THE BLOG
09/15/2015 09:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why You Should Travel With Your Aging Parents

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One of the great joys of traveling the globe is exploring new and exciting destinations and cultures. Even exploring the town next door can yield a different perspective than you're used to seeing. But even better than the travel itself is sharing the experience with someone you love.

Many of us immediately think of taking a spouse or a friend along on our adventures. But how often have you considered inviting your parents? Although the thought of vacationing with mom or dad may not immediately appeal to you, traveling with your aging parent is a must-do experience that you definitely won't regret. Here are some great reasons why you should make plans to hit the road together.

  1. Life is short, and your parents won't be with you forever. Traveling together helps you connect with each other as adults and helps you better understand (and appreciate) your changing relationship with them throughout your lives.
  2. Even if your parents have retired from the workforce, they still need vacations! It may seem that someone who no longer has to report to a job and now has a ton of free time doesn't need to get away. But everyone could use an "escape" from his or her everyday routines!
  3. Actions do indeed speak louder than words, as the old saying goes. Asking your parent to vacation with you is one way to say "I love you!" at the top of your lungs.
  4. Because you'll need to know about your parents' health status, activity levels, medications, and other issues that could affect their ability to travel, planning a trip with your parents gives you a chance to check in with them a bit more closely than you can during your regular phone chats (and makes it a lot harder for them to use the "Everything is fine" brush-off when you ask about their health). And when you're actually on the road together (and spending a lot of time with each other), you'll get a good look at how they're functioning both physically and mentally.
  5. Asking your parents about their dream destinations--and then planning a trip there--can help you learn about their long-held goals, their bucket lists, and other things you've never known about them.
  6. Travel with aging parents may require you to adjust your usual pace to match your parents' capabilities. And that's not necessarily a bad thing: when you take it slow and easy, you take in more of your surroundings--and get even more out of your vacation experience.
  7. Traveling together gives both you and your parents an opportunity to create precious memories that you will hold dear for the rest of your lives.
Any one of those reasons should be enough to get you to start planning a trip with your parents. But if you need a bit more encouragement, here's one more reason for you to consider: if you haven't visited your parents as often as they'd like (or haven't always remembered their birthdays), a family vacation could help you get out of the doghouse with them!