One of the great joys of traveling the globe is discovering new and exciting destinations and immersing yourself in the local culture. But even better than the travel itself is sharing the experience with someone you love. Although many of us immediately think to take a spouse or invite a friend on our adventures, we should take a moment to consider inviting our parents. Although this may not immediately appeal to you, here are the Top 10 reasons why traveling with your aging parents is a must-do experience. You won’t regret it!

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  1. It’s your chance to make up for years of not visiting, missing your parent’s birthday(s) or always going to your in-laws for the holidays.
  2. Friends (and dates) will put you on a pedestal for your selfless devotion. Unfortunately, it won’t make a bad date better, but at least you’ll walk away with a reminder that you’re a good person because you went on vacation with your parent(s).
  3. If your parent isn’t computer savvy, how can they really book a vacation? No airline actually answers the phone anymore and travel agencies are pretty much a thing of the past. Help your parent out by including them (and doing all the planning).
  4. Vacations are still necessary, even if your parents are retired. If you can’t imagine what they might need “an escape” from in retirement, just remember everyone needs a break from the day-to-day routine of life.
  5. Use it as an opportunity to see firsthand how your parent is functioning with basic life skills. They may say they are fine when you call, but being with them for an extended period of time will give you firsthand knowledge of their mental and physical state.
  6. It’s an opportunity to discover your parents’ far reaching dreams. In April of this year, I asked my mom to name the most exotic place she wanted to visit–and now we’re off to Russia in 2014! Of all the places in the world, I did NOT expect her to pick there.  When pressed, she said she remembers being terrified of Russia during the Cold War as a little girl. She couldn’t believe we could actually visit Russia and if indeed we could, that’s where she wanted to go. I’m thrilled to take her to a place on her “bucket” list!
  7. Depending on your parents’ physical capabilities, you may move at a slower pace while on vacation which is the point of vacation, yes?
  8. Life is short and getting shorter, especially as our parents age. Don’t lose the chance to connect on a deeper level now that you’re an adult and can appreciate what they did for you when you were growing up.
  9. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Bringing a parent along on vacation screams “I love you” more than merely saying it daily.
  10. Vacationing together can result in some of the best and most precious memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life. That goes for both of you. Don’t miss that opportunity.