to buy flights for my parents

(40 Posts)
Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 12:48:33

My parents have their 40th anniversary this year, they're 63 and 59, and I would like to get them flights somewhere (Sweden or Denmark, as they love Scandi-drama). The problem is they've never flown before, and only went abroad to visit me when I lived in France a few years ago, and would be very nervous about it. My brother has also never flown, thinks it's a bad idea.

A family trait we all share is that we're not very adventurous - however, I was the first in the family to go to university, and through that and my later work, I've been really lucky to travel. I worry that my parents are falling into retirement - they say they're not happy, and they don't have things to look forward to, but they're terrified (as is my brother) of doing nice things.

I think this would a really good opportunity to have a holiday, and give them a push to do something new. What would you do? I know I'm pushing my views onto them a little, but if they got to Sweden, they'd love it.

Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 12:49:15

should be "new things", not "nice things"

diddl Sun 10-Mar-13 12:49:49

Bus trip?

CocacolaMum Sun 10-Mar-13 12:49:52

if you can afford it then I think its a lovely idea!

LoopDeLoops Sun 10-Mar-13 12:50:18

Could you get them ferry tickets instead?

eosmum Sun 10-Mar-13 12:52:25

Maybe an organised trip with other people, you know where they all tour around on a bus together staying in different places every few days. They probably go by ferry.

Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 12:52:51

I could do a ferry trip, I just think flights would, if they liked it, really open up opportunities. With the ferry and eurostar, they've travelled to France twice and Belgium once - but flights would mean they could go almost anywhere - they have the money for a holiday once a year, and it could give them things to look forward to.

cozietoesie Sun 10-Mar-13 12:53:37

It's a nice idea but would they enjoy it if they were anxious and by themselves in a strange land ?

Why not think a little wider - something like renting them a romantic week in a remote holiday cottage in the wilds of Scotland, say?

teaandbourbons Sun 10-Mar-13 12:53:41

Could you go with them so they're not on their own the first time they go away?

Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 12:55:42

in their holidays before, once they got to France, they really really liked it, but the week before, my dad would be moaning "I wish we'd never booked this holiday".

I could go with them, but it's their anniversary, and it would mean arranging a holiday for me, DH and DCs as well together, which becomes a big trip

Bunbaker Sun 10-Mar-13 12:58:24

Why not book them a package rather than just flights? The anxiety might not allow them to enjoy their trip and they might not get the most out of it.

My grandfather refused to fly anywhere which was a problem when my parents moved abroad (straight after getting married 45 years ago). When he died (20 years ago) my grandmother asked if she could join me when I flew to see them on holiday (she was in Holland and they were in Oman) . She was 70 and there was no stopping her from then on, she loved it.

Can you go with them the first time? It might not be the flying as such, it could be the fear of the checking in process & finding the right aeroplane.

Christelle2207 Sun 10-Mar-13 13:02:34

Whilst it would be a really nice gesture I think they would worry about it as would you. Flying for the first time at their age is probably quite scary.
I also think sending them on an organised tour might be a better idea. I am very well travelled and fail to see why anyone wouldn't enjoy travel but i had this vey conversation with my dh yesterday and his view is very much "not everyone thinks like you do" - as bizarre as it seems some people just don't like going away.
What about a nice hotel break in the UK as an alternative? somewhere like Hotel Du Vin? Given what you've said, putting them onto a plane to Scandinavia sounds possibly a bit too far!

MechanicalTheatre Sun 10-Mar-13 13:03:22

I think getting a package tour would be a better idea. OK, flights would open up more of the world for them, but maybe for their first time away alone, they would need that kind of support.

raisah Sun 10-Mar-13 13:04:17

someone mentioned booking a group excursion, which is a good idea. Lots of newspapers advertise them (metro, saga, guardian etc), would be a good way to introduce something new but within the safety of a group. Do they do scandi-drama tours similar to the inspector rebus ones they do in Edinburgh?

Trills Sun 10-Mar-13 13:05:31

YWB a bit U, I think.

Just flights, to a country that they don't know, when they are nervous travellers, sounds like the sort of gift that becomes a burden.

A package or escorted tour would be better and less stressful for them (but a lot more expensive for you, I know).

Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 13:06:44

it is the process of checking in at the airport that worries them I think. I'm going to look into packages - I'm really worried about them right now

SaltaKatten Sun 10-Mar-13 13:07:51

You can get cruises that take you to Copenhagen and Oslo.

Kat101 Sun 10-Mar-13 13:11:54

They need at the very least, a package where everything is laid on and they have no responsibility for arrangements. I feel for them, I haven't travelled for years (kids, money etc) and I am out of the habit. I am scared of all the things that could go wrong and not having the familiar uk security blanket (police, nhs etc) to go to. I am going to force myself to book a package med hol next year to try and ease myself in slowly.

Would they enjoy this hol you are planning, or would they be so stressed in the run up that you'd end up wishing you hadn't bothered?

