Lessons from Traveling with Mom – Happy Mother’s Day!

Yesterday across the world, men and women, boys and girls, paused their busy lives to celebrate their moms, grandmas and mother-in-laws and give thanks for their life-long selflessness and unconditional love.  I spent the day with my kids and husband bowling, playing soccer in the park, laughing, talking to my mom and mother-in-law on the phone and enjoying a relatively normal day.  I hope you all enjoyed some special time with your families and remember to celebrate every day as if it were Mother’s Day!

As I thought about my post this week, I realized much of my love of travel, and, in particular, travel with my kids, comes from special moments traveling with my mom.  I was very fortunate my parents were able to take my sister and me on trips every year growing up. Whether it was to the beach, the country or a national business conference, my parents took my sister and me just about everywhere.   I thank my mom for her love of adventure, her love of discovering new lands, people and food and most of all her love of family.

Mom and Me

Here are my favorite memories growing up that inspire my own family travels.

Bonding time on the plane – I distinctly remember the excitement of opening the tray table and pulling out a nail polish kit for my mom and me to do our nails.  This particular activity clearly can’t happen on an airplane in today’s world (I once was delayed for 2+ hours on a flight, complete with haz-mat investigators, because someone spilled powdered sugar from a donut in the bathroom. You can only image what the smell of nail polish would incite!), but you can find something special for the plane ride.  For us, it’s sharing our kids’ favorite piece of candy once they are buckled in and sitting nicely.

Photographing memories – My mom was and still is a talented amateur photographer. She always gave me tips for capturing great travel memories such as putting your subject in the forefront of the picture by having them stand closer to the camera, offsetting your subject from the background by placing individuals to the right or left of the frame; photographing the food on your plate to remember the local cuisine; and making a keepsake photo album of your trip afterwards.

One-on-one trips – As I got older, my mom and I took a couple of one-on-one trips that we both will always cherish.  It doesn’t have to be every year, but once in a while, perhaps in a particular milestone birthday year, consider taking a special trip with each of your kids.  Maybe it’s a mom-daughter spa trip. Or a father-son fishing trip.  Or a father-daughter kayaking trip.  Or even a special day trip/tour in your own city.  Whatever it is, your kids, and you, will hold it dear to your hearts forever!

Get everyone involved in planning – My mom always got us excited for our trip in advance.  She’d buy us one new bathing suit, shirt or sundress for the trip.  We looked through guidebooks together.  We read about the culture or history of the destination before we left.  We looked at maps and put together the itinerary together (or at least some aspect of it).

Special vacation treats – At home, my mom always fed us nutritious meals.  Breakfast was always Cheerios, toast with jelly or oatmeal.  But on vacation, we were allowed to pick out one cereal of our pleasure.  My special indulgence was Cookie Crisp.  Give your kids a break on vacation.  It’ll make the daily health regime easier at home when they have something to look forward to on vacation.

Send post cards to grandma – My mom always had us pick out a few postcards on our vacation to send home to grandma and grandpa.  Not only do grandparents live for mail from their grandkids, but kids get excited picking out their favorite picture from their trip and sharing their favorite story.  While today’s technology allows for easy photo-sharing and email correspondence, I still believe in the art of written communication.  Get your kids working on their penmanship, spelling and expression of ideas.  Vacation doesn’t have to mean a break from learning.

What is your favorite memory of traveling with your mom? Please share in the comments below.