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One of the most common questions that people ask me when they find out how often I travel is who I like to travel with the most. Apologies in advance to my boyfriend and best friends who I have taken some incredible trips with. However, my mom takes the cake for my favorite travel buddy. Each of our mother daughter vacations quickly tops the list as my new favorite destination.
This post will highlight why each of these trips should be considered one of the best mother daughter vacation spots!
Drawing by Brittany Cyk. Check out her work at @bybritcyk
The Best Mother Daughter Vacations
Over the past eight years I have been lucky enough to take a yearly mother daughter vacation with my mom. This guide will cover eight of our trips to nine different countries, on four different continents. I am one of four children, all very close in age, so being able to spend this time with my mom has always been something that I cherish. Plus she not only lets me pick all of the destinations, but I get to plan the whole thing. Seriously a dream come true for me! Not to mention she is the ultimate Instagram boyfriend. The trips covered in this guide are:
- Thailand + Laos
- Sri Lanka
- Dolomites + Venice
How to Plan a Perfect Mother Daughter Trip?
When my mom and I begin planning a new trip together we like to make sure that our destination have both delicious local food and outdoor activities. Admittedly, this is usually only a week or two in advance, oops. If you had told me 10 years ago that hiking would be the common activity that my mom and I both love, I would have laughed. However, I find that these mother daughter vacations that are both physically and mentally challenging, are far more rewarding. When we have a sense of accomplishment. the trip feels like more of a bonding experience than a typical beach vacation. Plus, the hiking makes up for the 5 meals a day that I insist on eating in any new country. My mom always complains that traveling with me makes her gain weight.
10 Days in Peru
Our very first mother daughter trip was to Peru. Including the long flight down, we had 10 days to explore Lima, Cusco, and the surrounding area, as well as a trip to Machu Picchu. At the time of this trip I was in the middle of my gap year, spending a year traveling before starting college. I had spent the previous 4 months living in Italy, following a strict pizza-pasta-gelato diet, so even the small bit of hiking that this trip involved took a toll on me.
The Best Memory from Peru
My favorite memory from Peru has to be our visit to Machu Picchu. I know that it’s a cliche answer, but it was truly one of the coolest places that I have ever visited. In retrospect it is laughable how out of shape I was. I remember dying on the steep stairs leading up to Huayna Picchu.
3 Weeks in India
So when he decided to plan a 3 week trip to India in May, we didn’t really think about just how hot 110 degree Fahrenheit really is. Yes, 110 degrees. That’s how hot it was our first few days in India, as we explored temples under the pounding sun. This trip was definitely a whirlwind — from taking local trains to ditching our tour to get paraded around a local village. We stayed at an organic farm homestay in Kerala, diving into the growing process and learning more about the cooking techniques of Southern India. From here we hopped on a private boat, where we spend a night cruising the quiet backwaters.
The trip took a bit of a turn when a monkey jumped on my back during a waterfall hike in Goa. While trying to get the food out of my bag, he scratched me in the process. Since blood was drawn, next thing I knew I was getting jabbed with a rabies vaccine in a local hospital. Definitely a learning experience to never carry bananas in my bag, LOL.
The Best Memory from India
One thing that I love about my mom is that after working as a flight attendant for 35 years, she definitely isn’t afraid to try new things. So it was no wonder when we ended up in a super local restaurant on our first day in New Delhi. I’m talking one item on the menu, dig in with your hands bowl of curry. I am proud to say that my mom jumped right in, as we devoured one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten. And no, it was not nearly as fancy as the one pictured below!
3 Weeks in Nepal
Our trip to Nepal is not one that I will ever forget. I somehow convinced my mom that our next mother daughter vacation should be an 11 day round trip hike to Annapurna Base Camp. Hiking to Annapurna Base Camp was by far one of the most challenging and rewarding trips that I’ve ever been on. But if my mother than conquer this hike, so can you! Since we are both relatively inexperienced hikers, we booked a two-week tour with a local company.
It was such a magical feeling to make it to basecamp and appreciate the incredible moment of the sun rising over the mountains. And don’t worry, we only fought once the whole way up the mountain!
The Best Memory from Nepal
So, funny story! The website of the local company that we booked with stated that we would only have access to two buckets of hot water to rinse off during our 11 days in the mountains. Safe to say we packed a ton of baby wipes! To this day I don’t understand how I convinced my mom to join me on this adventure, but I mostly likely left out the part about no showers. Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the website hadn’t been updated in a few years, and running water was actually available at many of the tea houses! We had set our standards so low that we were so happy with the basic amenities at our tea house accommodation. Unfortunately, the British family that arrived after us were not as pleased. Especially when they discovered that there was an injured chicken hanging out in their bathroom.
2 Weeks in Thailand and Laos
During the Spring of 2015 I spent 5 months in Asia. The first part of my trip was spent in China. I was studying the language and spending some time in the snowy mountains. Next I was due to spend a few months solo backpacking through Southeast Asia. It only made sense for my mom to fly out to meet me. We had two weeks together, so we decided to split our time between Thailand and Laos.
Although this trip was much less hiking focused than the previous year, it still offered tons of adventure. Our itinerary including navigating the busy city of Bangkok, bargaining at markets and spending our time temple hopping. From here we made our way up north, to the calmer city of Chiang Mai. Like many of our previous trips, we spent time learning to cook the local cuisine at local cooking classes. The rest of the time I was stuffing my face every chance I got. Trust me, I wasn’t kidding when I said that traveling with me with make you fat.
