When I say Island, I mean Sri Lanka.
It is by far the closest, most convenient, and stunning
place to go from India to have a big family vacation. It is a magical place where time turns slowly, little birds sing endlessly and there is a beach at every turn.
To add goodness to the mix are its people; always happy and so humble.
Planning anything with family is a daunting task. Just like most families, mine is a mixed bag. There is my dad, who loves getting up early and the planner. There is Mom and Shehzad, my husband who can park their bum in the sand and chill the whole day. My sister and brother-in-law are the most active ones who will find the most unique experiences and the best party places. Somewhere between all of them lies me. Lately, my travel style is more laid-back. From experience, I have understood that instead of trying to do too much, it's better to stay where I am and enjoy it to the fullest. But I love reading up about a place and picking a few things that I would love to do or eat.
In January 2020 came the time we took our first big family vacation. I and the parents were ready to escape the long winters of India and my husband was more than happy to join us from the very cold USA's Northeast.
We joined our sister and brother-in-law who moved there as part of their ongoing #tannedandhow journey through the hidden corners of the world.
It ended up being an experience we'll never forget as we found
ourselves in the most stunning tropical paradise relaxing on the beaches,
eating and drinking all day, swimming in the bluest waters, sometimes with
the cutest turtles and so much more.
Why Travelling with Parents is exciting?
Since we were very young, our parents took us to different parts of India every summer. We have seen all the major cities and also explored the beautiful Himalayas, have slept under the stars in the Thar desert, discovered hidden corners of Southern and North-eastern India and got bit by the travel bug early in life. So this vacation was a role-reversal of sorts. where we were making plans and our parents happily followed along.
A Sense of Growing Together
On our vacation, we chose places that would be most comfortable yet a new experience for our parents. So vacation was such a great way to show our love while pushing our parents a little out of their comfort zones. It gave us a chance to grow together and understand each other in a different environment. We had long conversations while eating amazing food, sharing stories from our lives, and just reconnecting in a way that is usually difficult to do.
Give them a Break!
It's great to have a long list of activities, but also let the parents relax a little as they like. One great way is to do something fun early in the morning like going for a swim, hiking or driving to a nearby National Park. This way we could come back to our hotel by mid-day and relax for the rest of the day. Our parents loved their afternoon naps. So during that time, we would chill by the pool, go shopping or explore the beach town. Discuss the plans with everyone and give the parents some options to choose from. This way everyone will be able to have the best time.
Adventures Reduces Stress & Stimulates Brain
Vacations are a time when we get to do new and exciting things. Just learning a few words of a new language, meeting new people, and doing something adventurous stimulates the brain and releases endorphins. It ultimately leads to happiness and reduced stress. Just the feeling of being in a new place and a change of scenery is really good for the body and the mind. So family vacations are a great way to treat parents with some downtime and a change from regular life.
Spending time with family is the best digital detox. Those few days I spent with my family, made me understand what are the important things in life. It's such a great respite from those long-distance Face time calls where all I want to do is hug my family. So I did it! Hugged them, laughed with them, went on morning strolls with dad to watch the sunrise, discussed my life plans, or just played board games sitting in the lush green lawns of our Villa. Vacations with parents are such a great time to re-live and re-create the simpler times of childhood days. Are work e-mails really more important?
Activities to do as a Family
Take a cooking lesson: Sri Lanka offers many great options to learn about cooking local cuisine. Learn to make the hearty curries or the delicious variety of sambol, a kind of chutney. It's a great way to do an activity together and of course eating and sharing yummy food with the loved ones.
Spend a day at the Beach: What else do you do on an Island right? We loved spending an entire day at the beach as a family. Some places let us use their sun-beds and the pool at a small price or when we order food or drinks. We recommend having fresh fruit juices everywhere, trying Sri Lankan food to your heart's delight, and soaking up some sun.
Go snorkeling: Beautiful coral reefs surround Sri Lanka and you can take a boat from Galle or its many beaches to go swimming in the ocean. It's a great and safer option for people with little to no swimming skills. You will be rewarded with the most amazing experience ever.
Do a Walking Tour of Galle : If you like vintage towns, boutiques, and majestic lighthouses, Galle is a great place to walk around with your family. Explore the little by-lanes of the Fort town and discover antique stores and the cutest tea houses.
Visit a Buddhist Temple: Buddhism is one of the two main religions practiced in Sri Lanka. It has some of the world's most magnificent temples that will leave you feeling gratitude and peace. Plus the galleries filled with donations in these temples are really fascinating. Imagine a room full of gold and rubies!
Party with your Parents! : I know! I know! You might call me crrraazzzzy. But is it really that wild an idea? Some of you might have done it already. But just seeing them dancing and enjoying themselves will definitely be on top of my wish list of things I want to do with my parents.
I hope I have convinced you to take your next island adventure with your parents. I can tell you by experience that you'll be back with sand in your shoes, a golden tan, and great stories to tell everyone. We are already planning our next adventure somewhere in
Europe or North America on facetime these days!
Have you traveled with your parents? Which place and how was your experience?