Since having parents come visit on an RTW trip is unique from other vacations, there are special considerations to keep in mind.
The following are 6 favorites that we learned from our recent experience.
Our parents kept telling us over and over again that they were "old" and "couldn't keep up with our pace" when we were planning our itinerary.
But when it came down to it, they were always the more active participants.
Unless you are at the very beginning of your journey, you're going to be exhausted nearly all the time. The go-go-go pace of the first few months fades away and you'll find yourself in a set pattern that is much slower than that of a normal 2-3 week vacation.
Your parents, on the other hand, are just getting started.
So don't be surprised if you find that you are the ones who are slow, while your parents are eager to see more of a region of the world they've never been to before.
After they leave, you may be ready for another vacation.
2) Prepare For Early Mornings
Angie's mom has a habit of getting up at around 5am each day. By the time we wake up she'll have had breakfast, a few coffees, and even gone shopping.
When traveling with parents like this, don't expect their schedules to be any different than they are at home.
We shared many accommodations (below), so we had many early wake-ups with the activities going on in the other rooms. They tried to be quiet for us to sleep in to our "late" hour of 8 or 9am, but we were often up earlier than this.
On the flip-side, if you are with family who likes to sleep in a bit too much, a bit of active planning may be necessary to ensure you are up and ready to go at a set time. After all, it is difficult enough getting 2 people out the door each morning; now you have to deal with even more!
3) Shared Accommodations Are Worth It
A splurge for you, a savings for them.
When it comes down to it, splurging for shared accommodations is the best thing to do when your parents meet up with you on an RTW trip.
We found many multi-room apartments on Airbnb for rates that were not much more than a standard hotel room. When split between two or three groups these rooms become quite affordable. Our parents' costs were reduced from $150/night to around $50/night, while we increased our budget from $40/night to match their spending.
The real perk in this is that you get to spend the whole day with your parents, even if you're in the room relaxing, watching a movie, or doing nothing.
As a side bonus, we also got to make some pretty amazing breakfasts and actually used up all the ingredients since we had to feed 6 people. That never happens when we're by ourselves. (And besides, you know you've always wanted to kill a whole pack of bacon in one go).
4) Don't Be Cheap, Buy a Meal
You're traveling for months on end and your parents raised you for a couple decades. On top of all that, they're spending thousands of dollars to come visit you.
I think you have the money to buy them a nice meal.
The problem you may end up having with this tip is that your parents may try to get you back by buying the next meal or subsequent items after that.
As much as it pains me to admit, all I wanted to do was buy my parents a meal and my dad a beer at Oktoberfest. In the end they bought us a few meals and spent far more than we did in the process. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't get them back on this one.
In any case, buying your parents a meal or two is the least you can do to say thanks for coming to visit.
5) Strike a Pose
The cameras will be in your face non-stop for the entire time. There is no way to cope, so just get used to it and smile.
6) Prepare For An Emotional Goodbye
Leaving family once to go travel is not very fun, and saying goodbye while on the road is even worse.
You get to keep on going while they have to go home to something that is not nearly as fun. Most everyone will be bummed out, and there will be a few moments of profound sadness.
While there aren't any tips to make this experience better, the main point worth considering at the end of one visit is that there can always be another.
We had so much fun with our parents that we've already told them they have to come visit us again somewhere else. There was not a request in that, more of a command. They just have to choose where.
Will they actually come visit for another two weeks with us? That remains to be seen. But traveling with our parents was a lot of fun and a welcomed break for the two of us who normally only have each other to talk to.
Did your parents visit you on your long-term journey? Where did you go and how'd it turn out? Add your tips and thoughts by joining the conversation in the comments section below!