So you’ve chosen a country, you’ve done your research, you have enough funds and you practically have one foot out of the door already except you still have to ask your parents if you can go alone. Maybe you’re young or your parents are just strict. I’ve been there, I know exactly how you feel.
I remember the first time I told my dad I wanted to backpack Indonesia alone, he flatly refused to let me go. I spent the whole summer reading about Bali and I wanted to go so bad even though the odds weren’t in my favor. I just transitioned from doing business to doing business and law, how was I going to convince my dad I had time and money to go on a solo holiday? My dad knew I was going to go regardless (I am his daughter, after all ;)) but I decided to convince him anyway just so he wouldn’t worry about me. I’ve been to a couple of trips before that but I went to a place where I knew someone or for a specific purpose like studying abroad. Indonesia was going to be the first country I was officially solo traveling. I put forward my case and 1 hour later, he got me a ticket to Bali himself! So how did I do it?
I. Choose a country you and your parents know
My dad lived in Jakarta and Bali before so he knew Indonesia like the back of his palm. This can be bad… or good. I could’ve chosen a country where he had never been and hence, he wouldn’t know the country’s dirty little secrets but that would only make him run to google and read about the crime rates and etc. You see, the internet has a way of exaggerating things and I couldn’t leave my fate to Google.
I made sure he knew the place so:
- I wanted him to feel reassured by personally giving me advices like places to avoid, etc.
- There’s a high chance he would know someone who can help me in case of emergency.
Also read: 5 Reasons Why You Should Solo Travel in Bali
II. State facts, do your research well
I already knew the transport system, the hotlines, routes and etc. even before I began my journey. And my dad appreciated that. Don’t go up to your parents telling them made-up stories like “I’m going with XXX and she knows XXX…” You’re not just jeopardising your chances to go on this trip but also your future trips.
- Book your accommodation in advance so you have an address to give your parents.
- Let them know you’ve done your homework. Have a list of best places to eat at, points of interest, places to avoid, etc.
III. Show examples of other solo travelers
My dad didn’t believe me when I told him there are other girls my age and even younger who have traveled the world and are still traveling the world until I showed him examples. And woah, was he amazed. He even calculated how old I’d be by the time I finished traveling 195 countries! At my pace, it’d probably take me a while though. 😉
IV. Make sure you’re well funded
If you’re still financially dependant on your parents, showing them you’ve saved money for this trip will show how serious you are about this. When I went for my trip to Indonesia, I was already earning and that reassured him that I wasn’t going to be in the streets of Indonesia without any money. I also told him how much my budget was.
- Have enough money for the trip plus couch money for extra expenditures.
- Have a realistic budget according to your spending pattern. My dad would have never been convinced if I told him I was going to be on a tight budget knowing how careless with money I used to be.
V. Be prepared
Most parents would be concerned mainly about their child’s safety. I assured my dad I was going to be safe by packing pepper spray and showing him I was smart enough to be out on my own like going back to the hostel on time.
- Start practicing being street-smart while you’re at home. Your parents know you’re not going to be magically smarter as soon as you get on that plane.
- Don’t act/pretend you’re prepared. You can’t outsmart them, they made you. Duh.
Also read: The Dirty Secrets of Traveling
VI. Stay in a hostel
I decided to stay in Nani House 2 hostel in Bali and I wouldn’t mind staying there again. Going back to safety, my dad slept better knowing I was sleeping with 5 other traveling girls in a legit, highly rated hostel. Unless you’re staying in a 5 star hotel, your case might be stronger if you stayed in a hostel because you are most likely going to be with other solo travelers. And what better way to make new friends?
The idea of being with strangers might be intimidating for some parents but this is how it helped my case:
- My budget was going to last me longer.
- The hostel I stayed at was centrally located and had good reviews by solo female travelers.
VII. Don’t go MIA.
Lets say points I-VI worked and you’re off for your first solo adventure, hooray! You still have one more thing to do though – stay in touch without being told to. This is going to be your “insurance”. Every chance I got, I sent my dad pictures of the places I’ve seen and people I’ve met. I don’t send him pictures as much anymore but it was that trip that made my dad believe I could have fun and be smart at the same time without him keeping watch.
If that still doesn’t work then your parents must have a good reason behind their decision. Maybe it’s best for you to wait until you don’t have to ask for their permission anymore or just keep trying! 😉
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