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Making the decision to go on a Gap Year or a Backpacking adventure is an amazing and exciting undertaking; however for the people left behind it can be a frightening and stressful realisation. Parents find it especially hard to cope with their child’s decision to leave home for months on end, so we have created our top tips and advice for the parents left behind.
Saying goodbye to your kids is never easy, especially when you know they are going away for an extended period. Make sure you mentally prepare yourself and make the goodbye short and sweet. Remember that they are excited; don’t make them feel bad by crying hysterically and begging them not to go!
Remember, just because they are abroad does not necessarily mean that all common sense will leave them. They probably will drink alcohol and take some risks, but don’t tie yourselves in knots imagining your usually sensible child doing all kinds of crazy things. Besides, if you leave them to it they are less likely to rebel and more likely to keep you informed!
Although it may be difficult, try not to moan at them for being less than proactive about their cleanliness, unfortunately it is a part of the backpacking lifestyle. This trip is a chance for them to have an adventure, explore other cultures and grow up; this won’t happen if their parents are still reminding them to clean their teeth from thousands of miles away.
There will be a time when they are extremely homesick and you miss them and want them home, but your job is to cheer them up and remind them to follow their dreams.
On social media sites – they will not thank you and you probably don’t want to know anyway!
Obviously you want them to have money and a way to contact you in an emergency, but this trip was (most likely) their idea so you shouldn’t be left with massive bills. Look into pre-paid cards and top up phones so you can keep track of their spending.
The worst thing about your children being away from home is the fear that something will happen to them. Every now and again you do hear horror stories about young backpackers getting ill or injured, but if the trip is properly planned and researched, then in reality the danger is not much higher than in the UK. If you want to know that your child will have help and protection if they get into trouble abroad, you must get them travel insurance before they leave.
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