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sun 10-Mar-13 13:14:29

Yes, how about cruising over to Denmark or Oslo if they like Scandinavia?

And if you have the money, and they do, how about a short flight somewhere together, depending on where you live so you can go along and hold their hands, as it were. Jersey maybe?

I know what you mean about parents falling into retirement - mine moulder around the house feeling old and retired, doing nothing simply because they don't want to organise it. I'm scared that one day soon they really WILL be old and it will be too late sad

SoftSheen Sun 10-Mar-13 13:15:04

I think it's a lovely idea. I agree with others that it might be better to get them a package rather than just flights, if you can afford it, as then they won't need to worry about organising hotels etc. Perhaps you could drive them to the airport and help them check in?

Stockholm was the first place I ever flew to (I was 19) and it is a lovely city- perfect for a short city break.

Kat101 Sun 10-Mar-13 13:17:06

Also, do they do nice things when at home? Thinking U3A, Age UK and all the other organisations / clubs for retired people. What are their interests? There is a plethera of activites and interests for newly retired people, its just getting the message out there.

Saga holidays (does that still exist?)

SoftSheen Sun 10-Mar-13 13:17:28

Should add, Stockholm is very clean, organised and efficient, and most people speak some English, which would probably be reassuring for nervous travellers!

HazleNutt Sun 10-Mar-13 13:18:50

PILs are the same and no, I would not just get them tickets. They would be too nervous to enjoy it. We are buying them a trip to Baltics and Sankt-Petersburg, but going with them. If you can't, then get either a package tour or possibly cruise. Or maybe some friends of theirs could join?

Have you tried something like this allows you to choose flight/hotel and add on extras like tours booked in advance. So they would have some "safety net" of an organised trips, but also some freedom fo their own and not have to herded round on a full coach tour.

Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 13:28:24

Thanks for the tips - part of the logic of scandinavia is that there wouldn't be a language problem. They're not keen on the idea of being on a coach with other people, they're not sociable - I may have to look at going with them

Waswondering Sun 10-Mar-13 13:36:01

I don't know what your budget is but Cunard have a 7 day cruise from Southampton taking in 4 or 5 Scandinavian cities from £599 pp. all food and entertainment would be included .... Very safe way to travel and other guests probably a similar age. Good reputation too, so as a first introduction, could be good for them ...

Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 13:37:25

That cruise sounds a good idea to be honest - I don't think I'm going to be able to encourage them to fly, which I think is a shame. Thank you

Trills Sun 10-Mar-13 13:38:18

Cruise sounds like a very good idea - my aunt and uncle have done similar ones and enjoyed them a lot.

Waswondering Sun 10-Mar-13 13:40:11

(My parents LOVE Cunard cruises ... They have been on the Queen Elizabeth and rare it. Excellent shows at night, and enough activities to fill every waking minute.)

WorriedTeenMum Sun 10-Mar-13 13:42:01

I actually think it is a good idea. How about looking at flights between smaller airports? Especially at the overseas end. Smaller airports can be a lot more manageable than larger airports. Not quite where you are aiming for but Rotterdam airport is tiny and very easy to manage.

Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 13:47:01

I'm keen to encourage them to fly, rather than to go to Scandinavia per se - I think Scandinavia is somewhere they'd like to go, and the flight would be short, people speak english, etc

Arithmeticulous Sun 10-Mar-13 14:06:29

What about passports and travel insurance?

Smetana Sun 10-Mar-13 14:13:55

They have passports - travel insurance would be an additional cost

quoteunquote Sun 10-Mar-13 14:32:17

A flight to Dublin or somewhere english speaking, they will love it, I bet they get the bug and get adventurous.

Waswondering Sun 10-Mar-13 14:55:59

Or could you do a day trip somewhere the three of you? Eg first flight to Amsterdam in the morning, lovely day, then fly home that night ....

Iaintdunnuffink Sun 10-Mar-13 15:42:41

I would go with a tour or an organised package, just flights to somewhere cold be quite daunting.

I've been meaning to do one of the DFDS weekend breaks, they change them depending on time of year.

ThePinkOcelot Sun 10-Mar-13 17:29:38

My parents went on their first holiday in their early sixties, having never flown before. There was no stopping them after that.
My mum has just come back from a 3 month stay with my sister in Australia. Travelled herself from Perth, via Dubai to Newcastle and she is 84!
I think once they are over the initial worry of doing it, they would love it.

honeytea Sun 10-Mar-13 18:28:38

My grandparents fly to stay with us from Bristol to Edinburgh or Amsterdam and then to Stockholm. They are both well traveled but much prefer the smaller airports.

When we're you thinking of booking the holiday? In Sweden the summer tends to peak sooner than the UK, June/July are lovely but August/September can be chilly/autumnal and the rest of the year is bloody cold, slippery and dark.

BeeBopDingALing Sun 10-Mar-13 18:51:53

I would get them the flights but tell them that is what you want to do and ask them first.

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