September 26 2008 by Amy Graff
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?