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Melissa’s Top 10 Favorite Mother-Daughter Trips for 2021

My daughter and I started traveling together soon after she turned one. Our mother-daughter trips are usually just the two of us, but sometimes my mother and a niece have joined as well. Early on, my daughter had no say in where we went, because I didn’t want to be away from her when I was traveling for work, so I brought her along. Later, we began planning together and, eventually, I deferred to her on destinations. Below are some of our favorite trips and tips that may help you decide whether they might appeal to you and a treasured travel companion.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a safe, responsible and meaningful mother-daughter trip. Our team can provide information on travel safety, hotel policies and insurance options, transportation and more.

1. Paris

Highlights: My mother and I started a tradition of mother-daughter trips to Paris that have included going to buy my wedding dress on the Left Bank and continued when we brought my daughter back as a toddler with various nieces. The carousels and parks and crêpes and pastries were some of the highlights when the girls were little, but as a teenager my daughter fell in love with the museums and the shopping. One of our trips resulted in our Shopping with a Teen in Paris article.

Good to know: It’s best to stick to casual restaurants like crêperies and patisseries with young children and to choose the warmer months, when time can be spent at the Tuileries or Luxembourg gardens. For the best shopping periods, stick to the Soldes (sale) weeks in January and July.

2. Belize

Highlights: When my daughter was seven, she accompanied me to Belize for a story I was writing for Town & Country. We traveled from the jungles, where we went on an evening tarantula fishing adventure and she fell in love with a butterfly farm. Then we drove to the coast to Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn, which a member recently raved about on her mother-daughter family vacation.

Good to know: Belize was one of the first countries to open to U.S. travelers after lockdown and is great place to get scuba certified.

3. Maldives

Highlights: We slept in overwater bungalows and villas on beautiful beaches and snorkeled right off our decks in crystal clear waters in the Maldives. Favorite moments were swimming with turtles, seeding new “reefs” and exploring ayurvedic medicine and spa treatments.

Good to know: Resorts here are more geared to honeymooners than mother-daughter duos and the teenage thrill of a candlelight dinner on the beach—“like on The Bachelor”—but with mom, wore off by day two.

4. Arizona

Highlights: We have twice made trips to my favorite spa in Sedona, Mii Amo. Once when my daughter was under the age of 16, so we had to have our treatments in our casita, but could take watercolor classes and guided hikes in the Red Rocks. We returned when she could take part in the healing treatments and facials in the spa, and she quickly grasped why this is one of my favorite annual rituals. And as each guest chooses her own treatment schedule, stays here can be a mix of a lot (or a little) together-time; you choose.

Good to know: No one under the age of 16 can enter the spa at Mii amo, which is currently paused for renovation, but it is possible to stay at its sister property, Enchantment Resort, and partake of some treatments in the room.

5. Iceland

Highlights: For an avowed non-beach fan, my daughter was thrilled to spend one of her high school spring breaks in Iceland. We woke up for a Northern Lights viewing, climbed inside and on top of a glacier, rode super jeeps on a volcano, hiked across snow fields to waterfalls, soaked in the Blue Lagoon and sampled odd delicacies like dried fish and leaf bread.

Good to know: Dressing in layers is key, but you can rent all-weather hiking boots so you can still pack carry-on easily, which is one of our trip requirements.

6. Marrakech

Highlights: The first time I went to Morocco, my parents took my sisters and me for two weeks when I was in college. I’ve been lucky to return dozens of times since and knew that my daughter would love the exotic charm of Marrakech’s medina and the Berber mountain landscapes.

Good to know: There are so many hotel options to choose from. We spent time at a riad at the Royal Mansour, a villa at the Mandarin Oriental outside of the city, which had made an appearance in the movie Sex and the City and a tented suite at Kasbah Tamadot in the mountains.

7. Ireland

Highlights: As a lover of Jane Austen, my daughter found staying at Ballyfin Demesne, in the Irish countryside, akin to stepping into the pages of a 19th-century novel setting. We took a rowboat on the property’s lake, explored its gardens and ruins and drank tea in the drawing room surrounded by family portraits. Dublin provided a great urban contrast with delicious gastro pub food, some adventurous bicycle touring and a stand-out visit to Trinity College Library.

Good to know: We visited in early summer when the days were long and not too cold or damp and the flowers in full bloom.

8. Sweden & Norway

Highlights: Two years ago, before my daughter headed back to her senior year in college, we spent four days in Stockholm before flying up to Norway for some outdoor adventures. We visited royal palaces and the Abba Museum (a quirky monument to the Swedish pop band); shopped at Svenskt Tenn and ate memorable meals outside. (It was mushroom and crayfish season). In Norway, we stayed in one of my favorite country hotels, Storfjord, and spent days hiking and boating.

Good to know: Hanna’s Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson is a novel about three generations of Swedish women that I read on the trip and it added wonderful context to the experience.

9. Lebanon

Highlights: One of our most multifaceted mother-daughter trips was to Lebanon in 2019. We used Beirut as our home base, but the country is so small that it was easy to do drives to the famous ruins of Baalbek, the coastal towns of Sidon, Byblos and Tripoli, and we even spent a day at Faraya on snowmobiles. While we both adored the food and the rich cultural history, it was the Lebanese people and their incredible joie de vivre that made us vow to return.

Good to know: Sadly, the blast in Beirut’s port last year damaged much of the downtown, including our favorite hotel Le Gray, but it is meant to reopen in 2022.

10. Montana

Highlights: After a year of remote-working, my daughter wanted to spend time in the American West. So we headed to Montana, where riding, fishing and shooting are the pillars of a great day. Even though we have shopped and spa-ed on past trips, this year we tried pistol shooting, fly-fishing and ATV touring. We divided our time between two Indagare favorites: the Ranch at Rock Creek and the Resort at Paws Up.

Good to know: April was a wonderful month to visit, because we had mostly warm sunny days, which were great for fishing, riding and hiking, but one overnight snowfall, allowing for a glorious morning hike in a blanketed landscape. Plus, we were treated to elk and baby bison sightings, since it was birthing season.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a safe, responsible and meaningful mother-daughter trip. Our team can provide information on travel safety, hotel policies and insurance options, transportation and more

 

 

 

– Melissa Biggs Bradley on May 7, 2021

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Resorts in the Maldives are more geared to honeymooners than mother-daughter duos and the teenage thrill of a candlelight dinner on the beach—“like on The Bachelor," but with mom—wore off by day two.

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