Traveling with Your Parents – Why You Need To Do It!

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how to travel with your parents


Now that we’re adults, a couple of routine activities come to mind : bills, work, student loans, more bills, and…traveling with your parents? Wait…is that a thing?!?

Traveling with your parents is an activity that is sometimes overlooked, especially since we can now travel with our friends, significant others, or even by ourselves! But our parents have been lugging us around the world with them since we were born. Maybe we should return the favor??

I’ve enlisted the help of one of my favorite bloggers and closest friends, Joelle – from Riding Around the Globe. She recently went on a huge roadtrip with her mom and dad through Arizona. Literally the whole time, she had me dying with the stories of her parents getting drunk, lots of car ride games, and more dad-puns then I could handle. But most of all, it was the most endearing trip I had followed along with this entire year.

riding around the globe interview
Meet Joelle, from Riding Around the Globe. She is an amazing blogger, knowledgeable travel agent, wonderful person – and an expert at traveling with her parents

A lot of my friends have never even considered traveling with their parents. Or they are under the impression that it won’t be fun. That, or that their parents will get bored. Or – or – or –

First, you’ll never know until you try. Second, it will be a chance to develop your relationship on a whole new level. Have any of you tried traveling with your parents? If not, maybe this will convince you why it is probably the best thing you can do as an adult. Hilariously enough, I feel like Jo’s parents and mine are THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE sides of the parent spectrum. So I’m sure your parents fall somewheree between ours. If we can make it work, I am more than confident you can also treat your parents on a vacation they’ll remember forever.

1. What was your relationship with your parent(s) growing up?

traveling with parents
Before she was Riding Around the Globe, Jo was known as Riding Around in A Backpack

​Jo: Growing up with my parents was kind of unique. I have four older siblings but three of them were already out of the house by the time I was like 2. So by the time I was 10, I was basically an only child which meant I was pretty close with my parents. They were basically my only friends because we lived waaay out in the country side. In my adolescent years, I was a lot closer with my dad than my mom and now that I’m older, it switched. Like any kid, my relationship with my parents was up and down but overall, I would say I had a good relationship with them!

Kay: For me, there was definitely a parent-child distinction. Hahah my mom especially; she liked to remind me that she wasn’t one of “my lil friends.” But I was a very well behaved kid, so I think our relationship was good. My older brother was more of the troublemaker, so I didn’t have to try very hard to meet expectations. I also didn’t have any friends when I was younger, and maybe like…two in high school. So I spent a lot of time at home watching Family Feud with her. She is an excellent trivia wiz.

2. Did you ever travel together when you were young? What were the most memorable trips?

Jo: My parents were all about traveling. My mom is Belgian and my dad is British so we went back to Europe every couple years. Looking back, I am so extremely grateful and blessed that we were able to visit family so much. If we weren’t doing international trips, we did a lot of camping or day trips to nearby cities. As cliche as it sounds, my most memorable trip as a kid was going to Disney when I was 10. I have a vivid memory of laying in bed completely covered in aloe with the fan on full blast because I was so burnt after we had spent a day at Disney. I think our sunscreen was expired hahaha.

how to travel with your parents
Jo and the fam bam

Kay: Yes and no. I would say no in the traditional “traveling” sense. We didn’t really have the financial flexibility to have dedicated vacations *emoji shrug*. BUT – we were experts at local traveling. We would take day trips to the lake to go fishing, or ride out to the beach and make sand castles, or even visit museums or libraries. My mom was also in the military, so we moved a lot. Even that turned into traveling because we would road trip across the country to the new base or fly back to California to visit family or whatever.

My most memorable trip, or rather trips, was our weekly trip to Walmart. Every Friday night when she got home from work, my mom would take us on a stroll through the Super Walmart and we’d laugh at all the random deals we could find. That and I really loved the LA County Fair. We went every year when we moved back to Southern California in high school.

3. What is your relationship with your parent(s) like now?

how to hike with your parents
Walking sticks are the new family tshirts

Jo: I loooove my parents now. I think a big part of it has to do with my parents being older and having four kids before me. They were very chill and laid back by the time they had me. My oldest sister is 40 and she does so much for our family and to show her appreciation for my parents. She’s one of my biggest role models and I think seeing her so appreciative of my parents makes me appreciate them more (and sooner) than if it was just me.

