Travel News

Should parents go backpacking with their teenagers?

Or would they be robbing them of the chance to do this for themselves?

Travelling as a young person is a rite of passage.

You learn how to see the world differently, put into practice everything your parents have instilled in you and learn how to fend for yourself when things get tough.

And while it may have worked for Lorelai and Rory – Gilmore Girls – should a parent really be involved in the journey or will it ruin those experiences?

That’s what one mother is asking, and the response has been overwhelmingly, yes.

“Would backpacking overseas with my teenage daughter rob her of the pleasure of discovering this for herself?,” asks the mother in a travel forum on Reddit.

“By ‘backpacking,’ I mean traveling between towns/cities and staying in hostels for a week or two, not sleeping in the wilderness. Basically your generic, well-worn backpacking trails through Central America or South East Asia or what have you.”

“I ‘discovered’ solo travel and living out a backpack well into my adulthood, and the learning process (e.g., how much I can carry, how little I need, what minimal accommodations I can stand, etc) was an integral part of the fun, and in many ways, a part of my self-discovery.

“If I take my 16 y/o with me on my next trip (we are very close and have traveled together domestically before), am I robbing her of the experience of finding out for herself?”

The consensus? Overwhelmingly, everyone who responded said it was a fantastic idea and something that every parent and teen should experience together.

“I think it’s a great introduction for her. She’ll have other things to learn on her own,” said one person.

“I wish mine had taken me travelling.”

“I’m 22 not 16 but I would have loved it if my mom had done something like this with me. My first trip abroad, i went to Sweden to study abroad and the experience was truly amazing but It wouldn’t have been any less so if I’d backpacked with my mother before hand. And besides, I would have had more experience which could have really come in handy. Also you sound like an awesome parent,” said another.

The mother has since confirmed that the pair will indeed embark on the adventure of a lifetime together.

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