I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.

—Mark Twain

That certainly goes for seniors traveling with your adult children! 🙂

Throughout my book Planes, Canes and Automobiles: Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel, I discuss travel from the perspective of the adult child helping an aging parent prepare for and go on a vacation. There are two sides to every coin, however, and it’s important to consider the aging parent’s point of view, too. Including your parents’ preferences, expectations, and concerns in the trip planning will help you both have an awesome time together (so much so that you may actually start planning your next trip while on your way home from the first!).

In the final chapter of my book, I surveyed readers (age 55 and up) of the Travel with Aging Parents blog (and my Mom, too, of course!) about their travels with their adult children. Their stories described fond memories, cringe-worthy moments, and plenty of laughs. I’ll share their answers in a series of blogs aimed to get you traveling with your parent this holiday season!

What do you like most about traveling with your adult child?

In their answers to this question, many respondents highlighted the bonding and memory-building experiences that they shared with their adult children while on the road. Mom wrote, “Traveling with an adult child can give you some of the best memories of your life and possibly some of the best you’ll ever have with your child. I love seeing the capable woman my daughter has grown into.

traveling with your adult children

We arrange for wheelchairs to be delivered to our hotel as Mom cannot walk long distances anymore.

Another recurring theme was that most (though not all) of the adult children handled the travel details, much to their parents’ delight. Stacy (58) from Washington explained, “[My daughter] made all the travel arrangements. I was amazed at her ability to schedule and coordinate.” And Mom had this to say on the subject: “It’s just too overwhelming nowadays to figure out all the options. I just want to go have fun—not deal with the planning. My daughter enjoys it, so I let her deal with all of that!”

Here are a few of the other answers I received to this question:

  • [My daughter and her husband] enjoy seeing sights and showing their children places we visited when they were little.” (CB, 66, Oregon)
  • Learning to be friends with my son.” (Janet, 69, Texas)
  • Bonding time as adults. It’s wonderful. (Sandy, 74, Texas)
  • [My daughter] shows me things I wouldn’t otherwise see.” (Barbara, 83, Massachusetts)
  • Sharing driving. Spending time with each other away from home.” (Sally, 72, Indiana)
  • Being together. I don’t like living away from my children. (Frances, 83, Louisiana)
  • The bond that comes from spending time [with my son] is priceless.” (Sylvia, 57, Rhode Island)
  • The memories and conversations we share.” (Manuel, 59, Texas)

We all travel in order to have new experiences. But who you share those experiences with is just as important as your destination. Mom and I have traveled together so much that we don’t have to entertain each other or talk constantly. We’re both fine just being quiet together sometimes (say, at an outdoor café) and soaking in the local culture and sites in silence. These shared experiences give us more to talk about during our trip and enrich our conversations (and our appreciation of our “everyday” lives) even more when we’re back home.

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Stay tuned for more travel advice from seniors as they discuss the up’s and down’s of traveling with their adult children!