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Several gift guides suggest trinkets and tokens for Mom especially during Mothers Day. I know because I wrote one here too. It’s not until I became a mom myself of 2 wonderful boys, who make me the happiest person ever, that I fully realize and understand this fundamental truth: a mom wants more time with their children over anything else.
As a daughter for the past 30 something years and counting, I have almost always traveled with my mom and my grandmother. For this article, I invited other frequent travelers to share their best memories of traveling with their mothers, why they chose to and what they learn from the experience.
Where Dreams Come True
For as long as I can remember and growing up as a kid, Mom’s response when someone asks where her dream destination is, she always blurts out “Walt Disney World!”. It has always been her childhood dream to see Mickey Mouse and the gang. Having been from the Philippines, where the peso has less value than the dollar, this is shooting for the moon.
Fast forward several years later, we moved to the US and I was working as a registered nurse. My husband and I were financially comfortable. I was planning for my then 2-year old son’s birthday. I imagined how ecstatic Mom would be if I told her she’s going too. After booking everyone’s tickets, I told Mom the news. My 52 year old mom beamed with joy like she’s 40 years younger.
Taking my mom and my almost 80 year old grandmother, taught us to pace our trip differently. We made sure to insert breaks and slow things down. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything in Disney. It was great how during these breaks, Mom offered to watch over our sleeping 2 year old as we head to try more thrilling attractions like the new Pandora ride in Animal Kingdom. In the end, everyone had a wonderful vacation together.
Tsunami Alert in South Sri Lanka
Allan of Live Less Ordinary recounts his vacation with mom overseas when a tsunami hits their resort.
“I feel fortunate that my my mum is one of my 3 best friends, along with my wife and dad, and she would often join me for regular travels through Asia, despite promising each time to “never again”. Because there is rarely a dull moment in travel between us. But to share one of the more memorable moments it has to be during a beach stay in southern Sri Lanka, when we were more or less abandoned by the resort during a tsunami evacuation. And while it was a false alarm in the end, the entire coastlines emptied, and villagers packed their belongings into the back of tuk-tuks to flee for the hills, so it was only by luck that we managed to blag a lift on a tour bus fleeing along with them. But there has always been this realisation in these situations, where my mum has always been the protector, I guess, taking care of me through my life. But, with travel in Asia, it is always the opposite, and I do often fear for her safety before mine. At the same time, there is obviously a limited time left to share these experiences, so we do make the most of them, and she’s looking forward to Japan.”
Shannan is a passionate traveler & homeschooling mom. She enjoys learning on location all over Europe with her 3 favorite travel buddies. She appreciates how her wonderful childhood helps her create one for her kids.
“I blame my mom for my love of travel. We often took extended vacations (like 6 weeks!) and had so many camping, hiking, and road trips. I love the adventure of the outdoors and the thrill of exploring new locations. It was a great way to grow up. But ironically, my mom has never owned a passport and never been out of North America, until now. This year I get the privilege of introducing my 80 year old mother to Scotland. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. Here are the top items I’m considering as I plan an epic travel adventure with my mom.
- Health. Make sure their doctor is aware of the trip. Ensure they are well and fit enough for the type of trip being planned. No matter what, get the travelers insurance that best fits their needs and requirements. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind.
- Travel Pace. Some folks are real go-getters and will planning on with numerous activities and excursions. Others, will need to take a slower pace and perhaps need a recovery day after an active day or two of museums or excursions.
- Purpose For Travel. Admittedly, grandparents will go to the ends of the earth to see their grandchildren. Do your older family members just want to ‘be’ with you doing the normal stuff of the day? Do they want to see every site and attraction with you? Do they want your home to be a home-base for them to take overnight trips on their own? All these questions are worth considering as you plan your trip.
With thoughtful planning, a trip with mom is doable. It’s a great opportunity to give back and say thanks for all the great adventures she created for the family years ago.”
Read more from Shannan at Captivating Compass where she blogs about learning on location using the world as your textbook.
