15 Bucket-List Mother-Daughter Trips That Will Make You Two Even Closer
She understands Cardi B as much you understand Peter, Paul and Mary. But generational music preferences aside, you and your mom are a wonderful pair. Whether it’s motivating each other to take one more step on up a hill or always being game for tasting an exotic street food, the two of you are each other’s best travel buddy. So if you need a little inspiration for your next trip together, here are 15 ideas that take a mother-daughter trip—and hey, even your relationship—to the next level.
A SAFARI EXPEDITION
If your mom has an eye for exploration and a strong desire to spy baby wildebeests and rhinos playing in the brush, then she’ll have no qualms about traipsing through the Serengeti for a few days. Widen her worldview on transcendent safari before retiring to your glamping grounds for a little R&R in the middle of vast untamed plains. Extraordinary Journeys operates tours all over Africa and Asia, so now the hard part is deciding where to go.
An All-You-Can-See Culture Crawl
The best way to experience a major metropolis is by foot, and when you want to maximize your sightseeing time (and save room for local eats and vino along the way), skipping long lines is crucial. Get Your Guide allows you to pre-pay for no-wait tickets to museums, historic landmarks and parks in over 180 countries and book a VIP pass to gain access to the greatest hits in your city of choice. And who better to spend four hours in one hall of a museum than with your mom?
A Wellness Retreat
Holistic getaways to cleanse the mind, body and spirit are a fast-growing trend in travel, and with so many destination options (like Golden Door in California, Canyon Ranch in Massachusetts, Red Mountain Resort in Utah, and Y01 in the Catskills), deciding where to do you (+ mom) has never been easier. Just be sure to pack a journal and take your relationship with your mom to the next level. Oh, and you should also probably be willing to give up the booze—most of these wellness centers are dry.
A Spa Sanctuary
If there’s one venue intended for a mother-daughter sojourn, it’s the spa—and let’s be honest, most places worth traveling to usually have one. Be it a pair of twin tables overlooking crashing waves high on a mountain, or an all-out geothermal bath circuit in an Icelandic wonderland, you’ll want to trade in your everyday clothes for a robe right away. Sites like Spa Week and Groupon will even do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to deal hunting.
A Giving-Back-Together Volunteer Project
Give back with the woman who gives everything to you—on a volunteer vacay. Not only will you bond throughout the process, but you’ll also help others in need by building homes and schools in impoverished communities. Contiki hosts a series of “Me to We” charity-driven trips in Latin America and India, where you can spend your days venturing into the Amazon jungle to install clean water systems, before retiring to cozy eco-lodges for a solid night’s slumber.
A Great Vineyard Hop
Vino lovers will surely appreciate hopping from one vineyard to the next, testing their tannin knowledge and exchanging viticultural convo with cellar masters. Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara are all must-visit regions where the vineyards are as abundant as the lot of charming inns, full-service spas and gourmet restaurants. Plus, with UberWINE officially a thing, you won’t have to worry about getting around. And if you and your mom not only love wine but also can’t get enough of Sherlock, consider this Napa Valley wine train murder mystery.
A Fancy AF Castle Getaway
Live like a royal and hole up in a medieval masterpiece with your #1 queen. When there are sprawling acres to roam, swanky boudoirs fit for breakfast in bed and a plethora of Insta opps, you’ll never have reason to leave. Plus there are hundreds of castles calling, like an 11th-century chateau in the heart of Normandy (Chateau de Courtomer), a palatial estate perched above the sand dunes in Newport (Castle Hill Inn) and a Neo-Gothic manor nestled in the Irish countryside (Adare Manor). Heck, there ares even Disney castles you can visit IRL.
A LEISURELY RIVERBOAT VOYAGE
Not your typical cruiser? Swap crowded ocean liners for a luxury “paddlewheeler” that winds along scenic waterways and through diverse landscapes in laid-back, throwback style. With U.S. river cruises traversing everywhere from New Orleans to Alaska, you and your mom can get a feel for how Lewis and Clark did things more than 200 years ago. Across the pond, there are plenty of luxury river cruises gliding through scenic European waterways from the Danube to the Douro.
A Big Climb
As restrictions around climbing Machu Picchu grow (a maximum of 500 people including guides are allowed to start the Inca Trail each day), there’s no time like the present to witness one of the 7 Wonders of the World. And if embarking on a Peruvian adventure is out of the cards this year, there’s nothing wrong with a stateside national park or trail to tick off your list.
A FOODIE ITINERARY
Some of us love museums. Some of us love sightseeing. And some of us, well, we love to eat our way through a city. If you and your mom are part of the foodie tribe, why not plan an entire trip around your meals? Whether it’s the beignets in New Orleans, crepes in Paris or tapas in Barcelona that inspire you, planning your journey by the bites you want to take with your favorite dining partner is a great idea. Better yet? Take a cooking class (or two) while you’re there to learn about the cuisine and bring the newfound skills back home with you.
A PRIVATE ISLAND ESCAPE
There’s island living and then there’s private island living, and we happen to think the latter is worthy of a once-in-a-lifetime escape. From an unspoiled archipelago in the Seychelles to an atoll-protected enclave in Indonesia, tour operator Black Tomato has the pick of the pack when it comes to uninhabited islands and arranging creative ways to pass the time on them. And hey, there are plenty of island vacations you can take without even leaving the country.
A Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Road Trip
Road trips present the perfect opportunity for reconnecting (and lots of long convos), so a drive through America’s heartland is a no-brainer. Or, if you’ve done Route 66 and Highway 1, consider these underrated American road trips—or even these European ones. Either way, fill up your tank and crank up the tunes, but download an app like Roadtrippers first. It compiles unique detours and safe stops along your mapped route, so you don’t get stuck in a less-than-glamorous port-o-potty situation.
A SHOP-’TIL-YOU-DROP MARATHON
If scouring souks, larger-than-life malls and thrift store hideaways together is your idea of a good time, plan a shopping extravaganza in a dream destination. Marrakech and Dubai are prime turf for artisan home goods and mega labels, while London and Berlin offer one-of-a-kind vintage finds. Indagare is notorious for merging in-the-know local guides with tourists seeking authentic retail therapy on its tailor-made trips.
A Classic Glamping Girls’ Trip
You both love the Great Outdoors—nothing recharges you more than sleeping under the stars and waking up to the rising sun and fresh air. That said, you’d still appreciate a hot shower and comfy bed to sleep in. From a tricked-out teepee in Topanga Canyon, California, to a bubble lodge on the exotic island of Mauritius, glamping means you and your mom can have your stars for days and eat a warm dinner, too.
A Train Trek Around Europe
Whether you want an intrepid escapade to a far-off land or simply a tour of Europe’s most stunning terrain (by train), Planet Rail has got you covered. With regional departures, private transfers and custom itineraries such as The Flavours of Tuscany, Vineyards of Bordeaux, Cognac and the Loire Valley, and Madrid, Gibraltar and Malaga by First Class, you’ll have no trouble planning a railroad respite to remember.