’m very happy that it was as a success as well. We got to visit all the places I wanted to see.

With the parents in Osaka, taken at the end of March 2015.

International DIY trips are truly challenging, more so when you’re with your parents. Being in a foreign land makes it daunting and you’re not used to the surroundings. All the more if you get lost, now that’s a nightmare. I often have to make sure that it doesn’t happen. I have access to maps or the latest apps that help us in our travel. Since both my parents are already senior citizens, they don’t have time to research on Google, check itineraries, read maps or download apps. It’s all on me, their little tour guide.

I don’t know if going on travels made us much closer, but I guess it did. Travelling will always make us learn new things around us, whether they may be new technologies, culture or food. Indeed, when one travels, one learns more about the world. That’s what my parents taught me when I was younger. They didn’t say it out loud but they showed it to me by bringing me to new places when I was just a child even up to when I was a teenager.

My parents were patient with me and now it’s my time to be patient with them. More walks meant more rest periods. If it was difficult for them to go to a certain place, then I would go alone and then come back for them. Usually, they would wait for me in places like coffee shops. They would never mind and I would just show them the pictures I took.

Sometimes, I would also push them to go to some places that may be a little difficult just because they really needed to see them. It’s up to you to decide whether your parents can endure the activity. Or, maybe just persuade them, walk slowly and take more rests until you reach the destination. Yes, sometimes it does take a little push, some persuasion, nagging and reasoning. I mean, once you’re already there, you all might as well explore the place together. Think of the effort of taking the plane, riding the bus. What’s a little walk compared to the effort of getting there?

Monument Valley, USA taken in April 2019. It was nice according to my parents. We have yet to travel here as a family!

It’s enough for me that my parents enjoyed the places I’ve taken them on our DIY trips. No thanks are necessary. I’m just glad the trips happened. Sure, there may be some disagreements but those can’t be totally avoided. Some places appealed to them, some didn’t. But, deep inside, I knew they liked the overall trips that I arranged. It helps if you have a lot of energy and then it rubs on to them to make them feel young again for the moment and have the effort to explore new places.

Also read: 15 Nature-Themed Family Getaways in the Philippines

It’s not always barkada goals to have in mind but family goals as well. Do it today if you can. It doesn’t have to be always international trips. You can even start with a local beach trip or the like. After all, your parents have you to take them to places they’ve never even dreamed of going to. Trust me, they will have the best time of their lives.

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