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jeje977 Jan 3rd, 2017 04:07 PM

How to convince my parents...
Hello everyone!

I am 19 years old, and I recently dropped out of college because I did not like what I was doing. I decided to take the next semester off, and I am planning on doing a solo travel. I have travelled in groups and with my parents before, but this will be my first trip alone if everything goes as planned. I want to leave, and spend the month of February backpacking in the South of France. However, I have one problem: how do I convince my parents?

Telling them that I was dropping out of college went well, they understood the situation I was living. But telling them that I wanted to spend a whole month in France didn't go as planned... They did tell me that they couldn't do much about it, but I feel that leaving them worried isn't quite right...

They believe that France is a now a very dangerous place because of the terrorist attacks. I would like to know, how could I convince them that going on a trip isn't a bad thing? Also, if you've ever travelled alone in France, how was it? Anything I should know? Or even if you're at a young age, how did you tell/convinced your parents?

Your help and travel stories are appreciated!

Thank you :)


JoJoSiestaKey Jan 3rd, 2017 04:22 PM

Are you funding this trip yourself?

Sit down with your parents and lay out your plan with them and ask for their blessing.

StuDudley Jan 3rd, 2017 04:31 PM

You are more likely to get killed in the US than in France. Would your parents let you visit the US??? How many killed in Chicago this year??

From the New York Times a few years ago:

Assault deaths per 100,000
France... 0.8

Stu Dudley

janisj Jan 3rd, 2017 04:38 PM

>>how do I convince my parents?<<

You can't -- their worries are . . . <i>their</i> worries and you can't make them like the idea. But tell them they raised a sensible / trustworthy child and it is time fly out of the nest a bit. (That is assuming you are paying for the trip yourself)

>>They did tell me that they couldn't do much about it, but I feel that leaving them worried isn't quite right…<<

They obviously know you are an adult, and it is your decision -- They are going to worry no matter. So it is up to you to decide if you are 'old' enough to shoulder the 'guilt' knowing they are worried. Since you can't make them like the idea - the ball is in your court.

If you pre book all your accommodations and promise to stay out of places like nightclubs - that will probably ease their fears a little)

sundriedtopepo Jan 3rd, 2017 04:57 PM

If they are uncomfortable with the south of France, why not ask them for suggestions on where they feel you might be safer. Maybe you can come to a compromise. At the least, they will see that you are trying to show consideration for their feelings. That goes a long way with parents.

denisea Jan 3rd, 2017 05:00 PM

If you are funding this yourself and have been responsible and have a track record of making good decisions, then I would lay out your plan with them. Remind them of some examples of your decision making skills and also develop a plan to stay in touch with them, while away.

I think your parents will come around and you can also discuss how a trip like this can help you grow as a person, broaden your horizons, etc...what do you want to get out of your time away? Share that with them.

nytraveler Jan 3rd, 2017 05:35 PM

You're 19 - you don;t ned their permission to do anything - unless it's their money. In that case you have a problem.

I didn't ask my parents anything after I was 17 because I was self-supporting - I told that what I was going to do - including going to europe with my BF for 6 weeks the summer I was 19. But since I was paying it really wasn't their business. I called when I arrived (many years ago) so they knew I was fine and send postcards after that.

If your parents have unreasonable fears there is little you can do. If they are logical fears you can explain to them your plans and how you will be avoiding problems and that you will stay in touch (easy free now with email).

I hope you have a solid plan for your trip, what you want to see and do, worked out a budget, brushed up on at least basic French (greetings and polite phrases). And point out that this is routine for european kids from the age of 16 or 17.

But at the end - if it's their money not much you can do.

Sassafrass Jan 3rd, 2017 07:41 PM

It shows some maturity and thoughtfulness that you are concerned about your parent's worries. Bravo for that.

Maybe I missed it, but are you a young man or young woman? It won't really matter, but curious, and that might influence your parents' concern.

