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Travelling with your.......mother??

Anyone ever done it? Would like to make this enjoyable for her not terrifying :)
11 years ago, February 26th 2012 No: 1 Msg: #152415  
B Posts: 897
I have a kind of surplus of airline tickets thanks to relationship dramas and mentioned today to my mum who was having a coffee with me and i half jokingly said you may as well come mum....to my suprise she agreed!

So now..Id love some suggestions from anyone about altering travel style to suit your parents LOL!. I was either going to flip a coin and go on from Manado (I have tickets that far) and either head to West Papua or Palau Weh but mum does not dive. She loves the ocean and is very very fit and ultracool (shes 66 and loves going to see U2 etc in concert and is probably way fitter than I am) so its not a matter of finding somewhere flat with easy access more...should i not throw her in at the deep end? She also would kind of like electricity and food and probably aircon and running water. Ive thought about Tomohon and Lembeh and just staying in Sulawesi in relative in touch with the world type hotels and doing just a couple of days diving as she likes swimming but cant snorkel due to ear problems.

Or ive thought about somewhere like heaven forbid the Gilis that are set up for mothers where I can still get a dive in or spending some time again in sulawesi just time dedicated to land not under the sea.

Anyone ever travelled with their mother before? Reply to this

11 years ago, February 26th 2012 No: 2 Msg: #152431  
Ha, I did so in Europe 20 years ago. Europe was perfect for mum, she was born in Germany but had never visited Switzerland, Austria and France. Since we both have similar interests in history, and the arts (classical music to name just one), it was easy to decide what to do and worked very well. We even took the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg - we both love the movie! She has loved my blogs on Korea on the autumn colours and visit to Hahoe - so that would be a place she could travel to as well.

However, if I took her to a place like Africa, it would be a disaster - it doesn't have the amenities she would be comfortable in. Middle East (i.e. Syria, Jordan, Yemen) and India would be terrible too, due to that usual chaos and energy that surrounds these destinations. However, somewhere like Dubai would be better as again, comfort is higher, but the history and culture would not satisfy her. I'd say she would like Singapore - clean, good cultural options, great food.

Thus you would need to decide what is the comfort level of where you are going - if someone is not happy with their hotel surrounds, it is hard to enjoy anything. Maybe choose a place that offers massages and such treatments, they can keep people occupied for hours whilst you are off diving. If mum is sharing costs, getting a nicer place will be easier. Maybe you choose the destination, but she chooses the hotel. Reply to this

11 years ago, February 27th 2012 No: 3 Msg: #152441  
B Posts: 580
Definitely in at the deep end!

In 2001 I travelled with my mother in Guatemala and Mexico for 3 weeks - she enjoyed this experience so much she came out to Bolivia and Peru to meet me later in the year.

The next time she sought to exploit me further by bringing a friend and I guided them around Malawi in 2003, then southern India in 2005, again for three-weeks at a time. The last time being western Canada in 2010, but then we had a much larger entourage.

Anyway, here is a quote from a blog I wrote back in 2005 which I think encapsulates the experience rather well.

This will be the fourth time my mother has visited me on my travels, and if everything goes to plan she'll experience three weeks of adventure and I'll experience three weeks of pampered leisure.
Isn't relativity sublime?

Of course this is all relative and should be assessed on a mother-by-mother basis.

I've also travelled with two separate mother-in-laws, and cannot recommend this experience as highly.

😱 Reply to this

11 years ago, February 27th 2012 No: 4 Msg: #152463  
Oh, I wish my mum would come traveling with me!!!

I've been living in England for nearly 10 years and she's only come to visit 4 times!... even though it's only one and a half hours flights, to a 1st world country with all the same commodities that she has in Spain... she just doesn't like traveling

I definitely got the travel blog from my dad, but even he doesn't want to go anywhere now (and they're both only in their early 50's) without my mum... so it's a vicious circle!!!!!!! 😞

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11 years ago, February 27th 2012 No: 5 Msg: #152474  

Thus you would need to decide what is the comfort level of where you are going - if someone is not happy with their hotel surrounds, it is hard to enjoy anything. Maybe choose a place that offers massages and such treatments, they can keep people occupied for hours whilst you are off diving.

We agree with Shane on this, you definitely need to figure out what your Mum is comfy with and decide from there. Has your Mum travelled much in Asia before or will this be her first time?

