It’s my mom’s birthday today, so I want to dedicate this post for her stating the reasons why I enjoy and love traveling with her.
As you all know we are considering moving back to the US. This means I will see my family less and travel with them less.
Our first travel abroad was in May 2012 to Singapore. I used to work as a flight attendant, so when I had a long layover in Singapore, I booked tickets for my mom and my siblings.
Read more: Why I Love Traveling With My Siblings
Mom has done quite a lot of business travel on her own since she works with the Department of Agriculture in the Philippines. She is the Head of the Agribusiness and Marketing Department for the Bicol region. So if you want to know more about the business side of Agriculture, you need to look for her! She is the boss!
This government agency has sent Mom to different places promoting Philippine products like Madrid, Spain / Turin, Italy / Tokyo, Japan / Istanbul, Turkey / London, UK / Chicago, Illinois under the diplomat passport.
We have traveled together as well. We went to Miami, Florida / Atlanta, Georgia / Bohol, Philippines / Doha, Qatar, and Hong Kong. We visited Singapore 3 times! Recently, we traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia as my early birthday present for her.
Read more: 10 Things To Do In Bohol In One Day
When I was young, I never thought about traveling with my Mom. It felt awkward and restrictive. I won’t be able to do stuff, you know! But as I grow older, I become more sentimental, understanding, and appreciative. It may be because she is getting older or I matured or I am just making up for the lost time.
Here are the reasons (or benefits) why I love traveling with my Mom:
It gives us time to really catch up.
Even though I go home to the Philippines once a year, she still goes to work, look after my kids, and take care of the house. It was nice to have the time to just sit and chat. In the humdrum bustle of everyday life plus being an expat, those moments are few and far between. It’s not like the weekly calls or daily texts are not meaningful chats. But it’s just different when I get to talk to her in person, and not on FB messenger or WhatsApp. We can talk about what’s going on in our lives, future plans, or about her work without being rushed and while doing wonderful adventures. So, traveling gives us to make up for the lost time.
I get to know her better.
It could be because I am a Mom now, and I see things from a different perspective. I now understand her actions or her thought process or her decisions – because I think the same way. But certainly, traveling helped me get to know her better, and see a completely different side of her aside from ‘Mom mode’.
This also means sharing quality time.
Compared to those busy family gatherings, reunions, birthdays, and Christmas holidays, time almost seems to slow down when it just us traveling together. The memories are more invaluable.
We discover new places.
It was both our first time when we went to Bohol, Philippines and Siem Reap, Cambodia. We get to enjoy see new places and explore new adventures together.
If things go wrong, I know I’ll be alright.
Mom will always be a mom. Even when I am an adult now, I know Mom always has my back no matter what happens. Similarly, if things go awry, Mom always has the solution and offers vital reassurances
She will pamper (and take care of) my kids.
Whenever I travel with my Mom, my kids have to go with us. I can’t just leave them. Traveling with her means she gets to see her grandchildren and pamper them. It also means I get a break from the kids.
We can have lots of incredible photos and memories.
She can take hundreds of photos of me until I get the perfect Instagram picture. And she won’t complain about it.
It will give me a chance for me to treat her to something.
I can buy her something that she really wants to add to her collection. Just last weekend, we went to Siem Reap as my early birthday present for her. We went to the Night market and I bought her some cloth or textile that she really liked.
It’s a great way to express my gratitude to her.
I rarely talk about my Dad because I lost him at a young age. My mom did an awesome job raising us on her own. She devoted her time, energy, money and love to get me where I am today. So this is one of my ways to express my gratitude to her.
Here are some ways to make the experience memorable:
Be aware of your Mom’s health condition and mobility
I think this is the first thing you need to know. It will be easier to narrow down your choices of vacation destinations. Don’t plan a mountain hike, if you know your Mum has limited mobility.
Be transparent with your travel plans
Communicate. Tell her about your plans. She needs to know if you are taking her on a budget vacation or a luxury one. Be honest with her if the trip involves a lot of walking, sleeping at the airport, etc. She is entitled to know what she signed herself for.
Let her know the budget
Talk to her about the budget – if she needs to pay for something. Let her know your budget per day. Moms always have money. She can pay for herself, but they will always appreciate it if you will treat her. Whenever I take my mom on travels, I am upfront with my Mom that I will take care of the rest except the ticket. We are not budget travelers nor a luxury one, just mid-range. But I make sure that she is comfortable. Besides, if or when I ran out money, I know I can ask money from her.
She needs to know your itinerary so she can pack her clothes accordingly. And so she can also plan something for herself in between your schedules.
Take into account your Mom’s health and feelings when on the road. Your mom may want to stay longer in one place, let her stay without arguing. If she looks/feels exhausted, slow down or stop. If she feels like going home, don’t stop her. I don’t eat three times a day, but whenever I travel with my Mom, I always include breakfast, lunch, and dinner on my itinerary because she needs to take her medicines with food.
Keep her safe
Make sure your mom has the business card of the hotel or at least the number and address of your accommodation written down on a piece of paper, in case she gets lost. Teach her basic English just in case she does not speak any English at all.
Add variety on your itinerary. Aside from sightseeing, walking, and eating, she might enjoy swimming or dancing or shopping.
Be each other’s guide
Even if you are in charge of the trip, don’t ignore your Mom’s advice. They may not be travel-savvy. But age has gained them the necessary experience and perspective in life. They know how to ask directions, get a discount, or haggle. At the same time, you can show your Mom how to read maps.
Plan a trip around a special occasion
You can plan a trip during a special occasion – putting a positive spin on the entire experience. We celebrated Christmas 2012 in Singapore, Christmas 2013 in Hong Kong, my 27th birthday in Bohol, Philippines, and Mom’s 59th birthday in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Read more: 20 Fun Things To Do in Singapore With Kids
You don’t need to spend every second together
This is why you need to share with her your plans so she can also plan accordingly. She may want to get a massage, or go shopping or just be in her room to rest.
Try to avoid a touchy topic
Catching up is good, but there are topics your Mom may be sensitive about. Remember it will just be the two of you for the rest of the trip, you want it to be harmonious as much as possible.
Get out of your comfort zone
You’d be surprised with how adventurous your Mom is. Trying new things together will strengthen relationships.
Be happy. Make her happy. Make your mom laugh. Crack some jokes. If she is enjoying your trip, you will as well.
I hope my mom and I continue our travel tradition for as many years as we possibly can. Have you traveled with your Mom? What was your experience?
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