Are you going back to the same school when you return? Will you start back in Summer or wait until Fall semester? In other words, have you made any plans for after the trip? Decide when and where you will return to school (if you can possibly do that). At some schools you must have permission to be out a semester. Check on that. If you are going someplace else, get the paperwork done. This shows you are being responsible. Your parents might feel better if you are making decisions now that guarantee the trip will be of benefit.

Do you personally have enough money saved to do it entirely on your own? If not, postpone the trip (good idea anyway because of weather). Get a job right now! Don't spend a dime on anything you do not absolutely need. Save every penny. You should have enough to pay for the trip yourself! This shows maturity, determination and self-reliance.

Are there any friends or family who might meet up with you for a few days while you are there? That would be some reassurance that you have a bit of support at some point.

Why South of France in Feb? Doesn't seem like a great time to go there.
Take the trip after you have saved the money and before you return to school. You would have time to plan and make choices and show your parents you have the fortitude to work and wait for something you want.

As to safety, that is an issue everywhere. Just promise your parents you will stay as aware as possible and avoid big gatherings. Nothing more you could do, either in the US or in Europe.

greg Jan 3rd, 2017 07:41 PM

You have not articulated the objective of your trip, at least in your posting. Even with minimum risk, a significant venture without clearly identified rewards would likely to be resources, time and money, ill spent. I think this is one lesson you might need to intake at this point. Whether going to college or traveling, if you have not thought about what you think you are getting out of it, validating as much assumptions as possible before you spend a lot of your resources, you will end up at a dead end, whether you realize or not. Some trips would pay you back many times over while other trips are just a time off now.

Regarding convincing anything to adults, or youth for that matter, facts and data would not convince them. Decision is usually made emotionally. That is why con men do better than honest people. There are a small handful data driven people who look at evidences over what seems logical but isn't so in reality. Very few people are of this type. When I tell anyone around me about going to Europe, they are astonished by I would go to such "dangerous" places. The data is unmistakable. US is several times to an order of magnitude more dangerous than most places in Europe. However, so called educated people continue to believe at face value by what is told without doing any fact checking.

kerouac Jan 3rd, 2017 08:02 PM

Most parents will worry no matter where you go. There's nothing you can do about it except prove them wrong after the fact.

kja Jan 3rd, 2017 09:00 PM

I don't mean to sound insensitive, but at age 19, you are old enough to be asked -- or even required -- to fight and die for your country in many parts of the world, including many industrialized "first world" countries. Unless you are depending on your parents to support this trip financially, or to support you before or after because you plan on depleting your resources to take this trip, it really isn't their business. You are to be commended for being sensitive to their concerns and to try to find a way to allay their fears, but at some point, you and they need to agree that you aren't a child anymore.

Of course, if you are dependent upon them, that's a very different beast....

Either way, I agree that appeals to emotion are more likely to resolve a conflict that is ultimately most likely driven by emotions than appeals to reason. JMO.

Good luck!

StCirq Jan 4th, 2017 07:43 AM

As a general rule, you are far safer anywhere in Europe than most anywhere in the USA. People here don't go around shooting each other on a regular basis.

You're 19, seem to be a reasonable and thoughtful person, and are obviously and rightly concerned about your parents' feelings. But you can and should go wherever you want to (if you're paying for it). My daughter traveled all over Italy and France when she was 17 and 18 and did just fine - European kids do this as a matter of course. It's not at all novel or outrageous.

All that said, I can't think of many good reasons to go to the south of France in February, probably the least pleasant month of the year there. There are many, many better options if a solo trip to Europe is your goal.

janisj Jan 4th, 2017 07:49 AM

I agree - maybe tell us what you hope to get from this trip. The south of France in Feb might not be what you imagine -- or maybe it is.

A more major city-centric trip (London or Paris or Amsterdam or where ever) might give you more to see/do.

Christina Jan 4th, 2017 08:20 AM

Let's face it, at 19, this means you will be taking money from someone else. No way can someone who just dropped out of college fund a trip to Europe for months on end.

