Traveling with your mom or dad (or both) creates a different level of bonding. My family was really big on family vacations when I was growing up.
From the beach in Ocean City, Md. to Disney World and Niagara Falls to San Francisco, we made efforts to see new places as often as we could.
Back then, I found some of my parents’ antics on our family vacations annoying. The car games to keep our attention. The lame jokes. My mom’s overly enthusiastic interactions with waiters and hotel staff.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have appreciated that all a little bit more and rolled my eyes a little bit less. As I’ve learned over the years, my mom actually makes a pretty phenomenal travel buddy.
Here are some tips on how to travel with your mom, and have the best trip ever.
Traveling with Your Mom: Accepting Mom as a Travel Companion
Traveling with your mom will require a different level of patience than other travel companions. My mom and I have only made a few trips together without the other family members, but those are some of my favorite memories.
One of the most memorable trips I’ve taken with my mom was a day trip to New York City as part of a bus group from her work to see “Jersey Boys.”
Our travel group included my mom, my grandmother, two of my mom’s best friends, a couple of their family members and myself. I was the youngest by 27 years.
It could have been awkward traveling with your mom and friends, but I had a blast and, honestly, that little day trip ended up being quite the eye-opener for me.
We had mimosas and bagels on the way up.
A shift from my family’s usual road trip Twizzlers and iced tea, but I didn’t miss them. We also played games: New York bingo and Frankie Valli Name That Tune. (I must admit, these games were my idea. See? Mom is rubbing off.)
When we got into the city, we wandered around a street fair together, trying on ridiculous sunglasses and scarves and people watching.
We joked with the vendors, talked to passersby… you know, all the things I hated as a kid.
We went to lunch at an Irish pub around 11 a.m., before the show… and ordered beers.
We were snarky with the waiter, we cackled loudly at our own jokes, we drew plenty of attention from the three other pub patrons.
Accept Your Mom For the Awesome Lady She Is
During the show, we sang, we danced, we snapped.
Things I always kept Mom from doing in the past because it was far too embarrassing to let anyone see that my mom actually enjoyed music or culture in any way.
After the show, on the way to another Irish pub, we sang and danced as we walked down the street.
We took over the basement of the pub and ordered a few plates of fried appetizers and drinks. A LOT of drinks.
We flirted with the waiter. Yes, all of us, from the age of 22 right up to 74. We made ridiculous requests, like starting a fire in the fireplace for us. We asked for extra cherries. We interrogated a man who came in wearing running clothes, only to find out he was the owner.
My mom’s best friend tried to teach me how to tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue.
We laughed, yelled, squealed and made that waiter and the bartenders simultaneously love and hate us.
Embracing the “Mom” Way of Traveling
And I was not embarrassed once.
That day, I was not “too cool” to travel with my mom and her friends. I was not ashamed to be seen making a toast to them. I was not embarrassed by the loud laughter, the sarcasm with strangers or the flirting with the waiter.
I actually wouldn’t have minded had my mom’s friend left my phone number for the waiter like she threatened to do.
I had fun. I realized then that my mom wasn’t just my mom.
She is my friend and my fellow adventurer.
She is a traveling companion I am proud to have in my life and from that point, I couldn’t wait for our next little escapade.
The trips where I act like my mom – uninhibited, friendly, open, enthusiastic – are the ones with the best memories. They give me the stories to tell and the lessons to share.
When I came back from a trip with friends last summer and my mom saw photos I posted on Facebook of a sunrise on the beach one morning, she commented, “Now you know why I always got up early on vacation.”
Yes, Mom, I do.
I can say now that my mother has been quite the inspiration behind my passion to travel and I’m thrilled to be able to share those moments with her.
The last trip I took alone with my mom, she ended up in the ER :p.
My favorite memory traveling with my mom was a few years ago, we drove from California to Arizona together- tried to talk to every truck driver (we are the crazy mother/daughter duo always tooting our arms at the 18-wheelers) and rolled down the windows singing “Come Sail Away!” I’ll never forget it, and Styx will always bring me back to my mother’s cute little Persian voice singing. Happy Mother’s Day!!
Great post Lindsay!
Awesome story! My mom and sister came to Thailand to meet my wife and I about halfway through our RTW trip. She was a total champion despite having never traveled in a place like Thailand before. She wanted to travel how we had been traveling, so that meant somewhat questionable accommodations, overland travel, and street food. She embraced it all, even going ziplining and snorkeling with us, and staying in a hut in Koh Chang that didn’t even have a roof over the bathroom. I am so happy that we were able to share part of our life changing trip with her and my little sister, and it’s something I will remember forever.
Aww what an awesome story Adam! I’ve never traveled with my mom as she’s not a big traveler, but I’m hoping one day I’ll have the chance!