I let my 5-year-old daughter, Paris make the call to her friend Tomo in Portland, Ore. “We’re coming to visit you! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” Paris excitedly screamed over the phone. I could hear Tomo cheering on the other end of the line.
Before Paris starts kindergarten at the end of August, I decided to take her on a special getaway to Portland, Ore., where one of her best friends recently moved. We had a busy summer with little time alone together and Paris was anxious about going to a new school. She seemed to need a few days away with just the girls.
This isn’t our first vacation together. She tagged along on my work trip to Waikiki, where we swam with dolphins, took a hula lesson, and ate lots of pineapple. I find that mother-daughter getaways renew relationships and create lasting memories. Paris is always saying, “Remember in Hawaii when we…”
Here are some tips on how you can plan a mother-daughter vacation and make sure things go smoothly on the road:
Plan the trip together. Here’s the rule: Mom picks three places and then the daughter chooses one of them. Try to come up with three very different options–a destination in the mountains, at the beach, and in the city. And then when your daughter picks your least favorite option, keep your mouth shut!
Visit a place that’s new to both of you. Your daughter doesn’t want to hear you saying, “And last time with your father….” You’ll bond much more easily if you’re exploring a destination that’s entirely new to both of you.
Avoid shopping-centric trips. Shopping is probably the one thing that you do together at home. There’s nothing all that special about it. Try other activities such as taking a hike, browsing a museum, riding bikes, taking a cooking class.
Leave expectations at home. Make sure you’re both clear on this rule before you go. No one is allowed to say things such as, “And I thought we would do this…” “I thought this would be more fun…” “I thought you wouldn’t be so moody if I took you on a trip…”
Set a budget. Let your daughter know how much you money have to spend, and involve her in the budgeting. It’s a great learning experience. To stop your daughter from incessantly asking you to buy stuff, tell her that you’ll buy only one souvenir–and be sure to set a price limit.
Invite others to join you. Traveling with other mothers and daughters–or aunts or grandma–can be a lot of fun. If you have a teenager, this might help ease tension.
Have you gone on a mother-daughter vacation? What tips do you have to offer?