Surprisingly, the OP claims the parents don't care about the money expense, etc., but the danger. I wouldn't allow a child to just drop out of college becuase they didn't like iot and then spend my money on a month long vacation.

Unless the teen is somehow independently wealthy having gotten an inheritance or something, which is not common.

I've never seeen a single 19 year old who was funding their own life that included not working and taking month long European vacations. Sometimes the semantics are that they are supposedly paying for it but that means their parents are payign for everything else in their life.

jeje977 Jan 4th, 2017 08:37 AM

Hello and thank you all for your help!

First of all, yes I am financing the trip on my own and I already have enough money to leave tomorrow for a month.

The reason why I chose France for a solo travel is because I already visited Paris for a week and I would like to visit more in this country. Also, I am from the province of Québec, Canada, which means that my mother tongue is French. Since it will be my first solo trip, I would feel safer to go to a place where we can communicate easily if anything happens. Also I wish to go in the north of Spane if I have the time.

I wish to visit museums, learn more about the French (and Spanish) culture, and meet new people from around the world! Being alone in a foreign country for me would be an experience that would help me grow in a more mature individual, that might change me in a way.

Travelling in February is a good time for me, and because it isn't the season where there's a lot of tourists, the prices drops.

Also, I will not go to the same college because I would changing fields once I come back. I plan to go back in fall so I would get to work during spring and summer. My parents are aware of what I might do when I come back (it is still unclear to me), and they are ok with my educational choices.

Thank you all!

Tulips Jan 4th, 2017 08:53 AM

Hi jeje, My 17-year old traveled by train with a friend last summer through Eastern Europe, Italy, France. Of course I worried, that's what parents do, but he had a great time.

Sounds like you are well prepared, and sensible.
France is easy - especially if you speak the language. Should you run into trouble, come back to us at Fodors and we'll try to help.

Have a great time!

bilboburgler Jan 4th, 2017 08:59 AM

I'd introduce them to Skype and similar so you can have "facetime"

Parents worry, give them ways that they can release that worry, so a daily call until they chill to weekly.

sundriedtopepo Jan 4th, 2017 09:03 AM

"I'm 19 years old. I will be going there for one month, possibly the whole month of February. For now I have near 6000$, but I didn't by the plane tickets yet. I will be backpacking, travelling by train and bus if possible, and sleeping in hostels. I am thinking about visiting the big cities such as Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier, Marseille, Canne, Nice, Lyon, and possibly the country side, the smaller cities/villages on the way."

From the OP's other thread. He is from Montreal.

Jeje I like your list of cities you would like to visit. I agree with above posters that you need to sit down with your parents, show them a solid plan, highlight the possible benefits of your travel, arrange to keep in touch, and make sure you have budgeted enough money.

Do some research on how to keep yourself safe. Discuss with your parents. Although we as parents are accustomed to wanting to protect our children, we also know that our job is to help them grow to be independent, responsible young people, and that we also have to take risks in letting go and feeling secure that we have given them a good start in life. Hopefully up to this point you have established this good standing with your folks.

It's a plus that you speak French, although the French might not agree ;)

When my youngest daughter first graduated from high school, she decided that she was going to Dominican Republic for 3 months over the winter. Depending on who you talk to, DR is a safe/very dangerous place.

I felt nervous letting her go, but was okay with it, because she was going with a friend, was a responsible young lady, and had some contacts and a plan where she would stay.

She learned a lot from that trip and came home a more mature person, and ready to move on with her life.

I'm sure you will learn things on this trip that you cannot even anticipate, but you must have some idea of what you want to accomplish. Give it some thought and communicate that to your parents in a calm and respectful way. Best wishes to you.

Tulips Jan 4th, 2017 09:05 AM

Nice can be quite pleasant in February. There's a carnival, not sure of the dates.

sundriedtopepo Jan 4th, 2017 09:08 AM

Oops, I was writing my post while you were posting. Have a great trip. Your reasoning is solid.

I hope you do get to go to Northern Spain for a bit. It's a totally different culture; you might really love it.

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