My parents (Donna's) are about to fly out to meet us in Thailand (this will be their 5th time in SE Asia to see us) and we do spend a lot of time planning our time with them. They are fit and healthy in their mid-50's etc but they just aren't used to travelling how we do, so we always need to plan the 'easy' way of doing things - to them though it's still tough travelling as they just aren't used to it.

What we usually do for my parents is put together a pros and cons list of 3 different places we think they will like and then they choose from the places we have put together. Whether throwing your Mum in at the deep end is a good idea....only you know that! Personally, if we were in that situation we would probably test the waters and go somewhere easier first like the Gillis and then see if she wanted more remote/more luxurious for her next time away!

If you did decide to go in at the deep end, you would probably need to travel slower than you usually did with a couple more overnight stops in between - this is speaking from experience from both my parents and our friend from the UK visiting. When you are used to travelling you kind of get used to the journeys and they shock newbies! Reply to this

11 years ago, February 27th 2012 No: 6 Msg: #152475  
B Posts: 897
Jason you really made me laugh with your exploiting mother..and you are a brave man to have travelled with not one but two mother in laws!...Apparently I will be exploited too as her demands are already becoming quite clear but hey, this one is on me happily - think we all owe our mums.

Thankfully she has shown a real interest in getting off the tourist track which has suprised me no end. She did a tour of Europe last year with her 7 sisters and enjoyed Europe and Dubai and is of Middle eastern descent so crowds and hussle and bustle dont bother her.

Being Egyptian, my mummy wanted to see the mummies/graves at Tana Toraja of all things most out of ten attractions I roughly chose to show her the diversity of things other than diving we could do in Sulawesi...shes also quite keen on bantimarung where you can use the waterfall for toilet and extend the carpet...gotta love babelfish running amuk!..

Shane it appears that is how its going..she chooses the hotel..I pay LOL!. I have been emailing her links of hotels and her first phonecall was to ask.....wheres the pool???...apparently "No pool but you can swim in the lake on the top of the volcano" doesnt quite cut it so...she wants a pool, she shall have a pool.

I guess i have to try and pull back on the things to do list. I dont mind three flights and two boat rides in a day but I understand she is not going to want to be coming home totally exhausted...obviously Holiday has a different meaning for her ...not frantic climb every mountain, find every monkey, dive every day...so it should be interesting.

Oh and demanding much? apparently I have to find a way to get her to a church because it will be easter and she wants to go to midnight mass...!!!!

Luckily Manado is full of churches.

There is a bit of Irony there isnt there Deni? My Dad was a travelling diver which is where I got my passion for diving...mum spent many many hours sitting on beaches waiting for him to surface...I would give anything for one dive with my dad but he wont dive anymore. Reply to this

11 years ago, February 27th 2012 No: 7 Msg: #152483  
Cindy--- go for it!

While my mother was alive I traveled with her frequently. I'd start with a frank conversation with your mom and find out what she is interested in. (sounds like she has begun those conversations).

I loved traveling with my mother. She has not traveled much is it was wonderful to see the world through her eyes. It truly enhanced the travel for me. We got to know each other on a different level. She told lots of stories I had not heard before and I cherish those moments.

As others have pointed out you may need different amenities for her and that is ok.
Having a pool will not hurt you!

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11 years ago, February 28th 2012 No: 8 Msg: #152555  
hehe...at least your mum you can blatantly ask what she wants to and doesnt want to do!?!

I've had a couple of trips with my mum and on both cases i've thought 'never again'. But, this weekend she is coming camping with us and she has asked to come along to HK/Thailand in September so not sure what happenned there. I guess it depends on your mum but mine has sort of gotten into her own groove and has been single a long time so getting her to share or do something a little different to what she wants is my biggest problem. Surely your mum knows you dive heaps and heaps so ask her if she is happy to rest while you go out and do that? Or does she want to do tourist stuff?

I think my mum would go in accomodation that is less than 4 star but not sure about your mum but mine requires aircon due to menapause and neverending hot flushes.

Good luck and have a good time!
tam Reply to this

11 years ago, February 28th 2012 No: 9 Msg: #152558  
This is quite an apt forum topic for both Chris and I, because as I sit writing, not our mothers but our FATHERS are sat together on a plane to meet us in Kathmandu tomorrow! We wont sleep tonight we're so excited!!