Mom’s Favorite Trip
Catherine from We Go With Kids was glad to convince her mom to go with her on an epic road trip.
“I have been fortunate to take many trips with my Mom. Years ago, she reluctantly joined me on a portion of my month-long cross country road trip. She dreaded all the thought of all the driving, but our trip from California to Ohio turned out to be her favorite trip ever. I had been traveling in the US and Europe for almost six weeks when she arrived in San Francisco and really appreciated her enthusiasm and excitement.
My dad doesn’t enjoy visiting large metropolitan cities or flying, but my mom loves to explore new cities. She has joined me on trips to Atlanta, New York and Boston and recently jumped at the chance to tag along with me when I was attending a conference in Los Angeles. Before the conference, we visited Hollywood, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Getty, and we made a quick trip to Santa Monica Pier before catching our red eye. My mom explored downtown Los Angeles during my conference.
My mom generally lets me handle logistics and often makes a list of activities she’d like to do. We definitely have to be more flexible when we travel together, but we always have a great time.”
A Mother-Daughter Win-Win
Cate is passionate about exploring monasteries, cathedrals, and spiritual sites around the world and writes about her journeys in Sacred Wanderings. She was happy to be there when Mom needed a travel buddy.
“Last summer, my mom called and asked me if I would be willing to take a trip with her. For twenty years, my parents saved and planned to travel extensively in retirement. Just a few months before that happy event rolled around, my father had an accident that made traveling extremely painful for him. My mom, however, still wanted to see the world. So off we went – to four different cities in Spain in 12 days! Though we have different interests, we were able to agree ahead of time what we wanted to do and had a great time together! Mom put up with my love of visiting every single church and cathedral and I put up with her fascination with Spanish grocery stores – and need to spend 30 minutes in every single one we passed! Now, whenever I travel I have to take a picture of myself in a grocery store for her and it’s become a very fun little tease we have between us.”
Taking after Mom
Lauren of Wild Kids Wander credits her mom for instilling wanderlust on her. Even as a seasoned family traveler, she still has room to learn from the best.
“My mother is the reason I love to travel! Her viking blood also runs through my veins and I truly feel that is one of the reasons we always want to explore new places. We have been many places together, but my favorite trip is when we visited France. She had been to Paris before so she made a great tour guide. My favorite memory from the trip is when we went up to Sacre Coeur and got to experience one of the best views of the city. On that trip, my mother taught me a few things about traveling:
- Pack Lightly: If it doesn’t fit in a carry-on size bag, don’t bring it.
- Hotel location is key: Make sure you are in a good neighborhood close to transportation.
- Get tips from the natives: Ask the hotel staff about good local restaurants.
- There is such a thing as too much togetherness. Take some time to explore on your own. You’ll have something fun to talk about over your next meal together!”
My Mum is a Great Hiking Partner
Gemma loves traveling with her dog and writes about it at A Girl and Her Dog On the Road. She shares her favorite adventure with another great travel partner–her mom.
“It may be uncool but, even when I was married, I enjoyed holidaying with my parents. They are great fun and love the outdoors.
I had never solo traveled much before my divorce and, while I love it now, having my Mum with me on a few early trips was a big comfort.
We have hiked the Path of The Gods along the Amalfi Coast and, despite our poor navigating skills, we only got lost once. We have gotten drenched while on the trails in the Italian Alps in a rainstorm. My Mum never even complained when we had to clean up the worst mess left by my dog who had an upset tummy in the middle of the busy streets of the pretty Tuscan hilltop town of San Gimignano.
I am lucky, my Mum and I get along so well, we rarely have any disagreements when away together. Our biggest problem is arguing over both wanting to pay for things. Now, we always create a kitty at the start of the holiday and everything just comes out of this to save any stress.”
Double Birthday Treat
Ana of This, That and The Passport made milestone birthdays even more special by making memories with her mom when they went to Morocco.
