How To Convince Your Parents To Let You Run Away & Travel The World

by The Runaway Guide on December 16, 2012

If you want to hit the open road and explore the world but have douche bags for… I mean parents who are very much opposed, this article is for you.

Whether you believe that talking to them would be a waste of time or whether you have already argued for hours, convincing your parents to let you backpack the world without a body guard or GPS implant is tough. If you think you can handle the guilt of putting your parents through unimaginable worry, anguish, depression and dishonor, you could just run away without a word. However, this is a pain I know first hand and can tell you that it isn’t the way to go. Therefore, no matter how you think you’re parents might react, it is in your best interest to at least try to convince them to let you go. It is a first step that I highly recommend.

In the following guide, you will learn how to present the best possible argument to your parents. Although they may still say no in the end, if you still decide to leave, at least they saw it coming.

Why Parents Don’t Want You To Travel

newark-airport-departure-runaway-guide

In order to understand how to convince your parents to let you travel, you have to understand their reasons for objecting.

Simply put, your parents love you. Even if you think they don’t, they do love you. No parent doesn’t feel at least some love for their child. It is this love that motivates 2 fundamental concerns.  They are these concerns that you must familiarize yourself with. You must be able to comprehend their perspective in depth and on every level. Only then will you be able to present a significant and meaningful counter argument.

1)   Parents Are Worried For Your Safety

This is a Parents biggest concern and the one with most bearing. It makes sense that after looking after you your entire life that they wouldn’t want you to leave. I know it sounds corny, but try and imagine how you would feel if you were in their shoes.

2)   Parents Are Worried For Your Future

Not only are they concerned about you’re immediate safety but they are also equally as concerned for your life path, happiness, and success. In order to allay these concerns, you must assure them that traveling will contribute to the success of your future.

To do this, you need to approach them with the following:

 1) Specify a mode of communication while on the road.

Skype-backpacker-grandma

Be sure to give them specifics on how you will contact them whether it be an international phone, Skype, or email. I generally assure them that I will keep Skype on as much as possible.

2) Outline a plan

a route of my travels in eatern europe

For this, try presenting a diagram of where exactly you will be going. Also, be sure to tell them how long you want to be away for. You don’t have to stick to it, but it’s a good idea to have some idea for both you and your parents sake. These days, I usually just tell which continent, which direction and how long, but you should definitely be more precise if it’s your first time.

3)  Prove how you will support yourself

eating pork sandwich while travel blogging

Unless you have saved up sufficient funds, this is going to be the hardest part to sell. One way to convince them is by starting a travel blog and illustrating how others have supported themselves in this way. A second but less ideal option is to highlight the success of vagabonds of the past such as Jack Kerouac. However, if you are serious about convincing you’re parents, you are going to have to save up at least some money. Definitely don’t tell them about how you plan to hitchhike, dumpster dive, hop trains, and sleep on the street ;)

4) Demonstrate a high degree of confidence and maturity

drunken-backpacker-sleeping-with-beer

It is critical that you portray yourself as committed to your travel plans. You must also demonstrate a healthy level of confidence and maturity that won’t be confused with ignorance or naivety. Falling asleep in your room while cradling a bottle are luxuries  to hold off on for the time being. There will be plenty of time for all of that once you hit the road.

5) Illuminate the benefits of travel

japanese-rap-speech-gaijin-japan

For this, depending on your situation, you can chose from a variety of themes. You could present an elaborate monologue on how, with the lack of  any coming to age ceremonies in modern society, traveling will represent a right of passage that will inspire confidence within you. You could also make the point of how some of the greatest writers and thinkers, such as Jack Kerouac, were vagabonds. Finally, if you are interested in a future international job, you could explain how travel will represent an invaluable education, enabling enhanced language and social skills.

Now that you have allayed your parents concern for your safety and future,

it is time to land the finishing blow.

crazy-hippie-dance

Chances are your parents did some traveling in their youth too. Even if they didn’t travel, they definitely did some wild and crazy shit. So definitely be sure to use this to your advantage. Second, remind them how they felt in their youths. Finally, assure them that the world has become much safer place, which with the advancement of technology and governance throughout the world, it assuredly has.

Conclusion

mother-son-hugging

In order to form a substantial counter argument, it is essential that you understand your parents perspective. You must make sure that you address all their concerns as stated above and do so with a level of maturity. This means being informed, having a plan for your trip and having a plan for your future. Your plans don’t have to be perfect, just good enough to be convincing.

Although you could run away from home with out so much as a note, it just isn’t worth it. Not only will you feel terrible but you will put your parents through a hell you could never imagine. As a result, your best bet is to try and convince them to let you travel. The worst that could happen is they say no. In which case, you can still hit the road anyway if you want to. The best that could happen is that they support you and your dreams. They might even throw in a bit of change as well.

Prepare your argument, have no fear, and present it to your parents. You never know until you try.

Good luck and Persuasive Arguments,

Leif

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Ham April 8, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Hey Leif.
Your blog inspires me so much. I’m 24 and i need to get out of this country, Singapore.
But the only thing thats getting in between me and the world is my family. Do you feel guilty when you ran?
And one more thing, is it recommended to travel the world with a partner or solo?

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The Runaway Guide April 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Hey Ham, thanks! Glad you like it. I felt terribly guilty to be honest. I prefer traveling solo for the freedom. But check out this guide, The Pros & Cons Of Traveling Alone.

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Jacob March 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm

hey leif! (hope i spelled your name right!) I’ve been thinking about travel ever since i went to europe on vacation when i was about nine. (i’m now fourteen). my parents are divorced and i think running away would be a godsend for me. when i talk to my mom about it, though, she asks the questions: “how will you find shelter?” “how will you find food?” Questions like those she asks every time i bring it up. What should i tell her?

