How to Handle Your Parents While Abroad

Now we all know that no one wants to worry about their parents while venturing through ancient cities in Europe or swimming in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, but lets be honest, they still exist even if they aren’t on the same continent. We’ve all been there; mom or dad hands you a couple of extra calling cards before you’re about to jump on the plane just to make sure you have ample resources to call home at every possible chance you get. While this may be a bit overboard, we have developed a quick “How to Survive Parents While Abroad” guide to help you enjoy your time overseas while also keeping your parents happily informed!

It’s a great idea to establish some expectations when it comes to communication with your parents before you leave. Although it would be excessive, never mind expensive(!), to call everyday, it’s a good idea to check in while you are traveling since this will probably be when your parents are the most worried about your safety. Agree to call once you’re settled into your hotel or hostel at your destination, before you head out on the town, and perhaps once you return safely back at home after the trip is over. These are two easy check points that won’t disrupt your weekend while assuring mom and dad that all is well.  Since calling can be an expensive form of communication while abroad, email can be a great alternative! Use your university’s computers or wireless Internet to send mom and dad a quick hello during the week. These are quick and easy, and are sure to keep mom and dad content while you’re away.

Now that we have established how to deal with parents while living overseas, lets tackle a bigger, potentially more embarrassing task: how to handle your parents when they visit. Don’t be scared – they WILL visit, they WILL want to meet all your new friends, and they WILL want to go everywhere and see everything, and all for the same reason they’ve been telling you for years: “because we love you!”

The biggest advice we can give you is: be patient! Although all the sights and attractions are part of everyday life for you, they are very new and very exciting for your parents and family. Take them around to your favorite places and “must see” spots by being their tour guide, but don’t feel like you have to hold their hand around the entire city everyday. I am sure they would be happy to wander around and find things on their own while you took a break to hang out with your friends. Having your family visit you abroad is a great opportunity to show off the places you have come to learn and love. Be sure to showcase your new city skills or a favorite spot that only the locals know of, it will only make their trip even more memorable. And don’t forget to enjoy their company!