First of all, don’t get me wrong. I love travelling with my parents !
My parents have given nothing but the best ever since we were young. We were considered very fortunate to have travelled by plane even before we started primary school.
Now that we have all started working, we made it a commitment to bring my parents on vacation, at least once every 2 years. And since, we have visited Osaka, Hainan, Hong Kong, Macau, and the last one, Taipei. This year, we are visiting Bali, and we are all looking forward to a good relaxing beach vacation in our 3 bedroom private villa, with private swimming pool !
That said, travelling with my parents can be very different from how I travel solo, or with my friends.
1. Much less walking when travelling with parents
My parents don’t like to walk. And in contrast, I like to walk when I travel, sometimes clocking more than 20,000 steps a day ! Hence, when travelling with my parents, we walk much less.
Which is why, when I plan for family trips, accessibility is the top concern ! We’ll be taking a taxi everywhere we go. Sometimes, even the 500 m walk from the hotel to the nearest train station feels like climbing Mount Kinabalu to my mum.
And yes, no stairs for my mum. Always escalators or elevators !
That said, if it is a shopping street, somehow my mum will unleash some supernatural power, and suddenly, she can walk for kilometers !
2. Eating non stop when travelling with parents
And because my parents don’t like to walk, they are usually not interested in visiting tourist attractions, which requires walking.
So, what else to do if we can’t go visiting museums, churches, temples etc ? We end up eating, NON STOP !
Our typical itinerary for the day is,
- 0900 hrs Wake up
- 0930 hrs Breakfast (if more than 500 m away from the hotel, we will get a taxi)
- 1030 hrs Back to hotel for rest, and toilet time
- 1200 hrs Lunch (usually we will go somewhere further from the hotel)
- 1330 hrs Shopping (and make sure to buy tea time snacks)
- 1600 hrs Back to hotel for nap, and shower
- 1730 hrs Tea time snacks in hotel
- 2000 hrs Dinner
- 2130 hrs Back to hotel for rest, and toilet time
- 2300 hrs Supper
And no, I am not exaggerating !
3. No public toilets for my parents
My parents refused to use public toilets. Which explains why after every meal, we have to return to the hotel for necessary bowel fluid discharge.
In times of emergency (say in a shopping mall), we have to find the nearest 5 stars hotel, walk in as if we are guests in the hotel, only to use their lobby toilets (hoping not to be asked to leave by the hotel staffs).
The above always worked in developed cities, but I’m pretty sure this can’t work in Bali. So, we really need to plan out another contingency plan !
4. More baggage than usual
I prefer travelling light. I usually pack at most, clothes enough for one week, and try to book accommodations with laundry facilities. Also, I have stopped the tradition of buying souvenirs for ALL my friends and families.
Yes, I used to spend like RM 2,000 on Parisien chocolates as souvenirs !
My parents, on the other hand, pack two sets of clothes per travelling day ! So, they’ll have at least 3 full baggages for the two of them, and my mum always bring another empty one for souvenirs ! Yes, that’s 4 pieces of pieces of baggage for the two of them !
5. More bonding time with my parents
Asian family, we don’t talk a lot, especially now that my brothers and I are all working away from home.
So, when travelling with my parents, I really appreciate all the bonding times I get. We will share stories, laugh, and talk about our dreams; mum will share her life lessons; dad will nag us; my brothers and I will argue sometimes over some stupid things none of us will remember after.
For me, this is the best part of travelling with my parents. Which is why, no matter how different it is from my usual travelling style, I will always look forward to these family trips !
I also mentioned earlier I’ll share some of the weirdest travel advices my parents have given to us, that are not entirely true …
Don’t take off your shoes during long-haul flights
My mum used to tell me not to take off my shoes during long-haul flights. Something about water retention on the feet can cause you not to fit in your shoes later. Well, it never happened to me.
Separate and store your cash in different bags or pockets
The intention for this is in case you get mugged, you still cash stored somewhere else.
However, it doesn’t quite work all the time. My youngest brother once stored his Hong Kong dollars in so many bags that he forgot where he placed it ! In the end, it was in one of his bags he left behind in Malaysia !
Don’t eat street food, else later you’ll get food poisoning and diarrhoea
I love exploring new food when travelling. So, I do enjoy sampling street food. And some of the best food I had was from the side of the street.
For me, as long as the food is prepared and served hot in front of me, it will be just fine. And of course, for everything, it is best to have it in moderation. Sometimes, certain spices or ingredients not familiar to your digestion system may cause tummy upset.
Well that said, I love exchanging travel stories and advices with my parents.
Do you have a funny story to share ? Or maybe a travel advice from your parents ? Feel free to share and drop a comment below !