I've been fortunate enough to have my Dad visit me in Korea as we worked there, and also he traveled with us for three weeks in Vietnam recently. Travelling was all the better for having him with us, it made those things that have become a little ordinary exciting again. I'm very lucky that my old man (who isn't old at all, but still young turning 50 this year) is a very active chap, hiking in the Lake District every weekend. To celebrate his fifth decade he is even going Glacier walking in Iceland. I couldn't be happier for him that he's finally got the opportunity to travel now that we are "grow up". He's even set up his own blog and induldged in a DSLR!!

We also travelled to China with Chris' parents last year and it was excellent. They brought a good sense of humour and interest to everything we did. They also spoilt us rotten and it was the first time we'd seen our parents for a year.

So, I'd fully recommend travelling with your folks, it brings you even closer in a way! I'm hoping I can tempt my Mum some day soon, but I think it will be more weekend breaks in Europe.

Cindy, I hope both you and your mother enjoy Indonesia. I imagine Tana Toraja will be a great experience for both of you, as it was for us.

Happy travels! Reply to this

11 years ago, February 28th 2012 No: 10 Msg: #152562  
Let us know how the trip planning is going. Can't wait to read this blog....as you have a wicked sense of humor. Maybe you will let mom write a couple of paragraphs from her perspective.

This trip will be grand!
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11 years ago, February 29th 2012 No: 11 Msg: #152616  
B Posts: 897
Chris and Amy hope you are having a fantastic time with your fathers - how lovely for you both 😊

Merry Jo..The Trip Planning..well if my dear sister will stop telling my mother I stay in backpackers hotels (I do NOT! LOL!) and in her 5 months as a travel agent she has never heard anyone want to go to Sulawesi other than me...we are making a bit of progress. Sister seems to be trying to convince mum to just have a week shopping and lazing by the pool in bali (the extent of my sisters travels other than a 3 day conference in Beijing) - and she hasnt read any of my travelblogs so god forbid if she had!

Mum is keen to go somewhere other than nightclub, restaurant, shops, nightclub, pool at hotel. Ive shown her Tana Toraja and she is genuinely interested in going and really wants to go to a butterfly reserve just out of Makassar so ive just told her to ignore my sister although i do understand sis may be just being ..well.. a big sister.

Why am I always in trouble with someone for something??

I find it interesting to see my sister so negative about Sulawesi..perhaps its a sign of the gulf between mass market holiday package travel agency workers and independant travellers in terms of what we want to see and do.

Chris, Amy I know you guys are busy and bet you are loving having your Dads with you but would you (or anyone else) have an opinion on the flight from Makassar to Tana Toraja? Im thinking of flying mum up there for a few days to rather than a ten hour bus trip...having said that...bus one way flight the other is not out of the question.

And MJ - heh! I think a blog bit from mum would be hilarious...she even made sure that i would be taking the IPad so she could keep in touch..a 66 year old facebook junkie with a penchant for rock concerts in Sulawesi..has a bit of a ring to it doesnt it?

Ohh and Tam we have spoken about that...if we end up just doing south sulawesi (ive already paid for those tickets anyway will just cop it sweet and lose the ones to manado from makassar) ive found an archipeligo i can dive and we have agreed on diving is good but not everyday. She is happy to spend a day here and there waiting for me to come up but would rather not I dive everyday..which i have no intention of doing. Im actually really looking forward to having this one time as grown ups holidaying together alone...I need her to see my world so she understands why i live to explore. I want this to actually be a me and mum trip and its not like its been a year since ive gone diving :D

[Edited: 2012 Feb 29 15:08 - littlewing:163970 ]
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11 years ago, February 29th 2012 No: 12 Msg: #152617  
To the best of my memory (no longer have the book), I dont think you can fly from Makassar to Tana Toraja as there is no airport in TT. Sadly, you have to take the bus.

If your mum does take the bus, it can be a little complicated since the bus station opens much later than when lots of flights arrive into Makassar, so your mum can wait around in a fairly empty bus station, which I wouldn't recommend for safety reasons (of course she can wait in the airport for three or four hours which is more safe!), or she can try to jump in a shared jeep (kijang) which is what we did. For safety, you can arrange this in the airport but it is more costly.

The town of tana toraja is a dive but the surrounding culture is amazing and worth it.

If you go on to the Togean Islands, I would not recommend going up from TT on a bus to Ampana for the ferry. It is a really horrendous trip and takes an eternity. Instead, go back to Makassar and fly up to Gorontalo, from where you can take a ferry down into the Togeans. Check ferry schedules when you're in Tana Toraja because boats don't go everyday, nor return every day.

