Mother Daughter Trips Will Change Your Perspective on Life

I am a true believer in the power of road trips. 

There is a liberating feeling that comes with loading up the car and getting out on the open road. You get an amazing sense of freedom. It gives you the chance to pop the daily routine bubble and allow life to show you how great it really is.

Road-tripping is one thing. What I enjoy more is road-tripping alone with my daughter. No husband. No friends. Just us. It’s an experience every parent should have with their child. 

I took a two-week mother daughter trip with my 11-year-old through the American Mid-West. Yes, you read that correctly. I purposefully road-tripped for two weeks with my pre-teen daughter. Crazy? Maybe. 

But I knew as a mother, the days of hanging out with my daughter were limited. Soon, I’d be tossed aside for the girlfriends, and then the boyfriends. 

Visit USA

Part of the issue was my job. I was working a corporate job where my hours averaged 70 + hour a week. Burning the candle at both ends, I was mentally and physically exhausted. Time with my daughter had become simple moments, mere snippets in time.

Travel has always been my escape. It’s the thing one thing that balances me. So, a road trip seemed like the best solution.

Read More: How To Save Money For Traveling

After taking this road trip, I realized what I thought to be reality was not reality at all.

Reality was not status reports I had to squeeze into my already packed to-do list. It wasn’t how to sugar-coat a proposal in order to convince someone to actually do the right thing. It wasn’t figuring out the best communication plan so that I could advance my career.

White Sands National Park

Protecting my daughter from a sudden sandstorm in the middle of White Sands National Park.

Listening to my daughter’s hysterical laughter when a donkey stuck its head in our car window, as she tried to take its picture.

The look on my daughter’s face when we were convinced there was a ghost in our room at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs Arkansas.

Those were the moments of reality I was missing. 

I had to wonder:  If I realized it here on this roadtrip, what was I missing out on at home? 

We travelled through 11 states in 13 days driving over 3000 miles (4800km). The mantra for our road trip,  “Try Something New”, allowed us to experience things we would not normally do. It was enlightening, rejuvenating, and life-changing for both of us. 

Nothing for Miles

This kind of road trip is so different than family travel

It’s the two of you, facing the world and making decisions together. The two of you, free to sing your favourite songs at the top of your lungs without an ounce of self-consciousness. 

Your kids get to see you. Not as Mum or as Dad. But you, as an individual.

It doesn’t mean they will respect you any less. In fact, they may respect you more because they see that you are like them, yet not like them at all. That’s a priceless experience. 

When we returned home, I planned big changes. The following year, I quit my corporate job and explored my passions in writing and photography. I spent time with my daughter, attending her school events, helping with homework. Hanging out with her –  at home.

My daughter is now sixteen and we have a great relationship. After our Mid-West adventure, we have committed to a road trip every year. We’re now (re)discovering Australia together.

Read More:

I believe that if you travel far enough, you’ll find yourself. Sometimes it’s a lengthy round the world adventure, other times its road trip with your child to realize that life is too short to simply exist. 

Have you ever taken a mother daughter trip? Please share your experiences with us!

Road trips galore in our podcast episodes

  1. Episode 1: Solo Travel and Working Abroad before we met
  2. Episode 2: Our 5 year honeymoon living and traveling the world
  3. Episode 3: The Dark times and Birth of the girls and travel blog
  4. Episode 4: Embracing Family Travel and our 18 month Australian road trip
  5. Episode 5: Getting a green card and traveling the US (our dream realized)

28 thoughts on “Mother Daughter Trips Will Change Your Perspective on Life”

  1. Great post.

    This was probably last moment for such trip. I doubt that many teenegaers would like to take the road trip with their parents.

    After this you will probably have to wait until she gets into late 20ies for the next one 🙂

    Neno

    1. Actually Neno I just road tripped with my (now) 16 year old in N.Z. for two weeks. She claims it was the best road trip we’ve ever had. We’re talking about a Tasmania road trip next, so time is still on my side! YAY!

    1. I’m very lucky Alexandra. I think part of what made it strong for us was starting the travel experience with my daughter when she was young, just as Caz and Craig are doing with theirs. It really has formed a strong bond between my daughter and I. Glad you have that kind of relationship too! Sadly, I missed much of the adult experience with my own Mum. I’m sure she would have been whooping it up with us, if she was still around. So, hold on to those moments as much as you can! Life is too short!

  2. What a wonderful experience. My mom was originally from MO but moved to CA when she was about 13. She has a lot of memories from MO and TN but has never been back. Next year, when she turns 70, I am planning on taking her on a road trip back to MO. It will be so nice and a great time to get to talk and be ourselves without others around. I really enjoyed reading this post and thank you for sharing.

    1. I have goosebumps just reading about your upcoming road trip. What a great opportunity!! Since we’ve moved back to Sydney, I’ve been able to share so much of my childhood places with my own daughter. It’s amazing what memories come flooding back! I hope the trip goes smoothly for you both and you have a beautiful memory to treasure!

