10 Tips For Traveling With Your Mom

Eurotrip challenge with my mom

Selfie in Lisbon!

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’s getting ready for the flight

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!

Visiting Fatima in Portugal

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

Lunch time!

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

Breakfast at Goodmorning Hostel. My mom’s first visit in a hostel. She was the oldest one there.

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

Fatima Sanctuary, Portugal

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

Wine tasting in Lisbon

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

Breakfast at Ribeiro Hotel

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!

Selfie at the bus station in Lisbon

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!

Have you ever traveled with your mother? If so, what was your experience?

This post was originally published in
About Agness

Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"

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  • Awesome tips!! The last one s my favorite, laughing helps everything I think. I really hope my mom travels with me one day. We always talk about it, maybe it’s time we actually do it!

  • I have to agree, moms are the most resourceful people in the world and they can really surprise you. I’ve seen an elderly Hong Kong woman cleared US customs and immigration at San Francisco Airport, got onto the correct bus to her hotel, and checked in, all by herself without speaking a word of English! (The last task was with my translating assistance though :D ).
    Still, your mom rocks! :D

  • Nice article Agness – it’s great to hear your mom was onboard to try out etramping and travelling on less than $25 a day. I don’t think my mom would be into airport sleeping (or maybe that’s just me speaking ;) )

  • You are the best daughter in the world because, it sounds like you have the best mom in the world.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    God bless you both

    BTW, can you adopt me as your mom so I can come LOL

  • Lovely post! I love traveling with my mom! :) In fact, I have written a post on how my mom is my favorite travel companion. She is a delight to travel with! Your mom looks like a great travel companion too. :) Nice tips, cool pictures!

    • Is she?! After this summer I can proudly say that my mom is not only my best travel companion, but also my favourite backpacker :)!

  • Good on you for travelling with your Mum! It must be a challenge when you travel with anyone who doesnt travel the kind of way YOU like to, for both of you, at times. I wonder if I could suggest a hostel tour of Europe to my Mum… lol, see I’m getting old too and that doesnt appeal to me these days unless I get my own room!

  • Haha! I should have read this before I travelled with my parents for a week. I def did not warn them about all the walking or about my affinity for living off street food and bowls of noodles. Still, its pretty amazing to share new places with your family. You two are so cute!

  • Aww sweetest article ever, and your mom is absolutely adorable! I see where you get your pretty looks!:-)

    The last trip I took with my mom was to a dude ranch in Arizona, and we had a blast! I knew in the planning process that her travel interests are a bit different than mine…I could spend all day in a museum, but know she would go stir crazy, and prefers the outdoors, so the ranch was perfect!

  • I love that your mom went backpacking with you! I’ve traveled quite a bit with my mom, but she likes her hotels lol! I’ve found that it’s important for Mom and I to each take some time for ourselves. When we were spending a few days in Brussels, I decided to go to Antwerp one day and she decided to wander around Brussels by herself. We both had a great time and had lots to talk about over dinner when we met back up!

  • Aw, I love this post. I used to take my mother on trips every year before she passed away. This really tugs at my heart strings.

    It would be great if you could make your mother do a guest post about her trip with you!

  • I’ve never traveled with my mother, but everywhere I go, I think about her. When I see incredible landscape, or eat a delicious meal, or walk along a beautiful city, I always wish she could see that as well. It looks like you had a wonderful trip together, and it is so awesome that you were able to stick to the low budget!

  • This is an awesome idea for a post!!! I love it!! I get my travel bug from my parents – they backpacked around the world for a year after they were married, and my mom took my sister and I traveling from a young age. So I was surprised when I recently traveled with my Mom and she was really unflexible and whiny! It was a really frustrating trip for both of us, and I wish I had read your tips beforehand! Mostly I think I lacked the patience you seem to have…that’s definitely a huge thing! I’m backpacking with my dad in Turkey soon, so hopefully that’ll go better!! I’ll keep your tips in mind =)

  • That’s awesome Agness! Backpacking with your mother and by following your budget way of travelling too, wow! I remember seeing some photos on your Facebook this summer, but I didn’t realize you two were actually “backpacking”, that’s cool!

