Ok, Parents (and I say that with all respect, note the capital P) it’s time to hand the iPad/Laptop/Computer screen over to your kids for a bit. This post isn’t for you, it’s for them.
Pssst, Kids. Are your parents gone? Look behind you, again. We’re safe?
Travel is an absolute blast, especially to foreign countries. Really! Check out these reasons why:
This one might not seem cool right now but just wait until you are out on your own. Free travel is the BEST travel. I know, you might not always get to go where you want, so try working the “one for them, one for me” routine. Agree, ever so begrudgingly, to go to the museums of Paris while throwing in, at the last minute, “But next time, can we please visit Lego City in Amsterdam?” As you are kinda at their mercy, crafty negotiating is important to visiting sites you want to see. It’s a mix, though. You can’t always take the “I hate this” tack. You need to mix it up and maybe, just maybe, be really interested in something your parents are interested in. Getting along is a great way to get your way in travel. Just remember, if you want true travel freedom, you’ll have to pay for it. Get as much free travel in while you can.
In case you didn’t know, different countries have different money. And if you’re from the USA, just about every country out there has cooler looking money that we do. Just check out this example from Peru.
Let’s face facts; as much as I don’t want to admit it, you probably like to brag to your friends about being cooler in one way or another. If you’re not one of those kids, please have your parents give me a call, I want to know their secrets. But kids go through bragging phases and you’re no different, are you? Well, let’s tick off the things you get to brag about by looking at a quick trip to Europe followed by how you would brag during a typical school day:
- Homeroom – “Getting up at 5:30am is so much easier when you’re on Europe time.”
- Algebra – “Can we go over some of the Diophantine equations this semester? I’ve been interested in them since visiting his Greek homeland.” (WARNING: this, as you can tell, is bordering on the verge of brownnosing. Use only in extreme circumstances, such as impending doom of getting detention.)
- Science – “I already learned a lot about natural selection when I visited Down House, Darwin’s home and laboratory for 40 years.” (WARNING: Again, bordering on brownnosing but easily navigated back to ‘cool’ by showing pictures of carnivorous plants you saw there.)
- Lunch – “They call these Dopple-Cheeseburgers in German McDonalds and they taste way better than this slop.” Even if your cafeteria hamburgers taste better, lie.
- Post Lunch Break – “You ever been to the Red Light District in Amsterdam?”
- Spanish Class – “Soy ciudadano de los Estados Unidos. No la cárcel, por favor.”
- PE – “This track is not nearly as cool as the one I visited at Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, the site of the first modern Olympics”
As with any amount of bragging, you run the risk of people hating you. As with any amount of being a teenager, you run the risk of people hating you. You see the problem and the liberation here?
Meet New Friends
Chances are your friends here at home are fairly one or two dimensional. I mean, you might have all grown up together living pretty much the same life in the same area. New people come and go as their parents move into town or out, but on the whole, you’re all kinda the same. Travel will give you some cool new friends to augment the normal cast back home. You don’t have to drop your old friends, but you can make new ones as you go and stay in touch via the internet. And with new friends come new opportunities. Consider these:
- 10 years from now, when you’re traveling on your own, these friends in distant places will likely give you a place to stay, saving money (see #1 above).
- Friends in foreign lands can give you a different view of world events. If all you see is US news, you need another point of view.
- Foreign friends can help you with language skills. Specifically, the type of language skills which will get you a date in a foreign country or with cute foreign exchange students at home.
- Friends in Germany may let you drive their Porsche when you visit. This is not the ONLY reason to make friends in Germany (or Italy) but it should seriously be considered. You know there is no speed limit on the Autobahn, right?
Ok, I’m going to get all Uncle Peter on you for a minute. The cool Uncle Peter. The one who let you have some of his beer last 4th of July? Yeah, that’s me. I’m not your parents and I’m not going to tell what you have to and can’t do. I do know that having an open mind on topics, people, geology, ANYTHING will help you greatly as you move through school and eventually enter the world at large. The more you see of this country and others, the better adapted you will be to have fun, make money or do whatever else you want to in this world. The more languages you learn, the better you will be able to find your way and make friends. The more math you learn the better you can bargain and save money (read: travel longer).
But I’ll warn you; the more you learn about the world around you, the more you will want to explore it. You will, likely, not fit into the mold of 9-5 worker with 2.4 kids and a mortgage. The wonders found while traveling are like a drug and you must be careful. “Once you start down the Dark Path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” Listen to Yoda. The original Yoda, not the new Yoda that does flips and shit.
Things You Can Do To Trick Your Parents Into Traveling Your Way
Now that you want to start down the Dark Path, you will be best served by having your parents pay for your travel as long as possible. For some of you this means up to age 18. If you are lucky enough to get free travel past this point, MILK IT!
- Suggest to your parents that you’d like to skip going to Disneyland like all the other drones (make sure your friends are not in earshot at this point, especially if you want to go on THEIR trip to Disneyland because, face it, you’re still a drone too). Can your family spend a week in Mexico or Costa Rica staying with a family and taking a Spanish immersion class? This serves multiple goals: 1) Makes you look like you really want to learn. 2) Gets you better Spanish lessons than you’ll learn in school. 3) Increases the odds that you’ll learn to swear in Spanish when learning from others your age. 4) Much better chance of sampling good tequila in Mexico than in Detroit.
- Using the One For Them, One For Me method, suggest a number of museums you would like to see on your listed itinerary. Mask these as museums you’ll see “for them”. See how we work this? Then you are free to pick your own highlight as well. Your parents are easily duped this way. Just make sure not to pick things like the Sex Museum, even if you really want to go. Your parents will see right through your game at this point.
- Download as many useful travel apps as you can to your iPhone/Droid/Whateveriscoolnow (Such as these, or these, or these, or these). Show them how you can help navigate, find cheap places to stay and save money. Parents, it seems, care about money and saving it. You need to play to this. Pick a spot you want to go and skew the numbers in your favor. Want to go skiing in the Alps? Find cheap eats in Switzerland and show them how expensive, by way of comparison, an African safari is.
That’s all I have for now, Kids. I wish you the best in duping your parents into taking you to as many far flung, exotic locations (compared to where you are now, everything is exotic) as you can before you have to pony up your own cash. Good luck and may the Force be with you.
Are you a kid, or know of one, who has more tips for tricking parents into taking their kids traveling? Leave your suggestion in the comments section below.
Wait a second…..are you a parent??!?!? GET OUT!!