For my time in Georgia, my parents came out to visit me for 2 weeks. As a slightly different blog post, my Mum decided to share her top tips for travelling with child (me). I added my tips to travel with parents below. Mum’s tips in black. Mine in red
1) Try to arrive on night when English football team is not playing local club, as can’t be met at airport.
Try to ensure that parent flight time coincides perfectly with Tottenham playing in Tbilisi. This is perfect excuse not to make expensive round trip to airport
2) Travel with extensive medical kit, as normally fit child is likely to suddenly need care. So is the tummy upset, bad feet, general malaise a ploy to get Mothers attention.
Make sure all slight ailments are exploited to maximum extent. Excellent tactic for inducing sympathy and reason to watch Formula 1 Grand Prix instead of go round boring museum
3) Travel light as no time to unpack suitcase as constantly on move. Hair washing, changing clothes, dressing up are things one does on ‘normal’ holidays.
Make sure parents are under no illusion that big bags containing the kitchen sink are definitely not cool
4) Be prepared for great deal less luxury as would normally be expected on holiday
Expose parents to ‘real travel’ experiences involving staying with local people rather than in bland mid range hotels. Accept that ‘couchsurfing’ may be a little far, so settle for airbnb. Ensure father’s finger clicking skills are up to date. See video below
5) Insist on some nights in good quality bed with en suite facilities and soft, new, fluffy towels. Even if this means not getting full on living with locals experience.
If parents insist vociferously on spoiling you with a ‘luxury’ experience in one of Georgia’s best hotels don’t protest too strongly.
6) You must be fit. As expected to climb mountains, run up 300+ steps, walk at fast pace in difficult terrain this might only be pavements but ones wits need to be focused on avoiding accident hazards.
Keep parents on their toes. They aren’t in the grave yet. Test them with occasional mountain to make sure they can still hack it (they can! They are like a pair of mountain goats up those hills!)
7) Carry as much cash as safely possible as child still thinks needs ice cream, drinks and other little treats as part of being out with parents.
A visit of the parents is an ideal time to indulge in as many treats as possible as a break from the normal scrimp and save tactics. Don’t miss out
8) We may have lived to a great age but really want to continue to at least see some grandchildren so when faced with hair-raising experiences, in our case driving on the roads don’t be fobbed off with “this is normal” rubbish .So when you see your life flash before you feel free to make a comment, loudly.
The Georgian approach to driving is at best ‘casual’. The combination of Georgia’s taxi drivers resolutely adhering to the ‘one hand on steering wheel whilst smoking a cigarette and talking on phone at the same time’ policy together with approaching each corner bordering sheer drop with the relish of a rally driver is an admittedly scary experience. However, to continue the rally theme, this ‘experience’ is not made any more pleasant by mother’s co-driving comments at every corner. Employ calming tactics.
9) Don’t try to be helpful as this may be construed as’ fussing’ or at least interfering about ‘what we know nothing’ don’t expect experience counts for anything.
Try not to get too exasperated, especially when suggestions venture into the realm of Internet and technology. Mum and Dad, your suggestions are much appreciated, but I won’t be appointing you as my social media advisers just yet
10) Try to enhance son’s chances of finding a wife by talking to all Georgian girls encountered – especially on mountain walks.
Don’t miss out on parents unexpected ‘pulling’ factor. Surprisingly parents can be unexpectedly useful when it comes to meeting gorgeous Georgian’s. I kept on getting told how ‘cute’ they were and how charming. Dad’s usually cringeable comments actually seemed to go down a storm here. Telling 2 lovely Georgian sisters up a mountain that his favourite thing about Georgia was the ‘beautiful women’ sent the girls into a dizzy fit of giggles. They walked the rest of the mountain with us. Thinking of bringing Mum and Dad along on some dates when I get back home.
11) Finally constantly tell offspring that you are having a wonderful time and how good it is to spend quality time together. Make sure it’s a time to remember and make the most of the opportunity.
Bit of a soppy one to finish, but despite the joking about and flippant comments above make sure to take time to really appreciate your parents! Long term solo travel is a great time for self reflection and giving you the opportunity to think about what really matters and who you really love in your life. Being so far removed from my parents over the last few months has made me appreciate just how much I love and miss them. Before I started this trip I thought I may like to travel forever and have no fixed home. I still love travel, but no longer want to do it indefinitely. Stability and family I’ve come to realise are too important to me.
Some post scripts (from Mum)
Try to placate father who is convinced son has actually gone deaf (seriously) as when he, son, is concentrating on his own personal stuff, totally ignores everything around him which obviously includes us!! (Sorry I’m an awful multi tasker!)
Do take a travelling kettle with your own tea bags, as this can be a great comfort when all else seems alien.
Don’t forget the life saving GIN which can always be slipped into an orange juice to calm a difficult situation. For those of us (parents generation) who have been Girl Guides and Scouts will know the importance of being prepared for anything!
(It also was creature comfort which I asked they bring. Gin is bloody expensive here!)