Life of A Teenage Travel enthusiast - How I convinced my parents to let me travel solo?
Both parents and teens alike often find the idea of teenagers traveling abroad daunting and sometimes even scary! It’s easy to let these fears hold us back and prevent us from seeing all of the awesome ways that travel can transform teens into amazing young people.
Below is my experience as a Solo Female Teen Traveller and how being one has turned my life upside down-
I am 19, and I’ve already been to 5 countries all by myself – yep, without parents and without my school and realized travel is my calling. While I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and I’ve paid for the majority of my travels saving up for trips and convincing my family to allow me to go on trips, I was born into a middle-class family in a small town in Bengal, I grew up in a very loving and open-minded household, one that encouraged me to dream big. My parents never once laughed at my wanderlust-fuelled thoughts, always treating my life plans of seeing the world with respect, sincerity, and support. I’m well aware how lucky that makes me.On the one hand I feel a little proud that I’ve caught the travel bug so early and on the other hand I wish I could influence more teens like me to step out and explore the world the actual problem is convincing their parents to allow them to go and making sure their parents are okay with that…(except if you wanna just sneak out, not the best option, but do you.) the major factors are trust and safety.
So I can offer just a little bit of advice for the positive steps I took in order to fulfill my travel dreams when I was younger-
BUILD UP TRUST - Every individual and family is different and I trust your instincts to
deal with the uniqueness of yours.Most parents are just really concerned about us. They will mostly have two arguments: safety and being responsible. If you follow the above hopefully you will be able to tackle both. Otherwise your mother will cancel your travel plans saying “You can't even keep your room clean how can I let you travel alone!” Guaranteeing positive family responses is not what I will do but I will help you with tips to convince them - Start with questioning yourself -
1. Do you travel in your city by yourself? 2. What conditions does your family have to let you travel? 3. Have you stayed alone before? 4. Can you manage a whole day by yourself (Inclusive of waking up in the morning, arranging meals, laundry etc.)?
Understand that this is a big step in your teenage life, but once you accomplish it, you have the key to gaining your parents trust. And once you are close to making decisions and have tick marked all your family conditions on allowing you to travel nobody can stop you.
MAKE A PLAN - Share your plan with them, send them links to various blogs about that place, ask them for suggestions. This way they will feel included and You need to have a plan to prove that you have become responsible and are set to travel alone. Ask yourself the following questions:
Why do you want to go?What do you want to experience during the trip?
How will this contribute to your life and your career ambitions?
Why is this important to you?
Where do you want to go?
How long are you going to go for?
What are the safety measures you are going to take?
How much have you saved?
How much do you think it is going to cost?
What is your budget?
Where are you going to get the money to support you?
All these questions are important for you to answer as it’ll demonstrate you have done your research and know what you are doing. Tell your parents where you headed with a complete breakdown of the itinerary. Be prepared for their queries. Treat it like an interview where you want the interviewer to select you. Don't get irritated, don't get emotional, don't get scared, just be clam and sell yourself and your idea. Things won't change overnight, but be persistent and have patience. Try to ask your family how can you make them feel comfortable while you are traveling solo.
TRAVEL IN A GROUP - Start with group trips to convince your parents. You know,
these days its easier to find like minded adventurers using travel groups and services. There are many such forums ( The Indian Tourist, Vue India tours, Thomas cook India, Make my trip, Yatra) where random travelers discuss and plan tours. Check them out and also show your parents that IT IS SAFE and well organized. Convincing your parents will be more on you taking care of your self and being safe wherever you go and such organizers are trustworthy, The added advantage is that you can still maintain your privacy and enjoy the serenity. Also, the trip is affordable.
TRAVEL & LEARN - Another way to Travel is by thinking about ways that could give you enough independence while travelling in a place and yet add more perceived value to your wanderlust participating in activities organized abroad. Trips which ensure a week or month full of education and also allow you to travel. Look for options like volunteering, a semester abroad, exchange programmes, internships and much more (AIESEC, Youth Hop, StudentsGoAbroad). These summer courses also leave you with plenty of down time to get to experience the place where you’re living, so don’t worry, you won’t be stuck in a classroom all day long.
Hope this helps! I would love to hear reviews & queries! Please leave your comments below.