Is it normal for family to be against you travelling?

Travel Forums General Talk Is it normal for family to be against you travelling?

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1. Posted by here4life (Budding Member 9 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I mentioned traveling to my Dad and he got verbally aggressive with me. I said I will be probably be leaving in 6 months but he says "Will I be leaving next week?". My sister takes pride in saying she thinks I won't travel.

But I have spoken to many people who have traveled and they have recommended it. I am 21 years of age (and 6 months) and want to do it. I am saving money for it, but my family are against it.

Is this normal?

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 6046 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

"Normal"? No. But it's not a completely uncommon reaction either. A lot of people who don't travel themselves have an overinflated idea of the risks inherent in travelling, and any horror story they hear about strange diseases and crime and busses falling into ravines will reinforce their ideas. If out of the blue (for them) their children are then suddenly talking about travelling, they quickly get over-protective.
There also seem to be parents who feel travelling is just an excuse to escape responsibility and growing up; who think it'll be only party-party-party and that their children should instead think about their future and getting a job and all such things.

I obviously don't know if it's one of these things with your family, or something else again - nor do I know what kind of relationship you have with your parents. But in general I'd advice approaching them very calmly and reasonably and asking them to explain why they are against it. I wouldn't immediately try to counter any of their reasons, but instead make certain you understand them fully. Then at a later date, you can get back to them and say something like that you've considered their objections, but that you feel that ... (risks are really very small - you'll go prepared, rewards are high; better understanding of other cultures, good experience for finding a job; employers really value independent thinking and capability of travelling long term shows that you're ...) and that because of that, travel will be a very worthwhile activity in your life. You've done your research into the risks and ... etc. You're an adult, and you're capable of making your own decisions. It might be hard for your parents to accept all the consequences of that, but in the end you have to live your own life, and you can only ask your parents to support you in that - but regardless, you're going through with your plans.

On my first big trip, I set off for 2+ years. I know no one amongst my friends initially believed that I would actually ever stay away for that long (similar to what I think your sister has) - and I sometimes had my doubts as well before I set off - but you just work on making it real, one little detail at a time - and in the end all that preparation will shine through and become rather obvious to most people who'll know you.

3. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Yep, perfectly normal. It's a security thing I think - they don't want you to be halfway across the world where they have no way of helping out if something happens to you.

It manifests itself in different ways - My folks certainly weren't aggresive about our travelling plans, but they did do what your sister is doing 'oh, what a shame, you can't get the money together' - until I did!

While I was travelling (on the big RTW) I kept in touch with my family regularly and they were always excited to hear from me, and enthusiastic about my endless stories/photos etc when I came back. So I do think it was a 'fear of the unknown' thing.

4. Posted by here4life (Budding Member 9 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Do you think 21 is a good age to travel?

5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2015 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

You can't travel at a better time - YES!

I'm hardly 21 (actually 64) but remember well how my family thought I was wasting my time (all they consider is that you're not being serious in putting job/education first). In reality, travel is an excellent education in itself, but they look on it as just "fun" time.

They're wrong!

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 3, 2008, at 10:41 AM by Daawgon ]

6. Posted by andy11 (Full Member 136 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Just depends, parents usually know their kids better than anyone, so there must be a reason, i reckon i would have got the same at 21 whereas my sister wouldn't have, maybe they saw her as more responsible at that age than me....

Why do you really want to go traveling, drinking and partying....?

Remember that parents are held responsible for their kids up to the age of 18 or so...

That sense of responsibility wont disappear just cause your 21...

7. Posted by here4life (Budding Member 9 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

its mainly to see the world, not partying/drinking.

oh, and my dad only left the country twice in his life, once to south africa with work, and the canaries 8 years ago. He doesn't know anything IMO.

8. Posted by Piecar (Inactive 1218 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

It is a very common thing for the family to be upset about this travelling thing. Some of it is worry....Some is envy.(on the order of `Why does he get to do this thing` I never got to!) And people who have never really travelled have a fear of the wider world. And then there is the What Are You Gonna Do Wid Your Life! Thing.

But it is common and you shouldn`t worry about it.

21 is a GREAT age to travel....I did my first hitchhiking trip across Canada at 17. I really wasn`t mature enough to do it. By 21 you should have your wits about you.

Good luck out there. Have a blast.


9. Posted by pau_p1 (Respected Member 216 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

yes I think it is normal.. well. more for people living here in Asia, I think who has a more tightly knit family relations where children stay in their parents place until they marry... well.. some even stay even longer...

anyways.. 21 is a great age for someone to explore the world while he is young and still adventurous... but parents would probably be against this as they would think that would his kid be safe in the long time he will be out of their site... will he be mature or groomed enough to face all the possible risks of travelling... and lastly the parent must be worried of what future will his kid have after he spends a lot of many and time in travelling, instead of building his career for his future family..

10. Posted by fernanda.k (Budding Member 7 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi there!
I think your family concern is first with your safety. You'll be far from their sight and if anything happens to you who's gonna take care of you? Will you be able to solve the problems that you WILL find? You see, for parents it's a natural thing to protect their children. Even if they are not kids anymore... And they might think you should be thinking about more imortant things... Like working, studing, growing up... But I think travelling is a great way to start life. The things you see and learn, the people you meet... Nothing can beat that. 21 years is a great age to see the world, in my opinion. I'm 29 and just started with my trips around... When I was about 18 I used to travel to close cities not more than 500 km from home. Than I took some trips inside my (huge) country with friends and alone... Now I've been to Chile, Argentina and will be in Peru by the end of the month.
I don't know how's your life in Ireland, but in Brazil whe don't usually take big trips, like for months or years. We travel on our vacation (usually one month), so don't use to stay away for too long.
But my family (and friends) are always concerned...
If you allow me some advices... plan you trip carefully. And at least for the first two weeks, book your hostels and all. Write it down and show it two your folks. But don't make a fuzz while doing it. If you show them that you're taking it seriously, they'll probably see how important it is to you.
Good luck!!