Kay: HONESTTTLY, I’m probably too independent for my own good – but I always go back a few times a year to hang out. It’s also changed in the sense that I have resources to give back. There is literally nothing I could give to even come close to how much sacrifice went into raising me to have the most opportunities and experiences possible, but I can try! I try to be as responsible and supportive as possible so my mom can have the luxury of doing whatever her beautiful little heart desires. Don’t worry Ma, I got the bill**

**Exclusions and restrictions apply

4. How often do you travel with your parent(s) as an adult? Has your role changed at all now that you’re an adult?

Jo: Now that I’m an adult, it’s rare I get the chance to travel with them.  They live in Virginia and I live in Kentucky so the majority of travel is spent just visiting one another. I wouldn’t say my role has changed but my attitude definitely has. I realize how awful it is to travel with someone with a bad attitude or who is very high maintenance (like I was when I was a child) so I’m much better now of keeping my attitude in check and taking in my time with them instead of wasting it being in a bad mood. When I think back to times I was a brat when we were on vacation or traveling, I wanna shake that little kid!

how to travel with your mom

Kay: My mom would’ve shaken me if I was a brat hahaha. She still will, actually. I don’t think our parent-child role has really changed at all, except now she makes me pay for my own stuff. And hers. Hahaha. But we don’t actually travel-travel too often. Mostly because she doesn’t like traveling. Don’t get me wrong, she’s been to more countries and places than I can even name, but she doesn’t really travel just to travel. For one, she has a bad knee now, which makes traveling a bit of an inconvenience. Though, she goes on a cruise once a year. That’s about as much stranger interaction she can handle without choke-holding someone who gets on her nerves. We still go on little mini local adventures when I visit home. Except now I have to drive.

5. What is the most difficult part about traveling with your parent(s)? What is the most rewarding?

Jo: The most difficult part is you kind of see the humanity of them. You see their mistakes or how they might not handle things in the best way. Yet you’re still “their child” so it feels awkward or misplaced if you try to tell them “Well actually it’s better if we do it this way” because no matter how old you get, you revert to the roles of parent and child when you’re together. That is difficult for me to manage because I travel so much now that I’m like gaaaah listen to me I know what I’m talking about!

how to travel with your dad
Getting to know your parents as adults – priceless

But the most rewarding part is easy. Just getting to spend time and get to know them as people. Growing up, you don’t realize your parents have a past, fears, hopes, and stories. They’re invincible. So it’s cool when you grow up and you can talk about things you are going through and whether or not they went through something similar or hear about things you never knew about them. It’s the best part of being an adult in my opinion.

Kay: The most difficult part of traveling with your parents is seeing how other people treat them. I’m a real chill person when I travel alone, and if someone is rude or disgusting to me, it’s easy for me to just brush it off or remove myself from the situation. But if they try that crap with my mom – it’s about to be a FIGHT.

Also, sometimes the parent part of the relationship can come on too strong. Like when we go shopping in the boutiques of Little Havana and my mom says my dress is too short. But then says I look like a bum for wearing an oversized sweater. And then tries to get me to pick up some rando cute boy at the Deli. Or when she wouldn’t stop complaining about the cobblestone in Italy. “It’s so old looking, why don’t they just redo it?”  IT’S HISTORY MA. #parents

(she was mostly joking about the cobblestone, but also it was very difficult to walk on haha)

The most rewarding, I have to agree with Jo. It’s the quality time. Your parents really have the best stories, and that can make a week long roadtrip feel like an hour.

6. Do you have to alter your travel itinerary at all to fit with your parent(s) ability?

Kay: Oh yeah for sure. For one, my mom can’t really hike. She also doesn’t like walking around aimlessly. Those are two of my most common travel activities. Sooo…what do we do? Well, she likes eating which is fun, but she’s someone who prefers ACTUAL GOOD FOOD rather than cutesy instagram cafes with $15 matcha-charcoal swirl soft serve. So I’m out of options again. But she’s adventurous, so I just have to tweak the itinerary a bit so neither of us get bored. For example, our trips to Vegas, instead of going hiking out in Nevada, we zipline down the strip. Or eat at fancy restaurants or watch fun shows. Or, we just split up. If you have different interests than your parents, try picking a destination that offers something for both of you! They can gamble at a casino while you go kayaking in the Colorado River or something.

parents hiking
Sometimes, you gotta break away to do things that fits each group. Everyone wins!

