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The perfect Mother’s Day gift: International travel

It’s almost Mother’s Day, and as a mother and grandmother, I wanted to take a minute to share some motherly advice. While all moms appreciate the traditional Mother’s Day flowers, cards and the occasional breakfast in bed, the ultimate present has always been spending time with our children and yes, our grandchildren. I’ve watched my kids grow from wobbling toddlers to successful adults, and looking back over the years, the moments that bring the biggest smiles to my face are those spent enjoying time together.

With that in mind, I suggest rethinking the traditional Mother’s Day gifts this year, and consider giving Mom a present that will create lifelong memories for your family — a mother-and-child trip to an exotic destination that both of you are dying to visit and enjoy together.

In my more than 30 years in the industry, I’ve heard countless stories about how travel has built bonds and strengthened relationships. In fact, a lot of those stories are mine, having traveled internationally with both my own kids and grandkids. Not only do families learn about new cultures, they learn about each other and gain a new level of appreciation for one another. In case you haven’t discovered any mutual travel “must visits” of your own, here’s my Mother’s Day gifting guide to help you choose the perfect destination for you and your mom.

The first-time-traveler mom: Italy

Italy is a perfect destination for first-time international travelers. Your mom will fall in love with the welcoming Italian people and feel completely at home in the relaxed culture. Stroll through the winding cobblestone streets of Venice, a city that floats on water, and watch gondoliers serenade patrons as they glide along the city’s 177 canals. Travel to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and shop for gold, jewels, and art on the Ponte Vecchio, a walking bridge lined with high-end stores. Then gaze upon Michelangelo’s famous statue of David. End the trip sipping bold red wines at a café in Rome and wandering through the ruins of the famed Coliseum. Whether you and your Mom love cooking, art, music or just plain strolling, you’ll find boundless opportunities to make memories that will last a lifetime.

The exotic mom: India

India is unlike any other country in the world. It’s a 3,000-year-old culture that’s quickly growing into a modern world power. You and your mom can share a rickshaw ride through the crowded streets of Old Delhi, and marvel at the city’s intricate Hindu temples and Muslim mosques. Travel to Arga to visit one of the world’s greatest wonders, the Taj Mahal, which was constructed with intricate white marble by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife. Finally, experience Jaipur, the Pink City, and wander through bustling street bazaars to purchase rich spices and hand-woven wool carpets. India is the ultimate destination for mothers with a passion for exotic travel.

The adventurous mom: Costa Rica

If your mom has a knack for adventure, Costa Rica is the destination for her. This Central American country is home to tropical rainforests, jungles, cloud forests, mountains, rivers, volcanoes, coastline, and five percent of the planet’s total biodiversity, making it the perfect destination for adventure seekers. Visit the coastal city of Tortuguero, sail through the town’s intricate web of canals, and watch endangered sea turtles sunbathe on secluded beaches. Travel to the foot of Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest volcano, and swim in natural volcanic hot springs. Finally explore Monteverde and walk atop the canopy of the cloud forest. Trekking through Costa Rica’s breathtaking landscapes, you and your mom will forge life-long family memories.

The relaxed mom: Spain

Spain is the perfect destination for mothers who prefer a more laid-back travel experience. You and your mom could easily spend a week exploring breathtaking Barcelona. Stroll along La Rambla, a boulevard filled with shops, outdoor cafés, street performers, and lively music. Tour La Sagrada Família, the unfinished Catholic church designed by famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, or just spend a few days lounging on the beach. Venture beyond Barcelona to Madrid, the capital city of Spain, to walk the gardens of the Spanish royal palace. Then journey south to the Andalucian town of Seville, and trek to the top of the Gothic-style Giralda Cathedral. Spain’s unhurried lifestyle and world-class cities make it the perfect destination for a Mother’s Day getaway.

Set aside the bouquets and Hallmark cards this Mother’s Day. Instead, gift your mom her ultimate wish: uninterrupted time together. You and she will laugh, learn, and make memories that last far longer than a vase of tulips.

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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