Mom and Dad, if you’ve got the means, let your college kids spend a summer backpacking through Europe. It may be the best gift you can give them before you send them off into adulthood.
Your kids will find a way to stretch however much money they have to travel.They’ll have fun. And they’ll grow up. They’ll meet people and see things that will change their lives. They will see a world beyond their smartphone. They will have one last adventure before they settle into careers, car payments, and other responsibilities.
Too costly, you say? Make them pay half. Match what they put into it. Aside from airfare, they can probably get by on about $700 a week if they stay in youth hostels, eat cheap street food, and travel on buses and economy class trains. Spring for their Eurail pass and everything else is pocket money. You’ll probably spend more than that on a family vacation to Disney World. Believe me, your kids will find a way to stretch however much money they have to travel as long and far as they can. That’s a good lesson in economic responsibility.
Afraid they will get in trouble? If your kids are prone to trouble, they’ll find it at home anyhow. Don’t let those Eli Roth and Liam Neesen movies scare you. Most likely, the worse that will happen is they’ll drink too much or meet a stupid boy. That’s nothing worse than what they did in college.
So parents, send your kids to Europe. They’ll be better people when they return.
And next year, it will be your turn to go.