The question of what kind of gift to present Mom on Mother’s Day should be less about, “What do you get the woman who has everything?” and more about, “What can I/we give that will speak to her soul?” A bespoke trip may not only be the right choice, but also one that prolongs the essence of Mother’s Day. Flowers wilt, chocolate melts and baubles may collect dust. However, the memories of a special trip with Mom are positively timeless and ironclad.
“When I was forming the idea for Elle Voyage, I wanted it to have the vibe of a supportive and empowering community,” says company founder Dawn Simone, who built her U.K.-based company to address adventurous women frustrated by a lack of female travel companions. Trips lined up at Elle Voyage cover the second half of 2019, and include Morocco, Cambodia, Brazil, Vietnam and Kerala.
“I also wanted to offer experiences the women on the journey could give back and help other women — including mothers and daughters — in countries not as fortunate as ours. In all our trips, we select restaurants and activities whose profits are reinvested back into education and helping the communities. We join local women and their families who take us into their own homes to give us a glimpse into their daily lives. We use women guides and drivers in Morocco, for example, where women have only just started to work in these kinds of jobs.”
Since 1971, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations created custom vacation packages that include all accommodations, most meals, two local guides, unique facilitated cultural experiences, vehicle support and round-trip international airfare from 30 North American cities to overseas destinations. Some of their “girlfriend getaways” that translate beautifully to mother-daughter experiences include:
For Foodie Moms
The “Italy: Tuscany & Umbria” tour winds through a bounty of sophisticated cuisine in renowned restaurants, farmhouses and family-run trattorias. The “Garden of France” tour is rooted in the region’s celebrated wines and refined dishes, crafted from the land’s fresh produce. The “Maine Coast: Purely Acadia” tour features bike rides along Rockefeller’s historic and car-free carriage roads through Acadia National Park, photogenic lighthouses, kayaking, whale watching and New England’s fresh Atlantic seafood (lobster, mussels and clams), creamy chowders and berry scones.
For Art Lover Mothers
“Spain’s Costa Brava: Cycling Dali’s Landscapes” offers numerous opportunities to marvel at landscapes that inspired Salvador Dali during a breathtakingly picturesque roll along Spain’s “Brave Coast.” A noted stop is Púbol Castle, purchased by Salvador Dali as a gift for his wife Gala, to view original paintings, sculptures and custom-designed furniture, as well as haute couture dresses designed by Christian Dior.
For History Buff Moms
Along “Charleston to Savannah: A Southern Reel” tour, stops include Fort Moultrie, which played a key role in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars; Penn Center, offering an overview of the culture of the Gullahs and also where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held his annual retreat; Beaufort, where Forrest Gump, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini were filmed; and Savannah and the moss-hung gardens of Bonaventure Cemetery.
Rockville, Maryland-based Naya Traveler takes the approach of curating journeys specific to the lifestyles and tastes of moms of varying ages that can also be enjoyed with their daughters or mothers. Founders Sofia Mascotena, Sarah Casewit and Marta Tucci believe the stories and connections that emerge from traveling with “naya” (purpose) are far more meaningful than any tangibles. Naya Traveler works with an exceptional group of locals garnered from the founders’ own personal relationships, ranging from traditional artists and literary authors to ethnographers.
The Naya “gift collection” is as follows:
Naya’s “The Way of the Incas” tour in Peru allows new mothers to start their lifelong journey with their children on the right foot through a bonding experience that taps into distinct advantages of traveling with a pint-sized human. The duo will explore one of South America’s most sophisticated ancient civilizations, encompassing agricultural ingenuity, spiritual wisdom, masterful artwork and cuisine that can still be appreciated to this day. Highlights include a stay in capital city Lima, exploration to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu.
Moms with Teen
The “Wild Patagonia” journey is packed with exciting activities and eye-opening experiences are sure to create lasting memories to bring a mom and teens closer as they encounter the natural wonders of The Patagonian Steppe, a land of age-old Gaucho customs, pure air, arid landscapes and enormous glaciers. After a few days to acclimate in bustling Buenos Aires, the travelers head to El Calafate, to begin tracing the footsteps of the first explorers to reach this land by water and land across the legendary Estancia Cristina. Along the way, they will take in spectacular vistas of mountains, valleys and glaciers along with the inspiring history of its first inhabitants.
Some mothers never stop being mothers and will stand by their children long after they’ve flown the nest. For this reason, the “Treasures of Uncharted Indochina” in Myanmar is a prime place to reconnect. Straddling Southeast Asia and India both geographically and culturally, its astonishing natural beauty, rare ethnic diversity and spiritual legacy provide plenty of inspiration for contemplation and discussion. Because of its isolation and lack of modernization, many of Burma’s most interesting sites retain an air of mystery reflected in the population’s customs and daily life. The exploration begins in Yangon, noted for its colonial relics that provide an insightful understanding of the country’s complex history. It continues to Bagan, land of ancient temples flanking the Irrawady River and Inle Lake, home of the Intha people and surrounding Shan state hill tribes.