Last time we checked in with 2012 contributor contest winner Marie LeRose, she had just returned from a summer voluntourism trip to Africa with her family and offered tips on incorporating volunteering into a family vacation. This fall, she stayed closer to home but took on a greater challenge: a mother-daughter getaway. Check out her tips for planning a girls’ bonding weekend.
Mothers with multiple children know the juggling and the angst of finding meaningful time in your day or even during the week to bond with just one child at a time. With the back-to-school routine in place, that challenge becomes even harder, as “quality” time means helping with homework and driving the constant carpool to practices and play dates. Conversations focus around what to pack in the dreaded lunchbox or why we can’t eat pizza every night for dinner.
And as the mother of a teenage girl…our “meaningful” conversations include topics such as “You text too much” or “You cannot walk out of the house wearing that.”
So with my oldest daughter starting high school this fall, I thought we needed a quick weekend away to reconnect, forge an alliance, and hopefully delay the inevitable “I hate my mother” stage. Obviously planning a great mother-daughter weekend has endless options, and will vary depending on the age of your daughter and your shared passions, but with these tips in mind, you can plan an easy getaway:
- Budget – a weekend getaway does not have to break the bank, take into consideration the cost of a flight, and whether it is less hassle and more economical to drive or can you take advantage of the weekend airfares offered by most airline carriers.
- Location – consider exploring a city or location that neither you nor your daughter has visited before. Look for locations that have access to a variety of activities – from museums, interesting classes, outdoor adventures…and the always necessary shopping!
- Lodging – leverage the Internet and travel websites to look for local, unique lodging options in that city. For a special weekend like this…it is a treat to break away from the usual “chain” hotels, and find a deal at one of the local properties.
- Transportation – choosing the right location might mean you have access to public transportation, and don’t even need to worry about renting a car, and navigating a city with a daughter who is not yet skilled in reading a map. Don’t forget this is supposed to be a bonding weekend….stressing over directions and map reading skills could put an early damper on the weekend!
So taking those considerations in mind, we chose Salt Lake City, Utah. Why? Quick direct flight from San Diego, a city we both have flown through innumerable times and zoomed by on our way to family ski trips but never once considered it as a vacation destination. The airport is minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, so no need for a car and the TRAX train allows passengers to ride free throughout the downtown Free Fare zone.
Normally my daughter and I travel to soccer tournaments where we stay at a hotel off the freeway that will accept my loyalty points or offers free waffles for breakfast, this time I wanted it to be different. My daughters eyes lit up as we pulled up to the front of The Grand America Hotel, a landmark in the city built to welcome the world to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Turns out, The Grand America Hotel offers many special value packages throughout the year. If you’re traveling with little ones? The hotel’s Families First program offers some useful amenities as well as a welcome gift of balloons and a package of JouJou chocolates. Cribs, rockers, bottle warmers, diaper genies and strollers can be delivered upon arrival free of charge.