  3. What great memories you have created with your daughter. My daughter is heading for 17 and I think just the two of us heading off on a road trip together would be awesome. I think I will have to make it happen soon!

  4. Such a heartwarming trip you took with your daughter. As a mother of an 11-year-old and a former overworked corporate lackey working, 70+ hours a week, I really relate to everything you’ve written. You’re right, my daughter is seeing me more now not only as a mother but as an individual.

    1. Makes a huge difference, doesn’t it?! I probably work more than I ever have, but I can now take time out when I want to, when she needs it and when I need it too!

  5. Hi Tara,
    My son has become 16 we were stayed alone together, a lot of things quite worrying so before the time gone by, I plan the trip to come across for. Feels finds its way to get opportunity to have a reality relationship between father and son
    Thanks Tara, your have great post.

  6. Wow, I really loved reading this post! My 10 year old and I are going on a road trip in a couple weeks. Our first real trip where we’re not just trying to getting from point A to point B! I was excited before reading this but am even more excited now! We’re doing the historic route 66 route this time. We don’t get to spend much quality time together due to my work schedule and I’m excited for 10 uninterrupted days of just the two of us. I already can’t wait to start planning our next U.S. road trip adventure! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Wow! That’s exciting Miranda! It truly will be an experience you will never forget.

      We did only part of Route 66 on our adventure but when I saw that sign, I got goosebumps! Oh I so want to tag along! Make a music playlist. Find some audio books (Harry Potter is great, but even better is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe!). Ask each other questions about your dreams, things you’ve never shared before…. You’ll be amazed at how much you will get to know each other as PEOPLE.

      Let us know how you do! Good luck and most of all – enjoy every second of it.

  7. I LOVED this post!!! My 16-year-old daughter and I just got back from a road trip like you described and it was AWESOME! We didn’t care that it was last minute, we didn’t care that most of the places along the way that we had intended to see were closed, and we didn’t care what other people thought of us. We laughed, we sang, and we connected in a way we had been missing for a long time. I can’t wait to go again!

    1. That’s awesome Jenismom!! My daughter is now 16 – it was a while ago we took this life changing roadtrip – but we’ve continued to take a roadtrip every single year since. (We’re about to head out for another in the next two weeks.) It’s AMAZING what hitting the road together does to reconnect again. I loved hearing your story. So glad to hear yours was so memorable. Keep it going!

  8. Hi Tara very great article ,i have little daughter but we newer traveling together she loves traveling too,one day we will do this,your are so inspiration .

    1. Thanks Roberto. Definitely start travelling together when your daughter is young – just as Caz and Craig are doing with their two – and you will have a traveller for life. I started travelling with my daughter when she was a baby and she’s the best travel companion I’ve ever had (better than my husband!)

  9. Love that you are spreading this excellent chance to be together… You write of road trips with your kids and I could not more heartily agree with your sentiments. I love driving and traveling, and the trips we have had were luxuriously sweet. My children, now grown, manage their own methods of togetherness, removed from the hustle of daily work and routine. One daughter recently drove to Florida from Maine with her 5 1/2 yr old for a week of swimming, relaxing, hugging, laughing, “wrestling” alligators, and exploring dinosaur lands! All 6 of my kids know the importance of spending time away from the unreal…so often the daily grind of school and work…to pursue family time, one-to-one time. And now, I am happy to report that my Mom and I are doing road trips together!! She’s 84, and totally game to do cross country this fall! It’s a trick to stop and do, but life just gets shorter…don’t ever hesitate to get off the train and take a look around…even if it’s a short trip for discovery thru the backyard!

    1. I love it Christine!! Not only have you taught your own kids this important life lesson, but that your Mom is in for a cross-country road trip. I often think of the trips I would take with my other Mum (with my daughter, of course) if she were still alive. Unfortunately we missed out on that chance but I’m sure they would have been epic. Oh, enjoy the road trip!! And, yes, absolutely get out and enjoy the world with whatever time you have because life IS short! Thanks for your comment!

  10. My daughter is 4 and she will be 5 in November,just last month we had our first road trip to Cleveland,Ohio. It wasn’t that far but its a good start!

  11. So true! Start road tripping with your daughter early, and it will become a tradition you both will love! My twin girls and I have taken trips since they were 5 years old. We have taken one almost every year, and if not a “road trip”, we will go away for a few days or a week skiing or to a warm weather destination. They are now 21 and we are thinking of a world tour after they finish college, but before they are immersed in full time jobs and careers.

  12. Hi Tara,

    Enjoyed your story-good for you!!

    I would like to take my 12-year old daughter on a 6-week cross country trip. My biggest concerns are safety and money (paying for 72 nights of hotel stays). Do you have any suggestions or resources to recommend?

    Thanks so much and congratulations on your new career!
    –Jan

  13. Thanks for sharing your story, I am going on our first road trip with my 14 and 12 year old daughters. I am excited for a fun and bonding time. Great to hear how life changing it was for you. All the best.

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