If you go to the Togean Islands, I'd highly recommend Fadhilla Cottages, just off togean island itself - amazing accomodation, food and the best snorkelling anywhere. Also close by are wreck diving sites if thats what your into.

Let us know if you need any more info. Reply to this

11 years ago, March 1st 2012 No: 13 Msg: #152645  
I traveled some years ago with my mother and we spent great time in Lituania 😊
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11 years ago, March 1st 2012 No: 14 Msg: #152658  
B Posts: 11.5K
"I think a blog bit from mum would be hilarious...she even made sure that i would be taking the IPad so she could keep in touch..a 66 year old facebook junkie with a penchant for rock concerts in Sulawesi..has a bit of a ring to it doesnt it? "

We've had a look-in on the planning stage of her trip, so it'd be great to read the 'Two sides to every story' blog :-) Reply to this

11 years ago, March 2nd 2012 No: 15 Msg: #152690  
Just me and my mother alone would be a hard one, it would have to be a short trip lolz, although she is good fun at a party. We are trying to get my parents to meet us at Gallipoli for ANZAC day though this year. Looks like we will make this special trip for Australians with Georgia being so close. Reply to this

11 years ago, March 4th 2012 No: 16 Msg: #152782  
Hello Cindy 😊

I watched a doco the other night about the morality police in hardline shariah law Banda Aceh and started questioning the wisdom of going there.

Id say morality police go on bouts of dishing out retribution left, right and centre, but I doubt they are doing it constantly. If they are currently doing it, I would avoid the place for a while.

The morality police didnt come near me in Sumatra, nor did they in Iran which I found even more severe with the morality demands. But, maybe if I was in those places at a different time, there would be problems. I think, a lot of the morality policing happens at times of political or economic turmoil, as tension in society in general increases. Id say keeping an eye on world news helps predict when times of peace and times of trouble are likely for a traveller in the various countries.

I found Sumatra conservative, but noticed that it also has its fair share of rebels. Those rebels often worked as tour guides, in tourist cafes and guesthouses. They do a good job of steering one clear of trouble and also providing a steady stream of place names where you can relax and do what you want. They will probably even escort/accompany you to them, to make sure you are alright, and to explain you to people.

Id say, try to cover the tattoos, piercings and wear loose flowing long clothes to avoid the respect police as well as the morality police. The respect police dont use burtal physical violence to enforce their ideals, but they are tiresome.

Dont wear the burka though. That might cause many to keep a respectful distance from you and that could get lonely. Others might think you are overdoing it or even taking the p*ss, which will cause a degree of negativity to be aimed at you. I am presuming right now, that your suggestion about wearing the burka is a joke, but at the same time wondering what to make of it. You would likely cause more such confusion amongst travellers you meet in Sumatra.

several of my indo students tell me they have cousins etc who have been caned for standing too close to girls etc. I watched vision of the morality police removing piercings with plyers and shaving heads and thought..hmm.

Id say the morality police are more likley to target local people more often than tourists, because they are an easier target as they are less likely to cause the incidents to be featured on world news or to attract the dreaded human rights people.

is this one of those transit in and out type places like Port Moresby.

Then i realised the absolute absurdity of my post..how shall i avoid the attention of the morality police..i know!

If it is one of those in and out type places, the morality police probably wont bother going near it or the transport provided to and from. They know that the sinning and immorality will likely remain enclosed in the tourist bubble and not have any affect on the place or on their sensibilities if they avoid looking in that direction, which is likely because it is the easier choice for them. Unless there are current bad feelings between Indonesia and some country with a western culture, the morality police will probably look more towards people living locally who could use a reminder of what it means to be of the religion they are of, than at you or anyone doing tourist typical activities.

Is the doccumentary you watched about the morality police on the internet? If so, would you post a link to it here. I want to watch it.

Here is a blog of some of my time in Sumatra, which might interest you.
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11 years ago, March 4th 2012 No: 17 Msg: #152784  
B Posts: 897
Sighhh...this is becoming more difficult than I imagined due to my dear sister the travel agent....I took a look at what I could reasonably expect mum to put up with during a very short trip and what she wanted and at present am thinking of Bangka Belitung islands because mum wants to just chill on a beach. While I love sulawesi the logistics of moving around are difficult whereas Bangka Belitung has a direct flight from Jakarta which was another plus.

The biggest obstacle at the moment is my sister the travel agent (mass tourism well known world wide wallmart of travel type company) who has been in the industry a few months and is a regular bali goer..that other than the china business trip is the extent of her travels.

