How I Convinced My Overprotective Asian Parents To Let Me Travel Alone

Ever since I was a young girl, travelling has always topped my to-do list. I dreamed of visiting places that I saw in the movies or places I’ve heard beautiful stories of. But, as an Asian girl, it’s no surprise that my parents are overprotective.

The thought of me travelling, especially alone, didn’t make them comfortable. Meanwhile, had I been a boy, it would have been okay. The double standards suck, but hey, you’ve got to work your way around it. And I did. 

The steps you take when planning your trip is vital. It can make or break getting your parents’ approval to jet off, and although it’s nerve-wracking, here are some things you can do before, during, and after you take that solo trip.

Before the trip

Include them in the planning process

I don’t mean let them decide where you can or cannot go. If you’ve decided on a destination, stick to it, but get them involved in picking the places you’re planning to visit while away. For instance, try to get their opinions on which accommodation would be better for you or whether a visit to Bangkok’s Chatuchak will beat shopping at Platinum Mall. 

Be transparent and firm about your plans

It pays to be frank and honest. Clue your parents in on the pros and cons of the location you intend to visit. If there are cons, how are you going to go about it? Granted, not every location is perfect, but if you show them that you’ve got solutions when a problem occurs, it will put them at ease. What I did was come up with a whole PowerPoint presentation, and when I did that, it showed them that I was serious about going on the trip and that I had done enough research on the place. 

Take steps that will assure your security 

From my experience, any parents’ biggest worry is whether or not we’re safe. To alleviate their concerns, take on the extra services that will ensure your safety. Sign up for the travel insurance (and know which package works best for you). Make sure your accommodation is in a safe neighbourhood. Little things like these will make a world of difference to them.  

Are you reading this from a parents’ point of view? Here’s how to loosen the reigns.

During the trip

I’ve got just one word for you – COMMUNICATE! One of the reasons why overprotective parents are wary about letting their (grown) children travel alone is the fact that they can’t keep tabs on you. Admittedly, this can get rather frustrating even on regular days, but take the initiative to keep communicating with them. 

It doesn’t have to be every second of the trip, but at the end of every day, send them some pictures to show what you were up to. Or send pictures of places and things that remind you of them. The latter works like a charm, trust me. 

After the trip

Share your experiences 

Now that you’re back from your holiday, talk about everything you experienced during the trip. The people you met, places you went to, funny situations you got yourself into. When they see you recounting your adventures happily, this will assure them that the trip was a good experience for you and that they made the right decision of letting you go. 

Even if they keep asking you to repeat your stories to everyone (it gets annoying, I know), just do it! Chances are, they probably just want you to relive that memory and they like seeing you talk about things that make you happy. This may also make it easier to convince them about letting you go on your next big holiday. 

Keep travel dreams in conversation 

Talk about how you dream of one day climbing up the steps in Santorini, backpacking in Sri Lanka, or getting your fill of cheese and art in Amsterdam. The more you talk about it, the more the idea is normalised. And when you do eventually bring up new travel plans, they’ll probably approve of it. 

It’s always scary to bring up the topic for the first time, especially to overprotective parents, but once you manage to convince them, the trip will be worth it! Also, convincing them will only get easier over time. 

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Aina has a major case of wanderlust—her desire to travel often ends up being solo escapades that leave her feeling revitalised. When she’s not daydreaming of her next adventure, you can find Aina cooking up a storm in the kitchen or binge watching a series of romcoms on Netflix.