The Essential Travel Guide for Traveling with (and Embarrassing) Your Adult Kids
After we ran Bianca Brownlow’s Travelling With Your Parents: The Essential Survival Guide, we knew we had to get the other side of the story. Today on Travltalk, we hear from Bianca’s dad how he handles travelling with an irrepressible millennial.
My daughter and her husband have made the courageous decision to base themselves in London, and visit as many countries as possible before they settle down (eventually). This presents them the opportunity to either (1) stay in Australia and get by with electronic media, or (2) get off their butts, travel, and share their passion for it.
I’m not a complete travel novice, myself; I’ve done a little work travel (almost 10 years of weekly flights all across Australia). In addition to a smattering of international travel, both for work and leisure; I have seen an airport or two. I guess I’ll tag along!
The airport checkpoints
Sometimes, “Murphy’s Law” kicks in and determines it your turn to be screened for explosive residue. Security will scrutinise the contents of your clear plastic bag (I need my little nasal sprays) with some sophisticated spectrum analyser, or worse, give you a complete shakedown just for passing through without a buzzer going off. It’s either that, or I just look that suspicious! Meanwhile, those youngins just seem to breeze straight through. Someone please explain.Sometimes, “Murphy's Law” kicks in and determines it your turn to be screened for explosive residue #travellife Click To Tweet
There was a time when I would have been preoccupied with taking photos on a trip, to share what I did and where I had been with the youngins upon my return. But when the kids on the trip with me, I can relax my shutter finger a bit. I wouldn’t tell them, though – take your own photos, and when you get back at the end of a day of sightseeing, compare your snaps with what your kids have posted online. If any of theirs are better, save those. You’ll have created a back-up, knowing that they will take as many pictures as you, or more. This way, you might even get to feature in some of them!
Options for finding a restaurant
The kids can search through TripAdvisor faster than I can send a text, so I know I’m being shortlisted with their preferred recommendations. But it saved me doing the research, so that worked for me. We had some brilliant meals, but likewise, we also jagged some excellent ones as we walked down the street.
The youngins thought they’d be good to drive in the morning after a night on the booze. Lucky the old man has brought his own breathalyser. “What! You’re blowing 0.15bac at 9:00 am!” We get some food before we get back on the road.
ABC: Another Bloody Church
I have heard friends talk about the ABCs of Europe, especially in parts of Portugal and Venice. Yes, sometimes your legs will run out of steam – that’s why they invented tuk tuks and gondolas. You just can’t believe how many churches and monuments they can fit in a town.
On other occasions, when you might just feel like checking out a couple of places, you find yourself following your brood on a seemingly endless pub crawl. Just how many Irish bars are there in Europe? When they do tire of the nightlife, it’s great to see your kids develop and acquire their own interests in culture – they might even teach you something.Sometimes your legs will run out of steam – that’s why they invented tuk tuks and gondolas. You just can’t believe how many churches and monuments they can fit in a town. Click To Tweet
“Oh let’s check out some street art!”
“You mean graffiti?”
“No, street art.”
You’re never too old to learn and appreciate a bit of culture.
Travelling together, apart
Travelling with the kids doesn’t have to mean being attached to them by the hip. With my daughter living in London, I have been able to stretch out trips, normally with a week or two spent together at the start, followed up with another catch-up in another country towards the end. After a two-week trip through Spain and Portugal, we were able to catch up in Munich for Oktoberfest – a big event!
Don’t be fooled into keeping up round for round
You already know how to pace yourself – stay on your game, don’t get lost in the excitement of doing shots, and you will outlast them.
I may still be able to beat them at pool and darts, but not cards. I am still trying to win more than a couple of hands in that mongrel card game, Yarnif. It seems to be played by all of the travelling backpackers, and is some form of international language. I do have to admit, it’s great while sitting on the beach in Portugal having a beer or two.
Embarrassing the kids
Yes, I have embarrassed them. Falling asleep on a bus – it was jet lag! – or dacking the son-in-law on a busy street in San Sebastian. I am sorry, don’t stand still in front of an old drunk bloke. I’ve been a blubbering mess after saying goodbye (first trip), but it gets easier – just visit more.
I am so proud of how these kids, especially my daughter, are able to get around. It’s amazing how they can casually take a couple of backpacks and head off across the globe without a care in the world.
They might miss the occasional flight in Prague, get bitten by a snake while walking along a foot path in Thailand, and party hard night after night throughout Europe, and it’s all just another day in the life of the average London traveller.
Not the waiter kind of tips (although yes, you do have to tip in Europe, apparently) – tips for keeping up.
While my kids get around easily with a backpack, as the visiting parent, I’m generally staying away from home for longer. They won’t need as much gear as I will.
A duffel bag with wheels and optional backpack straps is the most practical option; the backpack straps are especially useful when you find yourself in towns without escalators at train stations (Paris), on cobblestone paths (Lisbon) that go forever and destroy your wheels,or going up tiny spiral staircases to that exquisite Airbnb room you found, which happens to be on the third floor of a walk-up.
High Sierra have a bag that will easily accommodate 20kg – you want to stay under this weight for all of the domestic travel within Europe, and then load up on your final leg home, if you have a 30kg option on your return flight.“Remember that time in…?” That’s what travelling with your family is all about. Click To Tweet
Another tip for the long haul fliers: If I have the option, I prefer to break up the homebound trip. I’ve enjoyed some great mini-holidays this way. I’ve arranged private tours in Dubai, and I’ve stopped in Bangkok for a day or two of shopping, to get all those bargains and Christmas pressies – what you save nearly pays for the trip!
The time spent with family, at a level that not many people will ever get to do with their kids, is what makes these trips worth it for me. It builds a deep relationship of shared memories that can be reflected upon, and shared with the next generation.
“Remember that time in…?” That’s what it’s all about.