When I went to Asia this past summer, my parents thought I'd get sick there and be stranded in some third-rate hospital. So I did some shopping around for travel health insurance. I ended up getting a Global Rescue membership. They had the most comprehensive coverage of the companies I found and have medical teams that will pick you up and fly you back to a US hospital (now that's a way to scare your parents, right - flying into the local ER on a helicopter). Anyway, I didn't have to be flown home, but their physician consultation service was top-notch. They have a partnership with Johns Hopkins.
Their website: Global Rescue (www.globalrescue.com)
my mom and i made this deal that if i dont get a really good job after i graduate (im an art student), then i can spend no more than half a year traveling the world. but until then, we go on "family vacations". its always my choice where to go and even if they dont want to go, they go because they know that if they dont come with me, theyre never going to be able to see those places. my parents love traveling as much as i do and the idea of me going somewhere that theyve never been to bothers them. lol. so if i bring up a trip idea, they'll be like "ok, but we're coming too." every time their friends ask why they always go, they always say that they know that if they pass up this opportunity, it might not come back. lol. but i know that they do worry about me jetting off to foreign lands alone. and i understand. if i were them, id worry too. not only am i the only child, but im also a girl. i almost went to thailand with a friend a couple of years back, but i cant remember why that didnt happen. hrmm...
My mom definately freaked out when I went traveling for the first time, so I can relate. I cannot stree enough the importance of my biweekly phone calls. I used OneSuite as I made my way around Europe and it certainly helped calm her nerves hearing my voice. A postcard is a sweet momento as well, but I found the phone calls are what made the difference! Also, your 26 and you are obvioulsy savvy enough to seek advice on how to be safe. Just always be aware of your surroundings and make sure you can zip your handbag closed!
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 27, 2007, at 9:13 AM by allenhayes ]
Parents always will freak out. You have to try to explain them, the best you can, what you are going to do. Make sure they know how to access the internet, email or blog.
Parents will worry anyway, that part of the job description.
My parents and my sister freaked out when I told them I was going to Mexico for 5 weeks this summer. Apparently, I'm going to get kidnapped, raped, and murdered. *sigh* I'm not even really travelling around alone, I just happen to being flying into Cancun and travelling to Playa del Carmen alone. My parents like to travel, but they like to plan everything down to the minute, where I'm more like, well, this looks interesting, lets go! I compromise with them by giving them a loose itinerary. My mom likes to look at the itinerary and see where I am that day. Parents will always worry about you unless you are right there with them. I wonder what my parents will do when I tell them I'm going to join the Peace Corps after I get my degree? Send them alot of pictures, letters, postcards, and emails.
When you're travelling alone it is important to always make sure someone knows where you are and what your plans are. As someone just said, make sure your parents can use internet email etc. And explain if you are likely to be out of touch for a bit longer.
Show that you are a mature responsible adult by explaining what you are doing to keep safe, show that you have researched about where you are going next. Best of all, send them interesting info, pictures, and links about where you are going like the people, history, culture, nature or whatever it might be. If you can make your folks genuinely interested in where you're going, it might take their mind off the worry. Make them proud of you!
What do you do to give parents peace of mind?
Don't tell them anything they don't needs to know, at least not until after the fact if you have to. They don't need to know that you might be on a bus on a stretch of road where armed bandits frequently hold up buses of tourists and rob them. It's just not going to help. Avoid giving them too much in the way of specifics, or at least telling them that you will soon be going through dangerous areas/whatever. They can't do anything about it, and will normally just worry even more. Doesn't help anybody.
as well as all the other advise that you have received.
give your parentsa timeable / fly flight plan of were you expect to be, and when you expect to be in what country or what city.
that will help the investigators uncase you do go missing were you might of been last...
Train them since they are young:
When you are 7, start going out to play on the neighborhood until sunset. Nothing should know what are you doing, you are just... playing. Of course this was easier when we have no cell phones.
When you are 14 and starting to go to parties, don't bother them having to go for you, arrange how to come back to home with friends and friend parents. The first year be always puntual, then start arriving later in spaces of 5 minutes. Be very gradual, they shouldn't notice until is too late. By 18 you should be able to arrive at 6 AM.
Don't ask for permission, inform your plans.
When be time to enter College, choose the one that is in the other end of the country. They could complain, but you have to say that is the best one and sound convinced. Important: Don't get engaged in drugs or pregnant. Don't make pregnant your girlfriend either.
Start calling them twice a week, then once a week and then once every two weeks. Remember, be gradual, that is the basis of training.
At this rate, a RTW travel when finishing University is something they are gonna be already expecting.
Might also help if they know you have a friend who's living in the country you're visiting. That usually helps to set their mind at ease that you're in familiar company. And as mentioned, a phone call once you've settled to let them know you've arrived safely.
I started solo travel pretty late and my parents were worried because "you're a girl, anything can happen". So they were quite amazed that I spent a week in Belgium alone because they thought I was safely ensconced in my friend's apartment in Holland. I did a week alone in Scotland as well and my mom said (with a hint of disapproval) I was getting too daring for my own good.
As Gelli so rightly said: Don't tell them anything they don't need to know, at least not until after the fact if you have to.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 29, 2007, at 10:24 AM by summer910 ]