1. Payback for those family vacations…
…the good kind of payback, of course. You have a lot to thank your parents for, even if they didn’t take you on that proverbial road trip to Disney World in the family minivan.
If you have the means, footing the bill for a vacation with your folks is a great way to show your gratitude. If not, try shouldering the responsibility of crafting and executing the itinerary, while letting your parents kick back and enjoy themselves.
2. Share yourself.
Are you a serial traveler? Then you probably don’t see your parents too frequently. This is your opportunity to help them understand your passion for travel and why you’re often so far from home. Allow them to share more fully in the person you’ve grown up to become.
3. Rediscover the ‘rents.
Likewise, it may have been decades since you lived under the same roof as your parents. Much has changed since then, and what better way to be forced into finding out what makes your folks tick these days than to travel with them?
4. Show off.
Admit it—it’s good to get affirmation from your two original authority figures. Jetting off to far-flung lands with your parents sets the stage for you to demonstrate mastery of another language, kung-fu packing techniques, and any other skills you’ve acquired through your travels. Prepare to bask in Mom’s and Dad’s oohs and aahs.
5. Strength in numbers.
Exploration on the road is easier with a little support. You’ll be more likely to pop into that intimidating cantina or take a spontaneous dance lesson when you’re with people you trust and feel comfortable around.
Alternatively, if your parents are experiencing anxiety about a certain travel activity, you may find strength in providing a steady hand and convincing them to take the leap.
6. Expand the story base.
Shift the parent-child relationship from the past into the present and future. No longer will family conversations lean on the crutch of rehashed childhood experiences; a shared excursion will give you new stories to draw from.
Regardless of what happens on the trip, the banter at the next holiday gathering will likely be a lot livelier.
7. Maturity by osmosis.
Maybe you’re the kind of traveler who spends nights boozing it up with the hostel crowd and days sleeping it off. Well, here’s your chance to partake in other facets of travel.
Accompany the folks to that history museum they’re set on, or research a one-of-a-kind attraction that appeals to their particular interests. Who knows what you’ve been missing?
8. Escape the stress.
The settings of family get-togethers are rarely described as stress-free. They’re usually at a relative’s home, where host-guest relations can create tension. On the road, no one’s responsible for entertaining, catering, cleaning up, or any of the other sticking points that can ruin time with family.
9. A different perspective.
Your parents probably aren’t your normal travel companions. What revelations might they be able to prompt regarding your traveling style—where you go, what you like to do, how deep you delve—that you wouldn’t have come to on your own? Shake it up!
10. The perfect Christmas card shot.
Are your folks constantly searching for the ideal spot for a family Christmas card photo, one that will make the aunts and uncles green with envy? What could be more picturesque than the white-sand Hawaiian beach a stone’s throw from the hotel suite you scored? Engineer the perfect shot and they’ll be thanking you for years.
For more on the ups and downs of travel and family, check out What Every Parent Should Know About Traveling With Their Kids, or Why I Disobeyed My Family and Traveled the World.