Travel is one of the ways to create memories with people we loved. It is also a best family investment for bonding and sustains the family relationship for years to come. As we grow older, we started slowly drifting apart from one another due to hectic lifestyle. Thus, it is great to bring everyone together to stay together for a family journey.
However, it is quite challenging to travel with aging parents. To be honest, it can be stressful especially as they get older. Don’t get me wrong! I think the travel perspective is different from travelling solo, friends and lovers.
Here is what I learnt travelling with my parents recently. I thought of sharing here and hope this helps for those who are planning to travel with their parents. After all, it’s a different generation and different stuff.
I think accommodation plays an important role. You can’t expect your parents to stay in hostels when they travel with you. They are no longer young and a good sleep is important for our aging parents. For instance, my parents wouldn’t mind paying more to stay in a better hotel that provides facilities such as gym, pool and spa. My dad does go for gym and swimming everyday. So, he will make sure we booked the hotel with such facilities. You wouldn’t want your parents to stay uncomfortable don’t you? A bad sleep will affect the person’s mood and affect the people around them too.
2. Be Patient & Adapt
Our parents don’t travel the way we do. We cannot do last minute checking in for flight or even run to the boarding gate in the airport just because it is closing in 15 minutes time. It will be like totally stressing out our parents. We need to prepare everything earlier and making sure that it is all planned in order. You can’t tell your parents to run together with you, can you? The process flow must be in order and in timely manner. Adapt and pace yourself to suit your parents’ travel pattern.
3. Take your time and go slow travel
Whenever we travel with our friends, we tend to plan a lot of activities within a day. We will try to accomplish as many attraction places we can. But if you are travelling with parents, avoid those packed itineraries that are exhausting. Plan it in such a way to relax and not rush trying to tick the bucket list. We should pace it accordingly to their age and fitness. Perhaps one or two attraction places in a day will do.
4. Respect & Take into Consideration on your Parents’ Preferences
What my sisters and I usually do is that we will talk to our parents and take their opinions such as places to see & eat, activities to do and many more. Be more sensitive and plan the activities that suit your parents instead of yourself. They are your priorities.
5. Ensure the Medical Needs are taken
It is advisable to bring travel health kit along whenever you travel. This is to ensure any emergency pops up.
6. Personal Space “Me time”
As much as you love family vacation, I still think personal space is very important too. After a long day of outing with parents, a good rest to continue the next day is very important. My friend and I did share about this before. We stayed in the same room with our parents during our travel trip with them. It turned out feeling stressful and unpleasant one. So, it is better to splurge a bit and book separate rooms. After all, own personal space is much needed after a whole day planning the itineraries and taking care of all things.
7. Plan Your Meals
Unlike us, we can eat anytime of the day but not our parents. We need to make sure their meals for the day is well-planned. As they aged, the main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are equally important. So make sure you never overlook it while planning on the sight seeing and travel places.
We need to communicate with them. Be it word or action to make them feel that there is comfortable travelling with us. Do not make them feel that they are causing inconvenience to you or a burden. Try to reinforce to them that travelling with them can be fun too!
Travel experience can be rewarding and each travel companion creates memories that are precious. Enjoy the time with them as the time that you are spending with them may never come again. It is all about brining on the smile on your parents’ faces. Have you ever taken your parents on a trip? How was your experience? Do share your stories with me!