Parental involvement in higher education has received much attention since the 1990s, though mostly through mainstream media sources. The term “helicopter parents” is now used to describe over-involved parents who ‘hover’ over their children, intent on ensuring that their children’s needs are addressed. The perception within higher education is that such parenting is detrimental to student development and unnecessarily complicates the relationship between the student and their institution of higher education. Study abroad has been widely shown to have wide-ranging positive impacts on the development of undergraduate students including gains in academic success, life skills, and psychosocial development. Parental involvement in study abroad has been reported as one of the top ten concerns for international education professionals for the past decade, but relatively little research has been done that explores the intersection of parental involvement and study abroad. Research has not definitively ascertained whether the notion of parental over-involvement in study abroad is anecdotally-driven or a documented reality. This study examined the extent to which parents are involved in the undergraduate study abroad experience of their student and the ways in which particular characteristics of the parents and students are related to that involvement. The study was conducted using an original, web-based survey instrument and was administered to undergraduate students at three study abroad providing institutions, two public land-grant research universities and one study abroad consortium of 14 private liberal arts colleges. The survey was completed by 382 students for a 19.7% response rate. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, correlation, and three regression model analyses. Findings indicated that parents were significantly less involved in initial choice of study abroad program than they are in other higher education experiences prior to study abroad, thus lending support to the idea that helicopter parenting may not apply uniformly to all aspects of study abroad. A relationship was found between parental involvement in student choice of study abroad and the geographic location of the student’s program. Parents were found to be more likely to communicate more frequently with a female student and more likely to communicate more frequently if their student was participating in a long-duration program. Numerous variables were shown to be related to parents’ decision to visit their student during a study abroad experience, including previous parental study abroad experience, level of previous student travel, type of institution from which the student was studying abroad, the geographic location of the study abroad program, and the duration of the program. Findings support a framework for understanding parental involvement in study abroad and provide helpful insights for future design and allocation of resources for parental interactions with study abroad offices.