It is not an easy job to be a kid. It is a way more difficult job to travel with parents. We all love our parents and we cherish the moments together, but traveling might be a bit tough. Generation gap and different life attitudes might become even more unbearable. So what can we do to make our vacations the most remarkable moment of our life and wake up those teenagers inside of our parents?
I have recently returned from Porto, Portugal, where my both parents and I decided to go for a weekend. And trust me, the way I explore the countries differs quite a bit from the way my mid-age parents got used to. So if you are one of those hitchhikers, couchsurfers, travelers having this small challenge, consider these pieces of advice:)
1. Understand their motivation.
Talk to them before the journey so to get to know their wishes. What would they want to do? Wine tasting (My family case), kayaking, surfing (not my family case), sightseeing, or just chilling in restaurants.
It will help you to adapt to their needs and to propose some kind of alternatives.
2. Bring your “culture” a bit closer to them.
Tell them about your brightest CS stories, and suggest to meet some locals when exploring the city.
3. Don’t be afraid to split.
From my own experience, I know that I get bored so fast when staying in a hotel. So we decided that I will stay with couchsurfers in Porto while my dad and mom could enjoy their privacy and intimacy in the hotel just 20-min walk from me. It turned out I stayed with three awesome French surfers who lived in a huge apartment just in the downtown.
Another day, I traveled with my dad to Dresden and we used Couchsurfing to integrate with the locals.
4. Introduce your parents to some locals.
You will definitely want to meet some people or to spend time with your host while also dedicate free hours to your parents. So combine it.
My hosts went surfing the high ocean waves, so parents joined us to see the Portuguese coast. While the guys were busy training, we got some local food and made a picnic.
If you want to go out at night, a good idea may be to start the evening in a restaurant with your parents, have a nice walk, tell the stories about the city that some of your local friends shared with you and when your parents decide to go and have rest, just go and celebrate the night.
5. Save money – Cook together!
If your parents stay in hostel or Airbnb apartment with facilities to cook you may want to spend some time together while cooking. Go grocery shopping and make a simple local dish. Something cool for you and parents are happy to spend the evening with their kid.
You may go a step further and invite a local or your host to cook together with you while sharing some traditional drinks.
We did it in Porto. When my parents came to a house of my hosts, they brought a bottle of Porto wine and we shared it all together. It turned out to be a pleasant and funny time. But don’t forget to translate everything for a host and your parents.
6. What about Free Walking Tours together?
Your parents like excursions and having everything planned? Free Walking Tours or CS events that most of the cities offer may be an option for both sides. Such tours gather travelers, solo adventurers, and just funny people. Plus they are always planned and may offer even some alternative tours such as “Porto Lifestyle Walking Tour” or “Paris Latin Quarter Walking Tour”.
Get a bit creative!
7. Sports for dessert?
You are lucky if both of your parents are eager to try new sports. Again, ask locals for non-touristic places to go play volleyball or beach football, or maybe ride a horse along the coast. Get a bit further and find some cool and safe kayaking paths or just SUP.
What if parents don’t like such ideas?
You can always ask them to watch you doing that. You may easily organize a nice lunch-picnic for your parents on the beach while you learn how to kite-surf. You may treat your family with good mushroom soup in a local old restaurant while you conquer the mountains snowboarding.
8. Tired of walking?
You enjoy walking and could walk till you barely can move the legs? Come on, don’t punish your parents with such activity. Thank God, nowadays there are numerous alternatives to metros and taxis.
Rent bikes or electro motorbikes – eco-friendly option to move around.
Find a bus with a cool route. Ask locals or just take time to search on the public transportation map which buses can ride you around with an amazing city view.
In Porto, we took a bus #500 that gave us a ride along the coast and it was better than even walking. Funny, some visitors pay at least 25 euros for such touristic buses, we, however, spent only 3 euros and got 20 min ride.
Enjoy a day with your parents, and remember to spend as much time as possible with them till it is not too late…
And one more thing, your parents also were young and wild. Your mission is to wake up this feeling of youth in them again. Have fun!