Mother/Daughter Travel Tip Sheet
Before You Leave
Decide what kind of trip you want this to be—an exciting adventure versus a slower paced, relaxing trip; unplanned, spontaneous days versus planned and pack-a-lot-in days, or a combination; culturally dense versus lazy and fun.
A big source of potential conflict is your sleep schedule. If one of you wants to enjoy nightlife and sleeping in, and the other wants to focus on seeing the sights from sun up to sundown, one of you will usually be tired, waiting, nagging, and resentful. To avoid this, agree ahead of time to go your separate ways in the mornings and evenings and have a set time to spend days together, say 11 am–5 pm.
Be very clear about whether you want to use the trip to talk more about your relationship or issues or use it just to have fun and keep away from tough topics.
If you do want to use the time to explore the relationship, make a list of areas in which you’d like to create change and set some concrete goals for the trip. Be sure the itinerary allows individual alone time for reflection as well as downtime together that allows for quiet conversation (hiking, walks, beach time, and so on).
Think about how you want to remember the trip, and consider either individual or shared journaling. Some options are buying an album, a beautiful journal that has room for photos, or creating an electronic journal.
While on your trip
First and foremost, forget what you think you know about your mom or daughter and simply observe her as a woman in the world. See each other anew.
Don’t allow yourself to fall into old roles and expectations. Treat your mom or daughter the way you would a good friend.
Commit to really listen to your mom or daughter, without interrupting, without judgment. Don’t “listen to speak.” Listen for their experience, their feelings and viewpoint. Repeat back to them what they said, so they know they were heard. It will make a world of difference.
Take lots of photos!
In your journal or notes, don’t just write about the world—write about what you’re learning about each other and yourselves.
If it’s a trip with a tightly planned itinerary, make sure you’re actually enjoying yourself, not just cramming in checklist items. Adjust and pare down if you need to; play hooky from museums for a day and relax, wander aimlessly and allow for serendipity.
Ask for space from each other when you want or need it.
Make having fun and making great memories more important than your need to be right. Bite your tongue during any moments of frustration or stress. You can always bring it up once you’re home.
If you’re using the trip to
explore/deepen your relationship:
Halfway through, review your list of goals to see where you’re
at with each. Determine how you can address those that you
Remember that your own honesty and vulnerability will help invite hers.
If something’s not working and can’t wait till you get home, first be curious—ask, neutrally and with the goal of truly learning, if something’s going on or bothering her; listen and acknowledge her experience. Then tell her, neutrally, not what’s wrong with her or her behavior, but how you’re feeling and what you would like to see happen or change. If you don’t think you can be neutral, take a walk, take a breath, and write it in a note, lovingly. Remember, love never fails. Putting love before anger, no matter how hard in the moment, never fails to enhance your relationship (not to mention the trip!).
After Your Trip
Memorialize the trip with an album (electronic or old-fashioned) that includes photos, souvenirs, and journal entries.
Celebrate! Make a date to share a great meal and memories, pull out the photos and videos, and have fun together.
Evaluate how well you accomplished any goals you’d set before the trip. Think of some things you can do to maintain the gains you’ve created. Make a game plan for what to do when you backslide.
If something wasn’t working, don’t withhold it and build resentment. Find a quiet time to bring it up without drama or making the other “wrong,” then focus on what positive outcome you want—what would enhance the relationship.
Set a date and calendar in a reminder for the next trip you’d like to take together (whether major or minor) before you both settle into your regular routines.
Reading Group Guide
Provocative questions to help you get the most enjoyment and benefit from reading "Have Mother, Will Travel"
Top 10 lessons from our trip
Mother/Daughter Travel Tips