For millennials like myself, Flexible Independent Travel (FIT) holidaying is the norm. This term refers to the idea of travelling not just independently (or with friends), but also without imposed schedules, with an itinerary that I craft for myself. For my parents’ generation, more accustomed to tour packages and mass tourism, this is a whole new world.
Recently, I took my parents to Singapore, a perfect location with favourable weather, delicious food, exciting activities and a vibrant culture, and also a destination which I have been promoting for the past three years. It was the first time my parents enjoyed FIT tourism and they loved it!
If you are thinking of taking your parents on a similar adventure, here are some handy tips:
Start with a short-haul destination first
Remember that your parents are probably new to FIT travel. Starting somewhere close and with a similar culture (like Singapore) always helps to ease their nerves.
Better flight schedules and accommodation make your life easier
Your parents may not be able to deal with a flight scheduled at 3am or sleep in a hostel with a shared bathroom. Why not pay a little more for a good flight schedule and a comfortable hotel in exchange for happy faces? One more tip: choosing a hotel with breakfast service also means you can sleep longer when they are enjoying themselves!
Ensure that the itinerary is not too fast-paced
Older generations tend to tire more easily, so I would caution against including activities that are too out there. I would also recommend not packing too many activities into the itinerary so that you and your parents don’t have to rush from one place to another.
Ensure that everyone has enough sleep
Try to avoid late activities after 10pm and make sure that you leave at least 6 to 8 hours rest so that you and your parents feel recharged and refreshed for the next day’s activities.
Stick to healthy meals at a regular time
As people get older, they usually prefer healthy eating at a regular time. Although it’s always good to try something different, it’s better to stick to set meal times. Make sure you choose a restaurant that can accommodate different dietary requirements, too.
Put market and supermarket visits in your itinerary
You might not enjoy visiting them, but markets and supermarkets are always good destinations for your older travelling partners to see and experience something connected with their own daily lives (you just have to make sure they don’t buy too much!).
You never know what might surprise you during the trip. Just stay calm when facing unexpected changes and be flexible with the itineraries – after all, this is what FIT travel is all about.
Enjoy the trip with them
And finally, take loads of photos – but make sure you print them afterwards and put them in your family album!