Having a family dinner tonight she vehemently went on the attack on independant travel..apparently i do not have enough experience travelling to know how to handle myself let alone other people overseas, independant travellers spend thousands more than people who sensibly book via a travel agency who can get the best deals, independant travels are fools to think they would know how to get the best out of a destination because...travel agencies use experienced tour operators who are in the destination regularly and know the local tips....ahmmmmm??????????? Oh and independant travellers are 50%!m(MISSING)ore likely to end up in overseas hospitals (I do not know where she got this stat..she read it somewhere).

She is completely focused on forcing me to book an organised tour with some pick your brochure off the wall and let them take care of everything from visas to restaurants for mum. She provided us with an example of a woman who backpacked by herself all over the world and then joined a travel agency and went on an organised tour to south america and found out the history of the louvre and colliseum (?) which she would never have known without a local guide telling her all this....i tend to research where i am going and work out what I want to see and am rather capable of finding things myself..so far I havent got hopelessly lost and had to ring home for help getting me out of the wilds of papua new guinea but apparently none of this counts.

Off to read your blog now Mel - I spoke to a friend of mum and dads who has spent a lot of time repeatedly travelling through sumatra and into banda aceh who has said that the police generally leave tourists alone though he has had a couple of run ins with them over a) trying to book one room for his two neices who were accused of being lesbians and b) walking along a street with his arm around his wife who was in the early stages of cancer on their last trip before she got too sick one day when she was feeling ill. Apparently supporting her while they walked was seen as violating morality. He is in his 60s so not the tattoo'd me :-)

The doco I watched was on SBS - I cant find it in its entireity but heres an piece that was in the doco

I think there needs to be a new law introduced to force travel agents to travel and not look at everything from a dollar viewpoint. God forbid if the whole world wanted to be spoonfed and led by the hand through life 😉

*Mel just read your blog - love the dens of inequity..could see myself there!! Mum on the other hand might be happier lying on the beach or having a massage far from the maddening crowds 😊

[Edited: 2012 Mar 04 18:08 - littlewing:163970 ]
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11 years ago, March 4th 2012 No: 18 Msg: #152785  

*Mel just read your blog - love the dens of inequity..could see myself there!! Mum on the other hand might be happier lying on the beach or having a massage far from the maddening crowds 😊

Oops!, so this is where my missing post went. It was supposd to go in your thread about when the risks are too high. 😊

Thanks for the doccumentary link. 😊
[Edited: 2012 Mar 04 19:04 - Mell:49612 ]
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11 years ago, March 4th 2012 No: 19 Msg: #152789  

independant travellers spend thousands more than people who sensibly book via a travel agency who can get the best deals

Utter crap! In fact it is the other way - I can compare journeys that work colleagues of mine have used when travelling to Egypt and India and hearing their cost when compared to mine. In both cases, I did both places far cheaper. In the Egyptian example, I spent as much in four weeks as my work colleague did in under two weeks - plus I travelled to more places and saw more in each place.

Just grab a tour group brochure for India, China or Africa - or even better - on Southern Asia and see the prices. Then check websites and find prices for hotels and budget airline airfares. Put simply most tour agencies charge first world prices for third world destinations - especially those not based in the country of destination as they have high overheads incurred by operating from first-world countries.

I think the only place that may apply is possibly Europe, but the difference is not thousands, it is marginal.

As for that study, it may be true - but I would check the demographics of the people who succumb to accidents, and I suspect there would be a large spike in the late teen and early twenties age group - something that is not relevant to you or your mother.

I could write thousands of words dismissing each of these arguments, but I have my next blog to finish, and my energies are needed there. Reply to this

11 years ago, March 5th 2012 No: 20 Msg: #152800  
oh thats so funny cindy about the travel agent speil. My hubbies sister is a travel agent too and at first i was a bit worried she would be offended i didnt buy from her but i absolutly love looking for my own flights, watching for deals and we are very padantic about flight times these days with kiddies so it would be way toooo hard to deal with a travel agent. Much better to just book myself!

She is similar and has maybe done about 3 trips now but all with work so in and out of hotels so she can onsell them....definitly no where by herself and definitly no where out of a major tourist destination. She reguarly makes comments like 'no way would i ever sell anyone air asia tickets and you can never get those deals. ahem, i just paid $50 a seat for tickets to bali - wahoo!'

If youre mum said she is happy to go with you then go for it, and just book it all and dont tell your sister 😊
tam Reply to this

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