Special Mother-Daughter Travel Experiences: Part One

Mother’s Day tribute

Memories of traveling with our moms

(This is is the first part of a two-part collaborative series.)

My mom passed away in 2000, but I think about her every day — particularly at special times like Mother’s Day. Many of my thoughts of her involve travel — times we traveled as a family when I was young and bonus times when I was able to travel with her in her final years. I know that many of you have the same kind of recollections that can bring a smile to your face.

To celebrate Mother’s Day 2020, I asked some of my travel friends to share their special memories of travels with their mothers and I received wonderful responses. Enjoy these glimpses into the very special mother-daughter travel experience.

Julie Falconer | A Lady in London

Julie Falconer of A Lady in London with her mother in Bath, England -- Photo courtesy of Julie Falconer

Julie and her mother in Bath, England — Photo courtesy of Julie Falconer

One of my favorite memories of traveling with my mother is when she first visited me after I moved to London. She wasn’t happy with me for moving overseas, so I was determined to show her a good time and convince her that my being abroad was a good excuse for her to see more of England.

While she was here, we went to Bath. We spent a day seeing Bath Abbey, touring the Roman Baths, and taking in all the Georgian architecture in the city center. We also did a lot of shopping. From Pulteney Bridge to the covered market, we indulged in mother-daughter retail therapy as we made our way around the city.

While she’s never forgiven me for moving abroad, I like to think our trip to Bath made her more enthusiastic about visiting me in London. She’s been back a few times since and we’ve traveled everywhere from Hampton Court Palace to the Lake District.

Debbra Dunning Brouillette | Tropical Travel Girl

Debbra Dunning Brouillette with her mother in Ft Myers Beach, Florida

Debbra with her mother in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida — Photo courtesy of Debbra Dunning Brouillette

My memories of traveling with my Mom date back to my childhood when we took annual vacations as a family. Until age eight, when my sister was born, that was just me, along with Mom and Dad, and most of those trips were to Florida beaches, which were a two-day trip from our home in southern Indiana. We continued to take trips to Florida, but also spent time in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains and one year made it to Washington, DC.

My favorite memories, though, were those Florida beach vacations, spent in Panama City, Daytona Beach, and Ft. Myers. The photo is one of Mom and I at Ft. Myers Beach; I am seven, so she would have been just 28. My Mom, who has vascular dementia, will turn 90 in September, She lives in an assisted living facility 20 minutes from my home in Evansville, IN, but, due to COVID-19 restrictions, I have not been able to visit in person (except talking to her on the phone through her window), since March 16. Traveling back in time with her, through old photographs, is the best I can do with her now. I look forward to the day when I can see her again and do just that.

Leonora di Mauro | Italy in Style

Leonora di Mauro with her mother -- Photo courtesy of Leonora di Mauro

Leonora with her mother — Photo courtesy of Leonora di Mauro

My Mom has always been very passionate about traveling. It is one of the things that makes her feel more alive. I was 9-month old when she took me on a plane. I haven’t stopped traveling since. The most special trip together was our tour of the US. We started in New York City where I had moved a few years earlier from Milan. I planned all the best experiences for her from a Gospel in Harlem where we were the only tourists to dinner at Le Cirque. We ended in California with a drive along the coast from San Francisco to Santa Monica I have never seen her happier. Each time I go to Italy I take her on a short trip. She always discovers something new. When I look at her eyes and I see we share the same innate curiosity and cultural openness, I feel immense gratitude.

Lisa Truesdale | Freelance Writer 

Lisa Truesdale's mother on a road trip - Photo courtesy of Lisa Truesdale

Lisa’s mom on their mother-daughter road trip — Photo courtesy of Lisa Truesdale

My dad wasn’t a big traveler, so after he died, my mom asked if she could travel with me and my family. We happily obliged, and she traveled with us extensively for 13 years until she died in 2010. We checked off places on her travel bucket list, like Disneyland and Graceland. One time, we left the kids with Daddy for a mother-daughter weekend and road-tripped up to Mount Rushmore in her new car. It was the first time in her life she had purchased one brand new, and she was very proud of it. Throughout the entire trip, she kept commenting on how pretty it was and how much she loved it.

On the way back home to Colorado, we stopped on the side of the road to marvel at the Crazy Horse Memorial. “Take my picture,” she said, and I’ll never forget our conversation as I was snapping this photo: “Okay, Mom, ready… wait, let me move over to get a better view of Crazy Horse.” She started laughing. “Who cares about that? Just make sure you get a good shot of the pretty new car.”

Teresa Keane | Independent Travel Help

Teresa Keane and her mother in Vilnius, Lithuania -- Photo courtesy of Teresa Keane

Teresa and her mum in Vilnius, Lithuania — Photo courtesy of Teresa Keane

My parents have travelled a lot over the years. This is mainly due to my mum’s adventurous nature and desire to explore the world. Like mother, like daughter, I have inherited her adventurous spirit. I have been fortunate to travel and discover the world on my own and, on many occasions, with my parents. They have often met me somewhere in the world and spent anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks travelling with me.

I chose to include a photo of me and my mum in Vilnius (Lithuania) in 2014 because it’s my mum’s favourite city. She loved everything about it — the food, the people, the city’s relaxing feel, and the AirBnB accommodation we shared. We had an enjoyable few days in this beautiful city before we headed off on a bus together to Latvia to continue our adventure.

