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Travelling with parents Your No-Stress guide
Family has always been at the heart of things in Singapore. In a recent survey of Social Attitudes of Singaporeans, nine out of 10 people said they have a tight knit family and 40% of young families live in the same flat, same block or estate as their parents, with 55% of those saying they enjoyed living so close.*
Living together successfully on home turf is one thing, but spending 24/7 on holiday with your folks long after you’ve fled the nest may be a different matter. Travelling with parents takes careful planning, Budget Direct Insurance travel experts share their wisdom on how to make it work.Expectations
Talk about where you want to go and what you want to get out of the trip. If parents are paying then this may be a case of enjoying the trip for what it is – a free holiday and an opportunity to spend quality time together. Even if it is all expenses paid, offer to pay for at least a few meals, this helps make sure everyone feels appreciated. Likewise, parents need to understand that although they’re coughing up the cash, it doesn’t mean they dictate everything. Establish a kitty for communal expenses like taxis and entrance fees.Food
Some parents have a great sense of adventure, while others will want a taste of home while they’re away. Don’t push them too far out of their culinary comfort zone. Bring a few of their favourite snacks, or look up a nearby restaurant that serves food that they will be familiar with.Climate
The weather may not be as predictable as Singapore’s, make sure everyone has suitable clothes and footwear. Accommodation
Choose a hassle-free place to stay and invest in the best you can. If parents are elderly, they may choose to spend more time resting up or eating in the hotel rather than going out after a busy day. You may find yourselves spending more time in the accommodation than normal, so make sure it’s somewhere you enjoy.Plan a rough itinerary
It will save time and help manage expectations to keep everyone happy. Stay flexible and be prepared to change plans if your parents become tired or don’t feel comfortable. It may be worth hiring a car. It will get you around quicker and enable you to drop tired parents back at the hotel, allowing you the flexibility to go off on your own. Hop on and off buses also help you see a number of places while saving your feet. This makes them popular with young families and retirees.Time apart
Plan some mornings or afternoons apart and arrange to meet up for dinner so you can swap stories. Ask for rooms on the same floor but not right next door, it gives everyone breathing space. Try to arrange a room for your parents near the lift to save their legs.
Call on the hotel internal line to see if they’re ready rather than knock on their door, then you can fill the waiting time doing something useful rather than being outside their door!Try a short break first
If you are unsure about travelling with your parents on a big trip, try a day or overnight trip somewhere close. You will know what you are in for, so you plan the next trip better.
Parents’ health and mobility can change quickly. The parents you remember travelling with a few years ago may not be the same now.
Finally, don’t be like Anya and Sheri, plan ahead and treasure your time together…
“A few years ago, my friend Sheri took her father and his wife around Northern Italy as her father’s one wish was to see the city where his parents came from. At the time, I didn’t understand why she wasn’t looking forward to this family holiday. Now I get it: when you travel with old people, the goal is not family bonding or imbibing foreign cultures or enjoying the sights and sounds of the journey. No: the goal is to get them home alive and in one piece!” Anya Schiffrin,Travelling with Parents, Reuters Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s vital to have good travel insurance.
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*Channel NewsAsia May 2015