“To celebrate my Mom’s 75th and my 50th birthday we wanted to take a trip together. We decided on Morocco, and I was tasked with coming up with a plan.
We have very different approaches to travel. To ensure success, I had to look for compromises knowing that my flexibility during this trip would be key. Therefore, I booked hotels to her liking and made sure the pace was good for both of us. I did, however, decide on a particular activity that I knew was going to take her out of her comfort zone but one I would love: a hike in the Ourika Valley.
This was a great experience. The scenery was beautiful and the hike was challenging. It was great to see a different side of her and realize how amazingly fit she is. It kind of highlighted that no matter how old our Moms get, there is still stuff we could learn from and about them.
Tip: Leave your baggage behind! Make the trip about the trip and create new memories together. This is not the time to have heart to heart conversations. Instead, take advantage and get to know your Mom on a different level. ”
Crazy Good Time
Sara of Our Kind of Crazy says that communicating well is key to a great mother-daughter trip.
“If you are lucky enough to have a chance to travel with your mom, we recommend you always take the chance! These are trips you will treasure for the rest of your life, and even more when she isn’t around anymore. Traveling with your mom can teach you a lot, and some times it may be a bit trying depending on how similar or different you are to each other. I personally absolutely love traveling with my mom. One of my favorite trips with her was our cross country trip from Los Angeles to New York. We had a blast and talked almost the whole way. We didn’t even realize we weren’t playing music for the longest time. We ended up not having an itinerary, except that we had a certain number of days before we had to be in New York. When it came to deciding what to do on the way, or where to stay, we made sure to discuss with each other beforehand and made sure we both did our “must do’s”. When traveling with your mom, just be sure to communicate what you both want out of the trip, and you should be good to go! Enjoy your mother/daughter/son time!”
Jenn of Coleman Concierge remembers fun times in Mexico with her mom and her daughter.
“Why would we ever attempt a 1,000 km road trip through Baja, Mexico with three generations of Colemans in the car? Much like the chicken crossing the road, we wanted to get to the other side. We found the bluest bays this side of Greece waiting for us in the sleepy little town of Loreto. This trip was the perfect way to celebrate mom’s 70th birthday and to enjoy our last spring break with our daughter before she ran away to college.
We wanted this experience to be perfect, so we booked a HomeAway to give everybody plenty of space. Between fresh seafood, authentic Mexican food, and mouthwatering guacamole, there were no complaints about dinner. For mom’s part, she was willing to try anything, even snorkeling. Kiddo was able to forget her teenage angst just a little bit because of how much fun we were having. In the end, we shared a trip that we’ll always remember and took an awkward family photo that we’ll never forget.
What’s our tip for traveling with Mom? Give everybody plenty of time and space. Our HomeAway not only had private bedrooms, but we could also wake up when we want and go to bed when need to. Traveling helps your neuroplasticity by breaking you out of your routine, but a little routine is nice too.”
Working out Differences
Hayley of Life As A Butterfly shares how traveling with her mom was a great opportunity to reconnect.
“I have always been big on traveling, my mum, however, not so much. So it was extra special when we went to New York together for my 21st birthday! I loved this trip because it let me spend valuable time with my mum, which I don’t tend to do very often as an adult. We had grown apart since I had moved away to university so this was a great chance to reconnect!
When traveling with your mum, you might need to adapt your travel approach slightly. At age 21, I was big on budget travel, whereas my mum enjoyed the finer things in life such as a nice meal out or a late afternoon cocktail. I had to account for these things in my budget! There is likely a significant age gap between you and your mum too, so you may need to slow down your pace or adapt which attractions you visit depending on what her activity levels are.
Traveling with another person can really test a relationship and can put pressures on that you didn’t know existed. Whilst it’s fantastic for bonding and spending quality time together, you also need to make sure that you keep your cool if necessary! If your mum wants to visit a museum that you are not interested in or doesn’t want to ride on the bus, then it might be easier to just agree rather than fight it- she is your mum after all!”