Forget travelling with your bestie, your boyfriend or a pack of party buddies. The best person to travel with is your mum!
I am in my late 20s, and I recently travelled by train from Beijing to Moscow with my mum. No tour groups. No other friends. No Russian language skills. And for a lot of the time, no Wi-Fi.
That obviously sounds like a recipe for disaster. And yet the two weeks we spent travelling in tiny train compartments and exploring Russian towns were amazingly harmonious.
Of course my mum and I are both obsessed with travel planning, perhaps to a scary extent. We spent nearly a year planning the details of this trip, and we enjoyed putting it all together almost as much as we loved the actual journey.
If you’re not close with your mum, or if she’s sadly no longer with us, maybe these ten reasons could apply to your dad, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent or a close family friend? Or even better, maybe you are the parent in this situation!?
Since my mum and I both hate photos of ourselves being on the Internet (rare in these times, I know), I have illustrated this article with some of my favourite celeb mums and daughters.
1. You’ll Score Massive Brownie Points
The decision to travel with your mum shouldn’t be made lightly. If you think you’re going to have a terrible time together, don’t do it. But let me tell you, it’s going to score you some huge brownie points. It’s something she can brag about to her friends, something you’ll have over your siblings plus every person you meet along the way will be impressed by your close relationship.
2. No One Knows You Better Than Your Mum
Having a fight with a friend while travelling can be a disaster. But your mum has already been through your toddler years, your angsty teen phase and your angry attempts at 18 to convince her you were grown up. She knows how to handle your bad moods. So if you have a travel argument, it will blow over. If you want to spend hours ranting about some minor detail of your life, she’ll listen. And you should do the same for her.
3. You’ll Travel In Style
Your mum doesn’t want to sleep in a dorm room or travel overnight on eight different connecting buses. And considering Russia was quite a cheap place to visit, there was no way my mum was slumming it! We stayed in real hotels, travelled in a first class compartment on the train (note: this was not luxurious), and actually ate in real restaurants.
4. She Might Pay For Things
Look there’s no easy way to say this. There’s a bit of an economic difference between your typical Gen Y and Baby Boomer. The aforementioned travel upgrades? She definitely contributed a higher percentage of money towards those. Your mum shouldn’t be paying for everything, but she might treat you to a meal or two along the way. But also you should pay for things where you can - this isn't a free ride!
5. She Will Ask Strangers To Take Photos Of The Two Of You
Sometimes a selfie just won’t do it. You need a proper photo of the two of you. Your mum knows this. And she will go up to complete strangers and ask them to take photos of you in front of landmarks. And honestly, you’ll thank her for it afterwards (once you finish dying of embarrassment).
6. She Will Make Friends With Everyone You Meet
After asking someone to take a photo, she’ll probably strike up a conversation with them. My mum and I do not speak Russian. That didn’t stop her from making friends with every single person we encountered – including the Russian railways employee who delivered mountains of pastries to our compartment, and yet didn’t seem to offer them to anyone else.
7. If You Don’t Want To Party You Have A Great Excuse
If travelling is all about partying for you, your mum might not be the best travel partner. But if prefer nights in to nights out, then being with your mum is a ready made excuse for your friends back home. No I didn’t check out Moscow’s nightclubs and bars, but I did eat dinner at 6pm in a USSR themed restaurant aimed at families. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
8. You’ll Teach Each Other Things
Yes, you can still learn things from your mum – and you can teach her things as well! While we were travelling my mum decide to join Instagram. She quickly became addicted, and I had to teach her how to post photos, write captions and use filters. She quickly mastered the ways of the Russian train system, and taught me how to read a timetable, get hot water and explore the local train stations.
9. You’ll Become Even Better Friends
With no one else to rely on, you’ll be forced to talk to each other. And you’ll love it. Seriously, you will. How much time do you spend with your mum? Probably not enough. But now you’ve been forced together, and you’ll have to work together to solve any difficult situations, take turns looking out for each other and being the mum, and also talk about every topic under the sun. And it will actually be fun!
10. You’ll Make A Bunch Of Memories That You Will Last A Lifetime
You will never forget this trip, and neither will she. You’ll be able to talk about it forever and look back on all those photos she made you take. No one else really cares that we visited the site where the Romanovs died or the houses of the Irkutsk Decembrists. But I know I can always reminisce about it with my mum!
So go on, start planning a holiday with your mum. You won’t regret it.