Mother-daughter trips are time-honored ways to bond and create special memories. But how does that dynamic change with adult daughters? Sarah Bence offers her insights from personal experience traveling with her mom.

As a millennial, I know that a lot of my peers left vacations with their parents behind in their childhoods. 
 
Sure, they go back and visit their parents for holidays and big events, but going on an actual vacation together? Not only is that something a lot of my peers don’t do, but it’s something that makes them cringe. 
 
Just the thought of sharing a crammed car with their mom on a long road trip has them running for the solo-traveler hills. 
 
Each to their own, of course, but I for one discovered that I love mother-daughter trips as an adult. Actually, it’s even more enjoyable than the trips we took when I was a child.
mom-daughter trips -- Sarah Bence sitting with her mother in a wooded area

Our Mother-Daughter Trips Over Time

As an only child, I’ve always been close to my parents – whether I wanted to be or not (looking at you, teenage years). 
 
Some of my best memories from growing up include family vacations. These were usually long road trips that my mom meticulously routed out for months prior to our departure. 
 
After all, she had taken road trips with her parents growing up, and she wanted to pass this tradition on to her family. 
 
Of course, these fond memories are a bit glossed over, because when I think harder about it I remember the car sickness, the daily fights over directions, and the snoring that kept me up all night in cheap hotels.
moms who travel - posing with a bicycle
 
I definitely have an independent streak, and after I graduated college I moved across the world for graduate school. 
 
With an ocean between us, obviously the family vacations were left in the past for me to look back on with those rose-tinted glasses. 
 
With my freedom, I spent my weekends and any spare money I could scrounge up learning the art of solo travel around Europe. 
 
I stayed in hostels everywhere from the Greek Islands to Amsterdam, I trekked around Slovenia, I had a handy well-used UK railcard, and once I even took a horrific 36-hour bus from Bielefeld, Germany to London. 
 
A few years later, with a travel blog to my name, I considered myself a travel pro.
 
But then, I moved back to the United States, and more than that, to the hometown I grew up in. 
 
With most of my regular travel companions left in the UK and most of my friends in the USA obedient to limited vacation policies, I turned to my original travel companion: My mom.
traveling with your mom -- fancy meal at a unique Michigan hotel

Mother-Daughter Travel as an Adult

Like I mentioned, a lot of my peers wouldn’t think of traveling with their mom as a “vacation” per se.
 
Maybe I didn’t think the whole thing through, but that actually never occurred to me. 
 
My first summer back in my home state, I was offered a plus one on a press trip to the Grand Hotel – Michigan’s iconic luxury hotel. I knew immediately that my mom had to come with me.
 
The weekend was incredible, from seeing her awe (and my own) at our hotel room, riding bikes around the island, taking photos together, and even the long road trip and ferry ride to the hotel itself. 
Sarah Bence and her mom -- on mother-daughter trips as an adult
 
Since then, we’ve gone on many more adult mother-daughter trips together: Quebec City (twice!), Portland, Maine, all around our home state of Michigan, and more. 
 
We recently stayed at Le Monastere des Augustines in Quebec City together – a true bucket list experience for both of us, that also involved a multi-day road trip (her favorite thing!). 
 
I even took her to her first-ever day spa in Quebec City, where I’m pretty sure she developed her new obsession.
mother-daughter travel selfie by Sarah Bence
It is so fulfilling to be able to take my mom on these trips, knowing that thanks to my travel blog and hard work I am able to give back a small portion of the incredible experiences she gifted me as a child. There’s a certain pride in this role reversal. 
 
Of course, sometimes my mom returns the favor and takes me on trips, too, or treats me to meals, which in some ways feels like reverting back to my childhood.
 
But in the chaos of adult life, it’s not all bad to feel comforted and supported the way only moms can!

The Reality of Traveling with Your Mom

Of course, traveling with your mom as an adult isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. 
 
We definitely have our arguments, and we’ve learned some important tips (like separate bedrooms if possible – although we have definitely shared our fair share of double beds around the world). 
 
Ultimately, though, I feel very lucky to be able to have these experiences with my mom as an adult. 

I know I am building memories that I will look back on in future years, and be incredibly grateful for.
 
Traveling with my mom as adult has changed our relationship and deepened it from what it was when I was growing up.  

Have you traveled with your mom or with your daughter? What was your experience?

Sarah Bence
Sarah Bence is a registered Occupational Therapist and has spent time working in a memory care unit. She is also a professional travel writer and runs the blog Endless Distances.

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3 Comments

  1. A really amazing article. I love it so much! Thank you for sharing good luck!

  2. […] Read next: Thoughts on Mother-Daughter Trips as an Adult […]

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