For the first 16 or so years of our lives, we are cared for by our parents. They feed us, clothe us, nurture us. They give us lifts at 10 o’clock at night and come into school if we’re being bullied. They put up with our toddler tantrums and our teenage sulks!

So it’s only natural that as we get a bit older, we want to repay the favour. Once we’re in work, and earning our own money, we can afford to treat them a bit.

Firstly, the deserve it! But also, it may be playing on your mind that as they begin to approach their elder years, now is the time to grab some quality time with them.

No more bunches of flowers for mum. No more car magazine subscriptions for Dad. It’s time to do something truly special; take them on vacation.

But how?

If your parents are already retired, you won’t need to worry about booking them time off work. If they are still working, though, you’ll either need to tell them about the vacation in advance, or speak to their managers directly. If you explain the reason for asking for time off work on their behalf, they’re sure to understand!

Of course, you’ll have to decide around this time whether you want it to be a surprise or not. Consider what you think your parents would prefer. If they’re the type to get stressed about things, maybe give them a few weeks notice to make their own arrangements. Plus, a bit of notice also gives them a window of time to get excited! In this time, you could take them on a shopping trip to stock up on anything you might need. This might be sun hats and sun lotion, or it might be snow boots! Often, looking forward to something is just as enjoyable as the event itself, so keep this in mind.

On the topic of shopping, make sure they get packed properly. It will be more of a hassle than anything else if you turn up without something important. Don’t forget things like plug adapters. You’ll also want to stock up on any medication they take. If you have elderly parents, you may want to consider paying for their carer to come along with you. Blogs like https://www.globocation.com/tips-for-travelling-with-elderly-parents/ have more tips on travelling with elderly parents.

If you have a parent, singular, taking them on vacation could well be even more special. You will get time together, just the two of you. It might also be more convenient to go as a two. This is because a lot of activities and resorts are geared up for couples. You find tables for two, sun lounger spots for two and coach seats for two, for example.

An alternative, of course, is to invite your siblings to join you. Ideally, leave any children at home (with carers, obviously!). When you add children to the equation, it because a different type of vacation. Rather than an adult vacation, it becomes a family vacation. And, rather than your parents and their wishes being the priority, the children will have to take precedence. But an adults vacation with siblings and parents could be truly special. Not only will your parents get to enjoy spending quality time with you, but they’ll also get it with their other children. Plus, you’ll have some help along the way in making the journey special. If your parents want to relax by the pool one day but you want to explore the local area, you’ll have someone to go with you or stay with them.

So, what about the where?

Choosing the ideal destination can be tricky as there is so much to weigh up. Think first about transport. Can you parents handle a long plane journey? Will they be okay adjusting to time differences? https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/jet-lag-and-sleep is just one company that offers tips on adjusting to time differences and handling jet lag. Also, be sure to factor in a couple of relaxing days in at the start of your vacation. This will allow you to enjoy all the subsequent days fully.

pool by villa

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If the above two aspects are both fine, the world is your oyster! However, it might be that they need to stay in the US. This isn’t a problem, it just narrows your options slightly. How about a wine trail? There is real versatility here. Sure, you get to see local wineries and sample the goods. But many of these wineries are found in incredibly beautiful settings. You can do these in a number of places in the US, like Missouri or California. As for the best time to go, you can find out when at HermannWineTrail.com/wine-trail-events/.

Alternatively, how about a private villa? You could hire one along the US coast, or go abroad. Europe is a fantastic place for top-quality villas. Consider places like the South of France, or Spain. Villas give you the ultimate in privacy; great if you are looking for peace and quiet. Being so secluded, you won’t need to worry about other people’s crying children or surprise building works. Tuscany, in Italy, is a great idea for a villa vacation. It has mountains, beaches and olive groves galore, and wineries of course. Online guides like Discovertuscany.com will provide you with all you need to know.

QE2 Cruise Ship

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At the opposite end of the scale to a private villa is a cruise ship. Rather than having to think about food, drinks and activities, all of this is sorted for you! A cruise ship vacation is a great option if you are taking your parents without the help of other family members. Unlike a villa, there will be lots of people around to help. Plus, this kind of vacation gives you a chance to do what you want also. Say you dock in an amazing city for a day, but your parents just want to relax by the onboard pool. There is no reason why you can’t leave them for some alone time while you go on-shore! You could even just go for a few hours, and then join them again in the afternoon. Don’t get too over-protective; they manage back at home, they can manage on a lovely cruise ship! When it comes to choosing the perfect cruise ship for you and your parents, find articles like ibtimes.com/travel-tips-how-choose-perfect-cruise-ship-317168.

Where ever you decide to go, and whatever you decide to do while you’re there, the important thing is spending quality time together. Enjoy; it will be fantastic.