Sue Reddel | Food Travelist

Sue Reddel with Diana and her mom in China

Diana’s mother with Diana and Sue in China

One of our all-time favorite travel memories was taking Diana’s Mother with us on a trip to Beijing, China. We were planning our visit to Beijing and she mentioned dreaming of going to China after learning about it from a grammar school teacher. That’s all she had to say to make us say, come with us! We spent a week in China showing her all our favorite spots and making new discoveries along the way. After the trip, she told anyone who would listen that it was a “trip of a lifetime”.  She thanked us so many times. She’s no longer with us but just thinking about her making the trek up the Great Wall, wandering around the Forbidden Palace, and enjoying her first hot pot dinner makes us burst into smiles.

Suzanne Fluhr | Boomeresque

Suzanne (top left) with her sisters and mother — Photo courtesy of Suzanne Fluhr

In 1969-70, my father was an exchange teacher in England. He was assigned to a school in Devizes, a Wiltshire market town about 100 miles west of London.

My mother was a trooper. In 1969, most houses in England still didn’t have central heating. While my father, my sisters and I headed off to a fairly modern school, my mother was left in our freezing house. She had to cook on a gas hotplate that was operated by feeding shillings into a meter. We ate a lot of stew.

Our only heat came from 2 space heaters we used in 2 downstairs rooms. At night, we were sent off to bed with hot water bottles. My mother was concerned when I developed blisters on my feet. An English friend explained they were “chillblains” caused by cold feet on a hot water bottle. It was so cold in our house that one night, my father found my mother taking a bath wearing a sweater!

Michele Herrmann | Freelance Travel and Lifestyle Writer

Michele Herrmann's United States and Ireland passports

Michele’s passports made possible by her mother — Photo courtesy of Michele Herrmann

I often think I’m more like my dad in personality but he quickly points out what characteristics come from my mother. We’re both strong, independent and at times stubborn women that enjoy learning more about the world. Along with my existence, I’m thankful for another gift from her — travel. An Irish immigrant, my mom has taken my sisters and I back to Ireland a few times to meet her side of our family. Because of her, I’ve had a U.S. passport since my age was in the single digits. In recent years, she helped me obtain my Irish passport. In return, these days, I handle booking her flight home for her annual visits, making sure she has a window seat. While we don’t get to travel together much nowadays, I’ll be the first to go with her back to Ireland or anyplace else.

Rachel Heller | Rachel’s Ruminations

Rachel Heller's mother and father

Rachel’s father and mother — Photo courtesy of Rachel Heller

My graduation present from high school back in 1980 was two weeks in Spain and France … with my mother! While I longed to travel in Europe, I wasn’t sure if I’d have much fun with her along. I was wrong; she really loosened up once she didn’t have to nag me to do chores. She was on chemo at the time, but we just brought the pills along; she’d comment about how it was “time to take my poisons!” and we’d just get on with sightseeing. Our general jollity was probably due to the fact that she couldn’t just buy a glass of wine in most places: it was a whole bottle or nothing. And we didn’t want any to go to waste, so we finished a bottle between us every dinner and also some lunches.

The best adventure of the trip, though, was in Barcelona. My mother — not a shy bone in her body — struck up a conversation in a restaurant bathroom with a member of a large group of diners: the entourage of a millionaire banker traveling the Mediterranean on a yacht. We ended up joining their group for the rest of dinner, then walking back to the yacht. While I was elsewhere, touring the yacht with the helmsman, the millionaire made a pass at my mother! She told me later that he took her rejection very politely, as if he just meant it as a compliment. The memories make me smile to this day!

Bonnie Carroll – Bonnie Carroll’s Life Bites News

Bonnie Carroll's mother Rose -- Photo courtesy of Bonnie Carroll

Bonnie’s mother Rose — Photo courtesy of Bonnie Carroll

My mother Rose had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a sense of adventure.

In 1983 she invited me to join her in Puerto Vallarta for a weekend. It was our first visit to PV and we spent our days touring Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral, shopping in quaint shops and just losing ourselves in the sleepy little town. I was amused by how fascinated she was with the scintillating stories of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s romance in the hills overlooking the town.

My most unforgettable moments with mom were spent sitting at a rickety picnic table on the beach watching the ocean and eating Mexican street food we had purchased from a family stand a few steps away. It was one of those perfect days where the sky and the water were magnificent shades of blue and a gentle breeze was blowing. Time seemed to stand still with each breaking wave and we were basking in a kind of blissful harmony.

My mother passed away in 2002, and since my weekend with her in 1983 I have been to Puerto Vallarta countless times. Whenever I return, I find myself reliving those precious moments with her at the picnic table in my mind, and I’m so grateful to celebrate our mother-daughter visit once again.

Read more stories in part two.

Do you have special memories of traveling with your mom?

Women in travel share their mother-daughter travel experiences

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9 thoughts on “Special Mother-Daughter Travel Experiences: Part One

  1. Suzanne Fluhr

    Thanks for including my memory of travel with my mother in England. My father was the one with the wanderlust gene (passed on to me and from me to our younger son), but she went along with his somewhat outlandish proposals and made us a home wherever he took us.

  2. Vera Marie Badertscher

    Our mother/daughter only trip was traveling by train during WWII from Chicago to Ohio when I was about 3. A sailor volunteered to hold me, so people would think we were with him and could get a seat!. Our longest trip was when my mother, brother and sister and my two sons under 3 years old–and pregnant me, drove from Ohio to Arizona after the death of my grandmother. Needless to say it was a fraught and interesting trip.

    We did have a nice trip to San Diego when my parents were in their 80s. But when I was young–1940, the year that it was designated as a National Park, my mother, father, grandparents and I visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  3. Pingback: Special Mother-Daughter Travel Experiences: Part Two | Traveling with Sweeney

  4. Jackie Smith

    Lovely post and lovely memories. Envious of those who experienced travel with their mother’s. Look forward to the next installment. Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow travel blogger moms out there!

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