Jo: Yes and no. When we went out west, I wanted to do hikes everyday. We did some hikes together but they were shorter or they would turn back and let me continue. There were a couple hikes, however, like Angels Landing in Zion that they knew they wouldn’t be able to handle so we separated and I did the hike on my own and they did a hike they could handle and we met up later. But as far as things we would like to see or do, I’m lucky that my parents and I share similar interests so we don’t have to do much compromising!

7.If you were to ask your parent(s) what is their favorite part about traveling with you, what would they say? And how does that make you feel?

Jo: Ooooo. Great question. I think they would say just getting to spend quality time with me. My mom’s love language is quality time (like to the most extreme) and my dad is gifts. So for my mom, traveling together is the greatest gift I can offer her and it’s honestly great that we get to share something that we both love like travel. It’s almost too easy! And my dad, he likes to pay for things and buy little momentos during the trip and it ends up being a win win for both of us! It fills me with all the good feels because it shows me that my parents like me as a person as well as love me. They value getting to know me and spending time with me and I feel like the luckiest child in the world because of it.

how to do a roadtrip with your parents
Traveling with your parents brings your relationship to a whole new level with unforgettable memories

Kay: Mmm. My mom’s favorite part of traveling with me…probably me paying for stuff. Hahah, kidding, its gotta be the quality time. It isn’t something you can buy on Amazon, the only way to give it is to do it. It’s kind of a double edge feeling. I do live very far away, which is kind of sad because…we don’t get too much time together. But on the other end, the solution is pretty simple. Visit! And there are some super great memories to be made by traveling with your parents.

8. What kind of trips do you recommend for people wanting to travel with their parents?

Jo: I would recommend doing something that all of you can agree upon. What I loved about doing a road trip was we were never stuck in a car too long and we chose places all of us wanted to visit or compromised when we needed to. If it came to us wanting to do different things, we had the option! I think it’s better than just going on a week vacation to the beach or spending a long period of time at one place because you won’t get bored as easily and you can pick and choose things to do!

Kay: I would say you definitely have to consider your parents’ travel style. If your parents are more active and love mountain biking or bouldering, probably avoid stranding them on a calm beach with nothing to do. On the other hand, if they hate breaking a sweat or being uncomfortable, a 5 day trek to Machu Picchu will probably not be very enjoyable for them. Take their health and weather tolerance into consideration as well. In my opinion, when in doubt, try taking a cruise! It’s a good way to get a feel for their travel style with minimal effort or planning on your end. Traveling with your parents doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Just like your macaroni fridge art you made them in 2nd grade, they will love you and your efforts.

cabo san lucas vacation
My mom would LOVE Cabo, so I know where Im taking her next!

Thank you Jo for all of your insight! I already want to plan another trip with my mom! Guys, if you aren’t following Jo already, YOU NEED TO! I’ll drop her social media links below so you can fall in love with her.

bolivia travel girl
If you wanna join in on her ride around the globe, her instagram is, as Jo would say, #dopemagic : @ridingaroundtheglobe





PLUS! Jo just started her own travel agency! She can plan weekend getaways, personalized vacations, or even share her own itineraries from her trips (I literally NEED a roadmap of her Peru adventures!). She is currently having a sale on services, which would be a perfect opportunity to snag a trip itinerary for when you try traveling with your parents!

So are you convinced now to try traveling with your parents? Where would you take them? Or is it something that you already do? Share some of your favorite trips and tips for a successful vacation!

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  1. Hello! Travelling with parents is great! I have done it all my life, added bonus now is the extra helping hands/free babysitters for our kids!

  2. I would never have considered traveling with my mom up until recently, but I’ve been thinking of taking her on a trip one day.

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