As an adult, my mom and I have traveled together before, taking to the Bahamas and Las Vegas. We’ve sort of made it a tradition over the last couple of years. However, our trip of a lifetime to Paris and Nice, France (for free, by the way. Read more about that here) would be the first time we traveled for so long and far together. It turned out to be nothing short of amazing. It was her first time traveling to Europe, so I wanted her to enjoy the trip and see and do as much as possible. Who knows if she’d ever return!
I planned this trip for MONTHS, taking into consideration where we’d stay, eat, what we’d do and how to fit it all in. I was a little nervous about things going as planned but when the trip was over, she told me I did an excellent job planning (I happen to agree with her) which made all the time and effort I spent planning worth it.
But no one talks about how traveling with parents can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming. They are in a different generation, do things differently and most times have a different idea of fun. But that doesn’t mean that traveling with them can’t be managed. Here are some tips I’ve learned from traveling with my mom over the years:
Book transportation ahead of time.
When I travel alone or with friends, I usually just wing it. Uber, train, cab, whatever. We have a vague idea about how we’re getting from the airport, but nothing really concrete. With my mom, I knew better. I didn’t want to worry about being overcharged, getting lost or wasting precious time. I booked transportation to and from each airport and she actually thanked me for us not having to figure that part out. It made traveling easy and one less thing for us to worry about.
Don’t skimp on accommodations.
While I’m usually particular about where I stay, I wanted to ensure my mother had no bad things to say about the hotel. I wanted every part of her travel experience to be epic, and that included our accommodations. Everything worked out for the best and she loved our hotels.
Plan your itinerary but be flexible.
On our way to Paris, my mother had an aisle seat and did not get much sleep. She was so tired once we arrived at our hotel, but we had a Blacks in Paris tour a few hours after landing. She asked if we could reschedule the tour and while we couldn’t due to the tour guide’s schedule, I didn’t mind cancelling it because I knew that her getting sleep and feeling semi-rested at the start of our trip could set us up for success for the remainder. Turns out, I was right and my mother was a champ for the rest of the day and the trip.
Give them photography lessons before you leave.
If you care in the least about photos of yourself memorializing your epic trip, you will give your give your parent(s) phone photography lessons before you leave. Otherwise, you’ll spend precious moments having meltdowns in the middle of Parisian streets because your mother doesn’t get your angles properly. Trust me.
Let them win sometimes.
I ate at Hard Rock Café two nights in a row. Yes, you read that correctly. We had an awful time trying to find good food in Paris, so once we got to Nice and ate a decent meal at Hard Rock, there was no turning back for her. I couldn’t believe she wanted to eat there again, but I had to give her something to make her feel like she had some kind of input during the trip. So I sucked it up and ate at Hard Rock again. And I didn’t die. Win/win!
Take some alone time.
Seriously. Similar to traveling with friends, traveling with your parents can be difficult and very taxing. Take a moment for yourself and save your sanity.
Cut them some slack.
They may not move as fast as you, or have the same taste in activities as you, but they gave birth to and raised you. Cut them some slack!
While it’s a different experience than traveling with friends or significant others, these are moments to cherish and remember. I hope that these tips help with traveling with your parents and take some of the edge off!