You’ll already have wrangled with yourself before finalizing your decision, but that will not stop the questions your parents will ask when you tell them you’re taking a round the world trip. Whatever age you might be, your parents will grill you on this (and actually, unless they’re of retirement age, children might well ask the same questions following a similar announcement by their parents). Their concerns will be numerous and will run the gamut of length of time, safety and well being, communication and finance. A RTW trip is one of the most amazing experiences in life. Don’t let the questions your parents will ask when you tell them you’re taking a round the world trip put you off. Just be ready to answer them and you’ll be reaffirming your decision, dispelling any final doubts.
1. Why Are You Going?
Never mind this being one of the questions your parents will ask when you tell them you’re taking a round the world trip, it is one which you have asked yourself and should know the answer to. A round the world trip is a huge commitment and your parents will have a number of concerns. If you’re doing it in a gap year, they will be concerned you should get a job and start living, and not be gallivanting around the globe. If they have the idea that travelling is just a way in which to delay a full-time job then there are some smart answers to this. Explain to them the reasons why you want to travel, and concentrate on the positive effects travel will have on your life and on your résumé/CV. Tell them all the positive rewards which come from exploring the world such as meeting new people, exploring different cultures, learning languages, seeing sights, climbing mountains, gaining experience and I’m sure you can think up some more to add. If you are leaving a job, (unless you are being granted a sabbatical) you’ll need to be ready to explain what plans you have to get back into the workplace on your return.
2. Will You Be Safe?
Parents often hear scare stories about backpackers getting in to trouble or getting hurt, even being thrown into jail. They will imagine that you will wake up to a natural disaster, be mugged by lunch time, and made a drug mule by dinner. What you need to do in order to curb their fears is to research the areas and tell them where you want to go and what you will do there. They should trust that you will choose the safe path on your travels.
3. What Happens if You Fall Ill?
However old you get, your parents will always see you as someone who needs looking after. Now, they may have realized that you don’t need ‘Mr Blankie’ when you get sick, but they still might not know that you have common sense and are an adult. If you suddenly do fall ill while you are in the rainforest or spike a fever out in the desert, then there is no need to panic. You will have had all of your vaccinations before you go to ensure you don’t get the nasty stuff, and for everything else, you can carry a survival kit with you at all times. Ask your parents to help you pack up your health box before you go.
4. Will You Not Be Lonely?
If you are going it alone then this will definitely be one of the questions your parents will ask when you tell them you’re taking a round the world trip. It is a fair enough question too. However, truth of it is you will probably have hardly any alone time. If you are staying in a hostel then you are more than likely to find people who are on their travels alone too. Tell your parents that traveling alone gives you much more freedom than if you were in a big group, but chances are you will always have people around.
5. What about the Gap in Your Résumé?
It is only natural for your parents to be concerned about your prospects whether you’re straight out of school/college, or are leaving your current position. You can explain to them that by gaining experience working and travelling around different countries will actually make your résumé stand out from the rest. You will be able to gain skills on your travels too, like learning another language and soft skills such as planning, organization, communication and problem solving.
6. How Will You Wash Your Clothes, and Yourself?
Mothers, huh? Tell them not to panic. Most hostels have washing machines and even tumble driers! When it comes to washing yourself you will be able to tell your parents that running water is available in most campsites and hostels. Sometimes you might have to have a wet wipe wash but this will only be sometimes. Of course you’ll be packing toiletries but, a little dirt and not washing your hair for 3-4 days never hurt anyone!
7. What Will You Eat?
Of course they are going to ask this question. The thought of you going hungry probably is one of their main concerns. They probably think that when you are away from a full fridge you will starve to death, or give yourself food poisoning. You need to educate your parents about safe eating while you are away and prove you know your stuff. Tell your parents that there are usually supermarkets near the hostels and cooking facilities on offer. There will also be lots of street food available which is great tasting and a great price for travelers.
These are among the most common questions your parents will ask when you tell them you’re taking a round the world trip. You can head most of them off by assuring them you will be planning everything carefully and that you know about checking the government travel advices, medical insurance and that you will be researching exactly where you will be visiting. One of the biggest assurances you can give them is to let them know you are able to stay in touch. (Not too often – a RTW is an escape from life back home.) As I said earlier, these questions should reaffirm your decision and let you know you are doing the right thing. A huge adventure awaits!
Have you ever been traveling long term? How far around the world did you get?