Travelling with a young adult is a whole new ball game 17



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When it comes to travel, finding a common ground between generations can be a little challenging. Most parents will agree that with little kids, to have a stress free break, it’s essential that where you stay there is a play area, a theme park or plenty of kid’s activities.

Travelling with a young adult is literally, a whole new ball game. This is where I found myself when my son asked me to come with him to the USA. He wanted to travel to the USA and, in particular, to New York and Los Angeles as a way of celebrating his high school graduation.

To be honest, when he asked me to join him my initial reaction was of surprise. Anyone with teenage sons will know that being seen with mum is a big turn-off! The reality is at 18, he is under-age in the USA and will need an adult for things like booking a hotel.

Bright lights, fast food, shopping, sports and entertainment lure people to visit the US. Number one on my son’s mind was to attend a football and basketball game. Travelling with someone whose idea of a fun is watching hours of sports compared to mine of cultural indulgence are at different ends of the spectrum. To marry these two ideals in one travel itinerary was going to take some work.

The decision to travel to America proved to be the right choice and, besides we didn’t have any language issues. The only communication issue is with my son. Secretly, I was hoping this mother and son trip will open up more conversations rather than the typical monosyllabic responses like, the ‘yeah’ and ‘dunno’ that I get from him.

After what seems to be the longest flight ever, we arrive in New York and we are excited. We grab a shuttle from the airport and head to our hotel, The Row, which is right in the heart of Times Square. I chose the Row after trawling through hundreds of hotels. It fit the criteria of price and location. Thankfully, the choice of hotel paid off. The Row is hip and happening. It’s modern, clean and is a great meeting place and walking distance to Central Park, Empire State Building, The Rockefeller Centre, Macys, hundreds of eateries, shops and best of all Broadway. When I say walking distance, I mean within 15 minutes.

Mr 18 found his way around the streets easily, largely due to the streets in New York being numbered, for example, 42nd Street and 43rd Street, making it really easy to get around. He also packed his skateboard; most mornings he would scoot along to Central Park before checking out the shops. Google Maps became our best guide buddy and we used it to find our way around.

I spent much of my time exploring the streets of New York. It really is the city that never sleeps and after 8 nights, I can vouch for this. Eateries remain open all night, as do the sirens, which go on all night. On Broadway, theatre performances are on every night, there is something for everyone.

I must admit that getting my son to visit some of the traditional tourist things, like the statue of Liberty and the Museum of Modern Art was a challenge.

One of the best deals you can get is called a CityPass. This pass allows you to visit 6 iconic places, forty percent cheaper than if you were to buy them individually. The CityPass is US$114 for adult and US$89 for child. I used this to visit a number of tourist hot spots. With the Australian dollar weaker, it was worth having a CityPass.

Since, I wasn’t haven’t much luck getting him to visit the tourist spots, I turned to the theatre. The play, School of Rock was playing at the charming Winter Garden theatre with rave revues. Initially, Mr 18 did not want to go, he kept saying, “plays are boring”. I made a pact that if he didn’t like it, he could leave at intermission. With that, we went to the play and during the performance, he was smiling! When intermission arrived, he decided to stay. The play turned out to be very enjoyable and humorous.

Now it was my turn to experience his world. Before we left for the USA, he booked tickets to one NFL football game and two basketball games. He paid for the tickets by working extra shifts at his part-time job. We had tickets to the New Yorkers playing at the Metlife Stadium in Jersey, which is about a 40 minute drive out of NY City.

If you have never visited US, one thing you’ll have to get used to is that everything is on a grand scale from coffee cups to meal sizes. The Metlife stadium is no different, it can be seen miles away; even from the top of the Rockefeller Centre!

Again, thanks to Google Maps we find our way to the stadium via a bus. We arrive along with eighty thousand others attending the game. Let me say right now that the game was only one small part the whole shebang. From the moment you pass the entrance, you are entertained at every turn. Cheerleaders, singers, performers and the game itself, there is no time to get bored. It really is another must do.

