How to travel with adult children


Travelling can be testing at the best of times, especially when you’re with young children. But when you throw adult children and family dynamics into the mix, it’s a whole new set of challenges.


As Christmas approaches at neck-breaking speed we thought it timely to share some key strategies for holidaying with your not-so-little offspring!


Don’t baby them
While they’ll always be your ‘baby’, remember that they will (hopefully) manage to look after themselves on a day-to-day basis without your help. Sure it’s nice if you want to spoil them a bit, but don’t feel compelled to organise or do everything for them, or revert to treating them like a child.


Set expectations
The easiest way to avoid butting heads is to be very clear about what’s expected of everyone before your trip or holiday. The benefit of travelling as a group of grown-ups is that it’s not up to the parents to coordinate everything anymore. Let them know what you’re organising and what they need to take care of themselves. Be sure to also let them know what they should bring to the table. Being clear upfront is so much better than silently raging or being resentful later on.


Let them do their own thing
While, of course, you want to maximise the time you have together, smothering grown up offspring is never a good idea. Be clear on what the plans are and allow them to participate when they want to. This allows for a nice balance and ensures everyone gets their space as well.


On the flip side, don’t compromise on your plans to accommodate them all the time either. It’s a two-way street and if they’re constantly running late or messing up what you had organised, press on without them. As they say, tough love.


Don’t split the bill
There’s no need for you to pick up the tab all the time, after all you’ve done for them for so long! However, that said, like any trip, splitting every bill down to the last cent doesn’t usually foster an atmosphere of peace and harmony. Take turns in picking up the bill so the cost gets shared around without the need for any heated discussions.


Get separate rooms
This one is hopefully a no brainer … just like it probably wasn’t ideal to have your kids sandwiched between you and your partner when they were small, sharing a room with adult offspring is also far from ideal. Not only will you literally be on top of each other but the scope for arguments over the bathroom / bedtime / someone snoring is simply not worth it. Get your own rooms and enjoy having some peace and quiet in between all that bonding time.


Finally, when in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to think ‘what did Chevy Chase do in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’? And then do the dead opposite.


Related articles:
Choosing the right travel companion
Are you a good travel buddy?
Family travels – or travails?

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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