Surviving A Family Trip: 10 Things To Expect While Travelling With Your Parents

Surviving A Family Trip: 10 Things To Expect While Travelling With Your Parents

Travelling with your parents isn’t exactly like travelling with your best pals! Here’s on what to expect when you’re bringing mom and dad to foreign lands.

When you’re abroad with your parents, you’re probably a little uptight about being on your best behaviour! You can’t exactly bring your sweet mother to the nightclubs that you and your friends fancy, or drag dear old dad for a hectic five-hour shopping trip around Seoul. You’ll definitely have to change your holiday plans to accommodate the situation.

Unsure of what to expect? Well, here’s a glimpse into some of the conversations that I’ve had when I went for a short trip to Bangkok with my family. You’ll definitely relate to some of them!

1. They’re always looking out for your welfare

“Did you eat enough? The restaurant had servings for cats! Do you want to drop by the nearest supermarket for some instant food?”

“That’s alright, mom, I’m not hungry.”

“Well, I am, so that means you’re hungry as well, young man. Come on.”

While overseas, it’s understandable that your parents are a little more worried than usual about your health. The last thing they need during the holidays is someone falling sick and missing out on all the fun! So, take their heightened concern in stride and go with the flow. As they always say, “mother knows best”!

2. They will embarrass you, sometimes on purpose

Image credit: dteitelb

“Look dear. Aren’t those local girls at the other cashier pretty? You’re still single, right?”

“Umm, mom? Can we not play matchmaker while we’re on holiday? I’m trying to relax!”

“Well, sorry, I just don’t want my son to die a lonely man, that’s all.”

“That’s not helping, mom.”

Just remember that everything your parents say and do have your best interests in their hearts. Even when it seems like you’re about to be teased to death by their good-natured jibes, it’s just paternal instincts that are driving their actions. For the moment, just pray that the locals didn’t understand a single word!

3. You’ll need to play tour guide at times

Image credit: Dave Collier

“How do you know this is the way to the arrival hall? This hallway is empty, I’m telling you, this is the wrong way-”

“Dad, it says “Arrival Hall” right there on the sign above your head.”


If you’re familiar with the country that you and your parents are heading to, then you’ll have an obligation to take the lead at times. It will feel understandably weird at times, to be the one showing your parents the ropes when it’s usually them that are holding your hand through new experiences. Just embrace the reversed roles and point mom and dad to the right direction!

4. They still see you as their little kid at times

“I know you get edgy during plane takeoffs, dear. Do you need a sweet?”

“No, mom, not anymore.”

“Oh, really? Wow! I mean, it’s not as if like we’re in danger of suddenly exploding or anything-”


Your parents will always remember the stark image of five-year-old you running around the house with only your underpants on. When you’re acting all brave and macho in front of your mom and dad, they’ll only visualise that same five-year-old doing the exact same thing. Worst of all? They know exactly what to say to make that child in you twist and turn!

5. They’ll acknowledge you as an equal while travelling

“Son, feel free to explore the city at night. You should be old enough to know the difference between a bargain and a robbery.”

“Wow, thanks dad!”

“If you’re going to any massage parlours, I don’t want to hear about it, alright?”

“Okay, this is getting awkward.”

Travelling lays a common ground between you and your parents, an equal footing on strange territory where all of you can start your relationships afresh! Although there are times when they’ll acknowledge you as their child, but there are also times when they’ll acknowledge you as a grown-up with your own personality, dreams and goals!

6. You’ll have to try hard to convince them of certain things

Image credit: Michael Guy

“Dad, it’s better to take the BTS to Chatuchak. You’ll avoid the traffic and reach there faster.”

“It’s alright, I don’t like the idea of squeezing in the train. I want to sit down anyways.”

5 minutes later….

“I think our taxi hasn’t moved an inch since we boarded it in the past ten minutes.”

“Thanks, dad, that’s very helpful.”

Don’t take it to heart when your parents wave off your advice! Sometimes, they can’t stand being corrected by their children. It’s best to patiently explain your stance or simply let them learn their lessons the hard way. You can afford to be a little snarky afterwards!

7. You’ll have to listen to them for (occasionally) solid advice

“We can’t queue here, dad. I think this immigration counter isn’t for international tourists.”

“But the sign says “for ASEAN countries”! Aren’t we part of ASEAN? Why can’t we queue here?”

“Because… umm… are we part of ASEAN, dad?”

“Looked in a mirror lately?”

Don’t be so quick to dismiss everything your parents say, even if you are better-travelled than them. They might just be right – sometimes! Whether it’s a nifty fashion tip on picking the right clothes size from mom, or a useful packing trick from dad, you’ll be surprised by the few tricks that they still have up their sleeves!

8. Patience is the key

Image credit: Pierre Lauret

“So to get to Chatuchak, we have to disembark at Mo Chit BTS and walk from there?”

“Yeah, it won’t take long, mom. Only a few minutes.”

“Better than the one-hour traffic jam that your dad dragged us into yesterday?”


“Um, yes, way better.”

Among any other relationships, the ties that you have with your parents are the ones that will demand a great deal of patience and understanding from your side. As they get older, you’ll need to take on a little more responsibility and assume the leadership role at times. After all, you can’t expect them to be doing it for your sake all the time, especially in a foreign land!

9. There’ll be plenty of awkward moments

“What’s the ping pong show that these salespeople are going about? Is ping pong a national sport for Thailand?”

“Err… yeah… I guess you could say that, mom.”

“Ooh, then we should ask your dad to bring us there. Excuse me, young man? About that show—”

“Mom, NO!”

Awkward moments come and go, and in your holiday trips with the folks, it’s pretty much unavoidable! Entertain your curious parents and keep them informed on the latest developments around the country, while trying to steer them away from the more questionable attractions!

10. There’ll be plenty of awesome moments as well

Image credit: TourismPEI

“That shirt’s too expensive, mom. I’ll get it another time when I’m back here.”

“Nonsense, grab it! And grab another two as well, I’ll see if I can get a bargain.”

“Mom, it’s okay, I’ll just–”

“Son, please. I know that look, it’s your begging face. Now, stop pretending and take the shirts!”

Of course, not every moment during the trip will leave you wishing that you had the power to vanish from your immediate surroundings! There will be plenty of times when you’ll find yourself greatly enjoying your parents’ company. After all, they’re the ones that know you best!

The special banter and deep conversations that you’ll experience throughout the trip is something that you’ll never get with anyone else in the world!

Did any of the previously mentioned experiences strike a chord with your own holiday trips with the folks? It’s true that you’ll be restricted in terms of entertainment and merriment, but take this opportunity instead to spend time with your family and strengthen your bonds between each other.

Even when you’re trying to hide from dad’s silly jokes, or weary of mom’s constant nagging, it’s these little moments that you’ll learn to treasure and value deeply as you go on the ultimate travel journey of life!

About Author

Youliang Teo
Youliang Teo

When he’s not caught up with the real world, Teo Youliang dreams of simply grabbing a rucksack and setting off on an adventure of a lifetime. Whether it means venturing through unknown places, meeting new faces, or frustratingly figuring out a travel map for hours, you can be sure that there isn’t any other place he’d rather be. He’s also content with a hot cup of tea, and writing stories at the comfort of his home.


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