We’ve all been there, desperately wanting to travel the world, ride a Vespa through the streets of Italy, surf the waves of Hawaii, befriend monkeys in Malaysia; but, for those of us who reside under the sovereignty of the familial matriarch and patriarch, it is they who determine the fate of our travel excursions. Unless your parents are of the #SoLit persuasion, chances are your travel hopes and dreams will be vanquished with a resounding, soul-crushing ‘no’.
Having recently gotten that long-awaited ‘yes’, I bring you tales from the other side. It’s just like all those who came before us described. You make new friends, you have moments of deep reflection, and you get major badass credit for traveling solo.
How I did it, you ask? Well, at first I went the old fashioned way – incessant begging. And like they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try again! And so I begged some more. [Un]surprisingly, all that got me was a shebsheb square to the face. So, it was back to the drawing board for me. And in my moment of desperation, I declared “drawing board, drawing board on the wall, how the hell can I go to Nuweiba and have a ball?”
And it said…
CHOOSE THE RIGHT EXPERIENCE
via AISEC Egypt
You probably know your parents’ boundaries better than anyone, and which plans they likely will or won’t approve. Going to India alone for an undetermined time to see where the wind takes you and “like, really find yourself” – no dice. Going to India for a month-long volunteering gig – yes dice. So, if the former was your vibe, maybe pitch it as “I’m going to India to find myself...with a search party provided by a reputable volunteering organization.” By doing that, you can provide your parents with something concrete, and not just have it all up in the air. That being said, you can nearly always find alternative means of reaching your desired destination if you do the right…
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCHThough a pretty ‘no, duh’ part of planning any trip, but, under the circumstances of having to pitch it to your parents, you have to hike up your research game exponentially. I’m not saying know your destination’s population and annual GDP (though some trivia could be a welcome surprise for your parents mid-proposal), but maybe reassure them about the area you’re staying in, tell them the activities you plan on taking part in, and maybe throw in some recent crime statistics – if they’re low! – for good measure. By hitting your parent’s with #facts, you help give them an idea of your destination while also showing them that you know your shit.
FIND A REFERENCEvia Hussam Abd
Of course, this option depends on your social butterfly skills and how popular your destination is. Need a reference for Thailand? Good luck picking just one. Need one for Uzbekistan? Well, that one may take a while. But, if you’re so lucky as to zero in on a reference, milk them for every imaginable fact. I’m talking where they went, where they slept, what they wore, who they met. Treat this like the regular interrogation your parents give you when you come back from a khrooga. As awkward as it may seem, it helps to provide your parents with a frame of reference because they can view them as a guinea pig for your desired destination.
START OUT SMALLThough this approach will significantly slow down your travel plans, it helps to have a résumé of past travel experiences within a comfortable distance of your parents, or at least somewhere they’re familiar with. For example, start off with short trips to local places. Maybe hit up Ras Sudr for a kite surfing weekend, or camp out in Wadi Degla (the actual protectorate, not el nadi) for a few nights. You get some agency while also giving your parents peace of mind that you’re within a close range of them. Note: ‘local trips’ will vary greatly depending on how strict your parents are; it could be a trip to the koshk at the end of the street or a trip to Alexandria – but hey, a trip’s a trip!
CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR TRIP'S FINANCINGvia Christine Roy
We can’t all be trust fund babies, but we’ve still got generous tetas who give 3edeya money that can go straight into our travel budgets. Traveling anywhere that extends beyond the aforementioned koshk is bound to be costly; so, if you can contribute to your trip in any way, do so – maybe you can cover your airfare or your additional spending money while on your trip. By doing this, you lessen the one-two punch to your parents of “let me go on this trip you’re not too crazy about” and “oh, and you have to pay for it, too.” So, if you’re deadset on that trip to Spain, get creative and maybe start a GoFundMe campaign, sell an organ, become a Make-A-Wish kid, or – the good old-fashioned way – grand larceny.
SHARE ALL CONTACT INFORMATION
If you’ve made it this far into the process and finally gotten your trip approved, first of all, alf mabrook; second, make sure to leave any and all contact information with your parents. Seriously, anyone who’s part of your trip and has a phone, email, or fax machine (one that isn’t featured in an antique museum), leave their details with your parents. As embarrassing as it may be to have to warn someone that your mama might call to ask if you ate the ma7shy she snuck into your bag, it’s better than her filing a missing person’s report because you didn’t call her back when you said you would.
CALL YO MAMA!
via Chad Madden
Something we’re all guilty of forgetting, but seriously, check in as often as you can with the family – let them know that you’re ok, what you’re up to, and so on. Also, how naïve of you to think your mama wouldn’t haul her amees-nom-clad self to wherever the hell you are, with a shebsheb in hand ready to embarrass you in front of all your friends. Amateur!
Before you bust out the corkboard and start hanging up all kinds of pictures connected by red thread, I have a final piece of advice:
To improve the chances of your parents saying yes, you need to exhibit a certain level of maturity to your parents on the regs. Things like coming home at 3 AM when your curfew was at midnight, constantly losing your phone, and generally being incapable of taking care of yourself don’t give a particularly good image of you as a traveler. In your parents' eyes, a missed curfew could very well be a missed flight, a lost phone could be a passport, and inability to care for yourself becomes starvation because you didn’t pack enough Indomie. Minimize that image of yourself by giving them a regular glimpse of what it would be like if you really were left to travel alone. And, trust me, this is coming from someone who was frequently late to work when they live two buildings down from their workplace.
And on that note, you may proceed with your corkboard hanging and unspooling antics.