I know she loves me a lot but i have that urge to travel and see the world, try and get over my depression, etc.

my question to you is; “you’ve jumped trains and gotten into hotels for little or no money. Would pickpocketing and stealing be a good way to get money, food, etc or should i do it as honestly as i can?

Thanks,

Jacob S.

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The Runaway Guide March 26, 2014 at 10:11 am

Hey Jacob,
Yup that’s right, it’s pronounced (Layf).
To be honest, you really ought wait.
I hate to say it, but you’re still pretty young.
The truth is, 4 years will go by fast.
Use this time now to figure out what it is you want to do with your life.
And once the time comes, you’ll have your whole life to runaway and travel.
Stealing is the worst Karma, and I really don’t recommend it even if you haven’t eaten in days.
If you can’t find happiness at home, it won’t matter where you go.
Stay strong and stick it out. The more you suffer the more enlightened and stronger you become.
Good luck!
-Leif

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Thinking January 3, 2014 at 1:35 am

Although I’m not ready to travel yet, I hope to soon, probably after high school. One concern I have is college. Wouldn’t it be extremely difficult to travel? I plan to attend college, and would like to know if I would have to hold of on traveling until after I graduate, and how difficult it would be to do both.

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The Runaway Guide January 13, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Actually college probably gives you the best opportunity to travel. You can easily take a year off after your first year and then in your 3rd or 4th year you could sign up for a study abroad and maybe even get a scholarship.

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sophie November 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Ok i tried this but it didn’t work so what should I do?

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The Runaway Guide November 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

Try to refine your argument and give it another shot in a few weeks.
Good luck :)

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Juho November 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Hey! For long time i have been dreaming about traveling the world. I have been planning it, but something has allways kept me from doing it. Parents, lack of money etc. Then i accidentaly found your blog (I was serching words “Hookah” and “Hashish” from google). When i was reading your blog i suddenly realised that there is nothing keeping me from doing the same as you. Your blog gave me the Gourage. I Will start my journey after christmas and i will fly to spain and travel from there all across the europe. I just wanted to thank you, Leif, you probably saved my life. God bless you on your journeys.

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The Runaway Guide November 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Hi Juho,
I’m really happy to hear it!
Let me know if you ever need travel advice!
Cheers,
Leif

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Anais March 9, 2013 at 11:22 am

Heyy (: I just recently discovered your site and its really helpful. This article was great. Although I already talked to my mom about it she was okay with it. Sadly though I can’t travel the world.

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The Runaway Guide March 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Hey Anais, one day soon, one day soon!

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Peter Lee January 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

Nice article once again! It is important to convince parents before going on a trip. They worry a lot and are seldom assured about your capacities to handle situations. They will never mind you going on a trip if they are sure you’ll take care of your safety, health and general wellbeing.

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The Runaway Guide January 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Thanks Peter! Yup. parents will always be parents.

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Hannah January 8, 2013 at 12:42 am

I have to ask, how did you get from New York to London with no money?

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The Runaway Guide January 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

Hey Hannah, I saved up 1000$ before I left, but I spent it within a week ><

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Gabrielle December 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Hey man, I wanted to know where was your home when you ran away at 16. Are you from the states? And what did your parents think about that? I’m curious, thanks

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The Runaway Guide January 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Im from New York. As you might expect my parents were pissed and very worried.

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Anna December 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

Thank you for the guide, I think it will be very helpful in my future. At fourteen, I doubt I’d be able to convince my parents and I would like to finish high school before I become a world traveler. In the meantime, I do love reading your blog and guides :)

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The Runaway Guide December 30, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hei Anna,
I’m glad you enjoy it and find it useful.
Yea, it’s a good idea to wait until you’re older.
Let me know if you need travel advice when the time comes :)

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Charlie December 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Hey Man, When you wrote this did you have teenage or adult runaways in mind?, Charlie.

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The Runaway Guide December 17, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Hey Charlie,
Yea, I wanted it to be helpful for teenagers and also older/college age kids who want to go backpacking.

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Vera December 17, 2012 at 6:16 am

Cool post:)! Not that my parents ever opposed me from travelling… They send me from my home country Germany to Canada for a year when I was 16, and have always supported my siblings and me to hit the road and see stuff (though hitch-hiking and dumpster-diving would maybe not have met their approval:)). Imagining myself being a parent though, I would likely be incredibly anxious that something might happen to my kid, and therefore have issues letting him/her wander off. Scary idea. But the more I get around, the more I feel that people are just one big family, and will more likely watch out for you than try to harm you. On that note: what usually goes down very well with parents is travelling with a friend. Or a sibling. Makes for better fights on the road, too:P.

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The Runaway Guide December 17, 2012 at 11:00 am

You’re parents sound like the opposite of most, pretty cool. I think I will be the same with my kids, though I will be anxious as well. It’s so true, people are people everywhere. Right, that’s a good point, I should include that traveling with someone will help ease their concern.

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Belle December 17, 2012 at 12:31 am

Loved this article! However one other great factor that could be used in persuading parents is that the global economy is not in a great way and so many countries have high unemployment which in turns means, there will never be a greater time to hit the road and travel whilst the economy heals! That way, when you return, jobs will hopefully be plentiful!

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The Runaway Guide December 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

Not a bad point at all. Good call, thanks for the suggestion!

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Madagascar holidays February 26, 2014 at 8:17 am

Prepare your argument, have no fear, and present it to your parents. You never know until you try. Well said! The most important thing is to insure them that you will always be Ok.

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The Runaway Guide February 27, 2014 at 3:09 am

Cheers! Definitely. Gotta keep in touch and give them an idea of where you’re going at least to give them some peace of mind

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