Next day is the basketball game. This time it is at the iconic Madison Square Gardens (home to many performances and games) And, just like the football game – the entertainment is off the Richter scale. Attending a game like this doesn’t come cheap, prices vary depending on seat location – but you can expect to pay upwards of $60 and worth every cent. Don’t forget to try a hot dog and cracker jacks!

After New York we head to Los Angeles to visit Universal Studios which is on both our list. Personally, I got to feel like a kid again. Universal Studios is filled with attractions, such as the Simpsons, Minions, Shrek and much more. We note a huge Harry Potter attraction is under construction; with the Hogwarts school taking shape for its opening in June 2016. We are a little disappointed that we will miss it. Young or old there is something for everyone here and the highlight for both of us, is the Studio Tour. We get on board on the tram-like ride through famous movie sets and live working ones. Mr 18, who is keen on movie making, got a big kick from his day at Universal, as did I. I have a sense we’ll be back sooner than later.

Tell us, have you ever travelled with a younger companion? What was it like?

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Emily Chantiri

Emily Chantiri is a Sydney journalist and author of five books including three best sellers. Emily spent five years as reporter at Fairfax media. Today she is a contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald, and other publications, including Marie Claire and Good Health Magazine and The News Daily, The Good Pub Food Guide and Company Directors Newsletter. Emily writes articles on money, finance, health, travel and general business.

  1. Yes I have in 2015 took my youngest grandson for a cruise with his mother….. loved every minute & the best thing was when he said Thank you Nana xxxx his age @ the time was 9

  2. For my daughter’s schoolies she and I went to Norfolk Island for a week on a package tour. We had a ball. We had so much fun that when her 21st came around instead of a party and birthday present she and I went to Tahiti for a week. We had a fantastic time. For our son’s schoolies he and his father walked the Overland Track in Tasmania. They went with Cradle Huts and had a fantastic time. Consequently for his 21st he and his father walked Kokoda. Travelling with our children is fun. Hopefully we will do it again one day. We found it a lovely bonding experience.

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  3. Have travelled many times with my son, last trip we did to Italy and walked the Cinque Terra. We have so much fun. Favourite trip was to the Greek Islands for my 60th. Hired motor bike toured around mum on the back, lol I am never getting old whilst having the fun I do with my son. I am so very lucky.

  4. We love camping with the grand kids , but come 3 pm , it’s time to relax, we are worn out , hehe

  5. Three years ago I took my nearly 13 year old grandson Liam with me in my campervan from Northland NZ to the bottom of the South Island. We get along so well and he was fun company. He was so helpful with directions and he shared all the tasks happily. We stopped at as many skate parks as we could find so he could stretch his legs and talk to other keen skaters. On the way back he was missing home, especially his mum naturally, after 3 weeks away 😊 So glad to have had this wonderful opportunity, and at 16 he is still an amazing young man ❤️

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    • Great story Lesley I to love my sixteen yo grandson he is funny and easy to get on with. Liam is lucky to have u in his life too.

    • Christina, thank you 😊 it sounds like we are both very lucky grandmas having such lovely grandsons!

  6. From the time my grandson was2 I have always travelled with him and his mother we have been to Thailand three times, twice to Hawaii, once to Ireland with a side trip to London, and last year we went to Phukett. He is now 10 and the best travelling companion. Next year we go back to Ireland, hopefully with a side trip to Italy or Spain. I love to travel with him.

  7. Yes. My son and I went to Hawaii together, also to Australia. My daughter and I backpacked around most of Australia. Now my Son lives in Australia and my daughter is toooo busy to even see me. So much to do!

  8. My 27 year old daughter and I went to Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi for 2 weeks over new year. We had the best time together. Laughed, talked and solved a lot of the world’s problems! We will travel together again. It was fabulous. She is amazing.

  9. travelled to tasmania with my grandson last year,he is 32 and me 74,no problen,great holliday

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