Traveling with Mom

In the past several years, I have been traveling extensively for pleasure. I think it’s a full-time job! I love going through the airport, dining at the lounge, sipping Krug on the plane, seeing new places – It’s exciting! There are so many things to do and so many things to see when are traveling. I love the fact that I can be in three different continents within 24 hours. I used to fly a lot for the sake of flying. Nowadays, not so much. I still do some crazy trips and routing, but I much prefer spending time in a new place. Having this freedom is amazing, especially when I travel alone.

That said, I have been taking my mom along with me when I travel. She loves to travel. That’s how I got my genes. In the past three years, we have traveled to China, Turkey, Japan, the USA, Qatar, Singapore, Hong Kong, and India. On average, that’s about 3 big trips a year!

There are many similarities in terms of our travel style, though, there are also a few differences. Let’s talk about it in the next few minutes.

Booking and Planning

My mom doesn’t do this. I do all the booking and planning for airlines, hotels, excursions – pretty much everything. She’s hooked and started getting used to flying comfortably on a lie-flat seat. I don’t blame her. That’s why firstofly exists, right?

I always plan the trip carefully and try to maximize the value we are getting. Even if I have to buy a revenue ticket, I make sure it’s the best value. So, if you have any travel-related questions, feel free to reach out to me anytime!

Baggage

I travel light. I can go on a 2-week trip with just a carry-on and a backpack. This is the biggest difference between my mom and me. Regardless of the length, she will bring a diaper-bag-size purse, a carry-on, and a full-size suitcase (if not two) to check.

I don’t get it.

As a beauty consultant, there are certain must-bring items when she travels, such as excessive numbers of skincare products. I think she brings enough sunscreen for the entire year.

Here are the reasons why I like traveling light:

  • I don’t have to wait for the bags at the baggage claim when I arrive.
  • If things don’t go as planned. I can get re-booked on a different flight right away without worrying about my checked bags.
  • Sometimes, I have a complex routing that involves: separate tickets, multiple international airports to transit, or as simple as tight connections. Often, these are not possible if I have checked bags.
  • I can always shop at the destination if I need to.
  • In case I want to shop, I always bring a light-weight foldable bag that I can stuff it in my carry-on.

Weather

Sometimes, the stereotype exists for a reason. My Asian mom is afraid of the sun. Before I even plan our trip, the first thing she asks is the weather. Even spring or fall, 80 degrees Fahrenheit is too hot for her. Push comes to shove, I should be ready to walk around with her and her umbrella. But she doesn’t wear a hat either. She has a “big hair” kind of hairstyle. So wearing a hat is not an option.

To give her some credit, she looks pretty good for a 69-year-old woman. I have to admit, I don’t like hot weather either. But I don’t mind getting some sun while exploring. But I don’t sunbathe for 12 hours a day for 10 days straight as some do.

Sharing the Bed

When booking a hotel, sometimes double-bed is not available. In some cases, I would take an upgrade even if the only option is king-bed. Some people think sharing the bed with their mom is weird. I don’t have any problem with that. The only problem I have when we share a bed, her iPhone keeps dinging the entire night. She’s a 69-year-old lady with an active social life. One of the major concerns for her when traveling abroad is whether her WhatsApp works.

Sightseeing

One similarity we share a lot is that we love seeing local architectures and learning about history. That’s the beauty of traveling that we value the most. We experience and see things together. Those create memories that we will remember for a long time.

In the past, I usually bought “hop-on-hop-off” bus tickets. It’s a great option to explore the place if we only stay for a few days. In recent years, she started having some back pain. Sometimes we need to walk a little slower or take more breaks. So that’s why these bus tours are great because we don’t have to walk a lot.

Food

I love food, any food. I can’t think anything that I don’t like. I am blessed for that. My mom is moderate when it comes to food. She would prefer something less ethnic, but she will eat and try most things. I also love spicy food, but on the other hand, she can’t spicy or even just mildly spicy. She used to, but over the years, her stomach becomes less and less tolerant of spicy food.

Shopping

I love shopping, she loves shopping, we all love shopping. Just like sightseeing, this is another similarity that we share. We don’t like shopping for clothes, shoes, or any designer merchandise when traveling. I don’t know why some people do, but we can always shop in our home country. Even if it’s cheaper, I don’t think the savings outweigh the inconvenience.

We love going to the market where they sell souvenirs and local items. It’s fascinating because these are the items we don’t normally see back home. I do love shopping with her because she will bargain to a point I know I don’t get ripped off.

Conclusion

My mom and I travel well together. There are a few differences that I tolerate, but for the most part, we have many similarities.

I always take care of the planning, and I like doing so. Since we enjoy sightseeing very much, we usually take the city tour bus. We also love shopping at the local market where we can find unique items that we don’t normally see back home. When it comes to food, I like trying authentic food at local places – She does too. But she can’t eat anything spicy, so I have to be mindful when ordering the food.

A big difference we have is how we pack for a trip. I like traveling light, meaning just a backpack and a carry-on. On the other hand, she will bring a diaper-bag-size purse, a carry-on, and one (if not two) checked bag(s). That said, somehow she managed to pack everything in just one carry-on when we had to transit at the famous Cairo Airport.

My brother and I are planning to celebrate her 70th birthday in Europe. The details are still in the works, so stay tuned!

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