Thailand is the perfect destination for a mother daughter vacation because it offers so much diversity. From the hecticness of Bangkok to the tranquility of the mountain towns in Northern Thailand. Not to mention, the endless beautiful beaches on the many islands in the south.
Laos is such an underrated country to visit. I definitely recommend it for your next mother daughter vacation! One of the absolute highlights was visiting Kuang Si Falls, located outside of Luang Prabang. These falls are brilliant blue, with falls at every level. I recommend visiting early with a private driver, to soak up the spot before the tour buses arrive.
The Best Memory from Thailand & Laos
By far one of the best moments of our trip, was bathing with elephants in Thailand. We made sure to only visit a conservation that treats the elephants fairly. There is something so magical about getting to be up close with these incredible animals.
3 Weeks in Argentina
Our trip to Argentina was definitely our attempt to top our physical activity in Nepal. Argentina is truly the perfect country for a mother daughter trip, as the country is so diverse. We started our trip in Buenos Aires, exploring the colorful city and eating well. Next, we made our way to Patagonia, where we would spend the bulk of our trip. We split our time over three cities, El Calafate, El Chalten, and Bariloche. I can proudly say that we hiked a total of 42 miles over three days. If that isn’t an accomplishment then I don’t know what is!
It was only fair that we rewarded ourselves with a couple of days in Mendoza to finish the trip. After many days of hiking we spent some time chilling out at some of the world’s best vineyards. Malbec is my favorite wine, with 95% of the production of Malbec taking place right in Mendoza. We enjoyed some incredible sunset horseback riding trips, exploring the mountains and soaking up Argentina’s countryside.
The Best Memory from Argentina
Before heading off on a 10 hour hike to Mt Fitz Roy, my mom and I took guesses on what time we would return. As we were heading back down, only a few miles from town, I noted that we wouldn’t be making it back in time for happy hour. With only 30 minutes until happy hour ended, there was no chance that we could make it back in time. My mom took that as a challenge, and began running down the hill, practically pushing people out of her way. I’m impressed to say that she did in fact make it to happy hour, saved a whole $2 USD and could barely feel her legs afterwards.
2 Weeks in Sri Lanka
Our Sri Lanka 2 Week itinerary was jam-packed with great food, scenic hikes, and exploring vibrant cities. We started our trip in Colombo. Colombo is a hectic city with lots to sights and smells to take in, ideally from the back seat of a tuk-tuk. From here we made our way to Kandy, soaking up the views from our hillside infinity pool. This is a fun city to explore, plus it is super easy to get from Kandy to Sigiriya to hike Pidurangala Rock.
We changed our itinerary at the last minute to spend a night in Haputale, after receiving a recommendation from one of my followers on Instagram. Haputale was definitely one of the trip highlights. It is a super local town, with very few tourists. It serves as the perfect starting point for anyone interested in hiking to Lipton’s Seat.
We spent our afternoon in Haputale wandering the train tracks, and having way too much fun taking ridiculous photos.
The Best Memory from Sri Lanka
There were so many incredible moments during our trip to Sri Lanka, but one of the highlights of the trip was waking up at 2am to summit Adam’s Peak by sunrise. Yes, 2am! It takes a few hours to reach the summit, so you want to give yourself ample time before sunrise. I was so proud of my mom, who was the oldest hiker in our group.
3 Days in Banff
One thing I love about my mom is that she is always down for a last minute adventure. This is in part because because we both fly standby. I gave her a call one evening, and next thing I know we are bound for Canada only a few days later! Although this was the shortest of our mother daughter vacations, our three days in Banff definitely tops the list as one of my favorites.
Our first full day in Banff was a crazy one! We spent a full 13 hours exploring in the national park, taking over 1500 pictures.
The Best Memory from Banff
I feel like more often than not, my fondest travel memories are the embarrassing moments. I had read over and over again online that you need to arrive super early if you want to see Lake Louise at sunrise. I probably should have taken into consideration that it was the low season, but alas. My mom and I arrived at the “busy” Lake Louise parking lot to find that we were the only car – sitting in the pitch black. After killing about 30 minutes, we eventually made our way to the lake with flashlights, no sign of the sun yet. We were worried about bears on our walk over, so we sang and clapped loudly as we walked.
4 Days in the Dolomites
Unfortunately as I got older, the increasing age came with more responsibilities and less free days. This means that our mother daughter vacations have had to get a bit shorter. We’ve tackled this by visiting destinations that are a bit closer and packing our days full. I was inspired to visit the Dolomites after seeing tons of photos on Instagram.
If you haven’t been to the Dolomites, start planning your trip right now. It is located only 2 hours outside of Venice, and it is super easy to get to the Dolomites by car. We spent 4 days on a road trip in the Dolomites. Our days were packed with beautiful mountain hikes and crystal blue lakes. Our evening were filled with large pizzas and extra large Aperol Spritzes. I would definitely recommend visiting for longer if you have the time!
The Best Memory from Dolomites
Gosh, I swear there were so many best memories from our trip to the Dolomites. Our hike to Lago di Sorapis was definitely up there, but I think hiking on Seceda mountain takes the cake. Every inch of the mountain was beautiful, and we spent so many hours hiking and exploring. We even came across some baby donkey, who were super cuddly and loving.
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