Eurotrip challenge with my mom
Once I came back to Europe, I took my mom for a trip across Germany, Portugal and Spain. In total, we spent over 18 days on the road visiting over 15 cities and towns, we slept at 4 different airports and 3 hostels and 2 apartments, walked a lot and traveled by local buses and metro. I wanted to show my mom what backpacking and etramping is all about. Our budget was $25 a day each and believe me or not, we easily stuck to it. There were no restaurants or fancy cocktails, no taxis or airport pick ups. Instead, we did a lot of food shopping, cooked at hostels and had our lunches and dinners in local parks or at the beaches. So much fun! Best holiday ever!
My mom turned out to be even more adventurous than I thought. She never complained about being tired. She was blissfully happy to visit such amazing countries and beautiful cities. She was talking pictures like crazy, posed for photos like a professional backpacker and once she said: “Aga, let’s take a selfie”, I knew she was my travel girl!
When our trip came to an end, my mom asked me: “Where are we going next?” I was a bit surprised… After 18 days of backpacking, I was pretty sure she would never want to travel with me again, but I was wrong. In fact, my mom loved every minute of our mini Eurotrip and she was ready for more adventures. She even enjoyed sleeping at Madrid and Lisbon airports and having a lunch on the grass in a local park in Lisbon and Fatima!
As I feel a bit experienced at traveling with a parent, here are some tips on how to enjoy being on the road with your mom:
#1 Prepare your mom for the worst
If you are taking your mom for a budget holiday/ trip, make sure she knows what she signed herself for. Be honest with her and tell her that she may be forced to walk a lot, showers happen very random, she might sleep at the airport, etc. Once she knows that and agrees for that, she will never get surprised during the trip or she may not want to go with you.
#2 Explain your travel style
Before taking your mom on a trip, you should explain your idea/ purpose of travel to her. I travel for $25 a day and my mom knows that. I spoke to her about the way I travel, what things I mainly focus on when being on the road, what tramping is all about, etc. She knew all of this before she decided to join me. She was also aware of limited budget we had.
#3 Make sure she packs light
If you decide to go backpacking with your mom, you should make sure she packed light. Her backpack should be lightweight and easy to carry so she can enjoy her journey more!
#4 Make a plan
Making a travel plan is crucial when traveling with your mom. In this way, she will know exactly where she is going to be each day, what places she will visit and what kind of activities you will both do. A proper plan will help her prepare good clothing and pack things she may find useful when you start traveling.
#5 Respect your mom’s decisions
Once you are both on the road, you should always respect her decisions and take into account her health, mood and feelings when changing your travel plans. If you mom feels like staying longer in one place, extend your stay without arguing. If your mom looks exhausted, slow down and relax. If she wants more adventures, make sure she will experience something new. If she feels like going home, don’t stop her. No pressure!
#6 Always keep an eye on her
When traveling with your mom, you should make sure she never gets lost and if she does, she knows the way to the hostel. You may visit crowdy places where it’s easy to get lost. In this case, write down the proper address of your hostel/ hotel on a piece of paper and hand it over to your mom. If your mom does not speak any English as mine, being in a situation when she can’t find you may be extremely stressful.
#7 Keep the balance
It’s important to keep the balance between sightseeing, eating, talking and taking pictures. Try not to spend too much time walking or eating. That can either make your mom bored or way too exhausted. It’s good to start your day with a proper breakfast, then do a bit of sightseeing followed by a lunch break. At night, you can do some fun things as dancing, clubbing, etc.
#8 Let your mom be your guide
From my personal experience I know how important it is to listen to your mom’s tips. Although you are in charge of the trip, don’t ignore your mom’s advice. She may also know how to read the map, haggle, get a discount or ask the way. She might surprise you!
#9 Be your mom’s teacher
Be patient with your mom and teach her how to take pictures, how to haggle, look for affordable accommodation or talk to locals. Show her how to read a map, book a train ticket or deal with flight delays. Once she knows that, she will be a great help, trust me.
#10 Laugh a lot!
Traveling is all about experiencing new things and having fun. No matter what mood you are in when traveling with your mom, try to stay optimistic! Make your mom laugh, crack some jokes with her, talk about things you both liked and disliked on your trip and make sure your mom is always happy. If she enjoys the journey, you will as well!