Summer before junior year I had a slight visa crisis for my upcoming semester abroad in Spain, which is how my mother and I ended up booking a last-minute, two-day trip to San Francisco. We didn’t realize that what at the time seemed like a stressful inconvenience would become an opportunity for us to reconnect. After a few hours sitting in the consulate waiting room (and an emergency trip to the copy shop down the street), we found ourselves in a beautiful city together, with no plans and no distractions.
Your opportunity to bond with your student this summer doesn’t have to be a pricey, 3-week trip that involves months of planning — and hopefully won’t involve visa problems. Take a quick, inexpensive trip with your student, leave your schedule open, and let your adventure unfold.
1. Book a hotel that’s right in the action. You don’t want to spend the whole trip driving, especially if your trip is short! Choose a hotel that is close to the things you want to see. You can search for hotels by landmark here (after you input the city).
2. Remember you don’t HAVE to see all the “Must Sees.” Running from one attraction to the next can be just as exhausting as juggling 15 credit hours, a sport, and a part time job at the library. Make sure the trip is a true break for your student by choosing only the things that genuinely interest you instead of trying to hit all of the places you’re “expected” to go.
3. Let your student take the wheel. They’ll be pleased that you’re treating them like an adult, and you’ll get to see what new interests they’ve accrued. You may be surprised at what your son or daughter comes up with!
4. Say “yes.” Skip dinner and go to a fancy restaurant for dessert. Go on an impulse paddleboat ride, or try cuisine you normally wouldn’t consider. Part of the joy of an adult relationship with your student is that you don’t have to be quite so “adult” anymore.
5. Relax. You don’t have to force that special conversation to happen, or take a million photos to prove you’re having fun together. The conversations will come. Simply spend time together, getting to know once again the person your young adult is becoming.
Quality time together can be hard to come by as your student grows up, especially if they move away for college. Over the past few years my mom has become one of my favorite travel buddies, and there’s nothing like a quick get-away together to reconnect after time apart. Not sure where to set your next adventure? Check out our list of the top 5 cities to visit with your student.
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