  • Awesome tips Agness! And I really have to use them. I’ve traveld with my mom and I think the Listen to your Mom and Let Your Mom be your guide are two important ones. I can be very budget and hoof things around a lot; my mom needs a little more comfort and convenience and I should really listen to that and let her go at her own pace.

  • Oh wow, this is unbelievably sweet. I was afraid it was going to be a sort of horror story “make sure you DON’T do this” kind of thing.
    I’m so glad to hear you had a wonderful trip with your mother. Thanks for sharing!

  • What a great post! Seems like you had an amazing time and your tips are very valuable I think. My mom actually travels a lot as well but not as budget-oriented as I do and we never made a trip together of only the two of us. So I will definitely keep your tips in mind, if we do so some day.

  • I have never went on a trip with just me and my mum but I just book a flight for 2 for early next year for a short trip to a neighbouring country. I’m looking forward to that and will keep your tips in mind. :)

    • Seriously? That’s so cool. Towards the end of the trip my mom was getting so comfortable with her new role of backpacker! :D

  • Hi, guys! I really really love this post! it feels very warm <3 I haven't traveled with my mom alone, but sometimes we travel with my sisters. I love traveling with my mom (even more than with my friends) because we have a lot in common! and I like it that when we travel, she takes care of me, making sure I eat ealthily, & I could also be of some use since I speak english (she doesn't). Would love to take her to Europe someday since it's always been her dream to go there! :))

  • Loved seeing how much the two of you enjoyed travelling together. I wish I had done this when my parents were younger. We lost Dad recently after a long illness and I’m now thinking how much I ‘d love to show Mum around places like Rome and Florence. However, at 81 and with some health issues, I’m really not sure how much walking she’d be able to do. I really must have a good think about it.

  • These are fantastic tips Agness. I’m sure that my mother would have loved to travel with me but sadly, she passed away when I moved to Germany. However, I have travelled with my brother. And that was awesome. He had just finished university, and I had moved to London so everything made an impression on him. We travelled to Brighton, Bath and Cambridge together. It was such a good laugh.

    In fact, I’m thinking of getting us all together for summer in a French villa. Pool, wine and everything LOL!

  • My fave travel buddy is my Mom, it’s kind of crazy because the first time we travelled together years ago I was thinking she just might slow me down or curb my inquisitive need to peek into strange obscure food markets. No so. In fact, she ended up opening doors I’d never imagine & I’m so excited to be off again in late December having a magical cruise with my Mom & meeting up with some family & friends in Cambodia.
    Great travel tips for traveling with your Mom – heartily agree with them all.

  • Hahahah! That was so funny to read :)
    I’ve just imagined my mom (questioning everything, sometimes scared without a reason, doing everything “her way”) to travel with me. ;))

  • This is such a cute post Agness!! Love the selfies and that your Mum suggested it herself :) I went to Florence with my Mum many years ago and I think in hindsight, I probably rushed her around a bit too much – she never complained but I know she found it a bit tiring so next time, I think I would slow my pace down a little :)

  • Hi Agness, I really enjoyed this article. Tell your Mum that I have heaps of respect for her, as not everyone wants to “rough” it – as in travel on a challenging budget. That is so cool. I hope you loved Lisbon BTW, my other half is Portuguese.

  • Hi Agness! Nice article and great tips! I am planning to bring my mother go Spain and Portugal this May! Would be nice if you could share with me on the places you have visited and would recommend us? :)

  • Hey,
    Thank you for this amazing article and sharing your experiences. I was having a faith crisis right now on my hostel bed, about travelling with my mom n staying in a hostel. You see, I felt like I was the only one doing this and felt really stupid when we ran into a bad roomate issue. This just made me question everything (our first experience in hostel, we’ve travelled together before.) But your experiences makes me feel like there’s nothing wrong with this, and I shouldn’t be bothered by people’s judgments or their bad behaviours
    Thank you :’)

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