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5 Ways Travelling with Your Adult Child Can Deepen Your Relationship in Ways You Never Expected

By Margaret Manning June 06, 2019 Travel

World travel is high on the list of things women our age crave. Many women have a long list of places they want to explore in retirement. One goal is to experience adventures we could not enjoy when busy working or raising children.

For example, I have vague memories from my time as a mom of beautiful turquoise sea and whitewashed buildings on Greek Islands. But these lovely experiences were overshadowed by my parental role.

I remember spending most of the time looking after curious, wandering children and making sure we all returned home safe and sound! My own desires were tucked safely away for future trips.

Is Retirement a Great Time or Get to Know Your Adult Children?

Many older women think of life in “retirement” as their “me” time. In my case, I broke the rules and started a business with my eldest son.

For 5 years, we worked side-by-side with his wife to build Sixty and Me. So, after spending long hours together building our business, when it came to plan a relaxing holiday why on earth would choose to travel together?

For me, river cruising is one of the most relaxing, and enjoyable form of travel. Road Scholar, a leader in non-profit educational travel, knows this and has over 40 river cruising experiences to offer.

In my opinion, there were 5 good reasons we chose to spend 14 days together on a river boat cruise. And, what I learned about the relationship with my adult son was life changing.

A River Cruise Gives You Relaxed Time for Real World Conversations  

The cruise we took was along the Rhine. It was a Christmas Market river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. To be honest, other than short train trips, we never had travelled together as adults. The experience changed our relationship forever.

We got to spend time eating, drinking, talking and reminiscing in such precious ways. Having relaxed real world adult conversations honestly shifted our relationship beyond mother and son to great friends.

We started to connect in authentic ways. I learned one very important lesson. All your adult children really want is for you to be happy! That freed me so much when thinking of how I wanted to spend time in my retirement.

We both had changed since those Greek Island summers when he was a child. Life had offered us both opportunities to deal with loss and sadness, joy and hope. In him I could see kindness, strength and a beautiful determined ambition I’d never acknowledged before.

He saw my quirks and flaws and started to understand better the challenges I was experiencing about aging. We talked about everything.

Our Conversations Went Deeper When We Were Both of Drinking Age

I am not a big drinker, but, when lovely regional wines are served at every meal, you can’t help but relax and imbibe. Our river cruise had a German theme, but, this 13 day Road Scholar trip on the Douro River in Portugal sounds equally appropriate! You get to explore little-known treasures along Europe’s Douro River, discovering ancient architecture and of course local wineries. Here is another option.

You Can Explore Undiscovered Places Your Children Thought Were Way Too Boring!        

Kids sometimes have a very short list of must-see destinations. They do not have much interest in culture and history. This changes as your children get older and places with unpronounceable names suddenly become more interesting!

River cruising can take you to exotic locations around the world. Road Scholar river and barge educational programs extend to Egypt , China and Africa.

I have lived in Switzerland now for 5 years but the cities along the Rhine were as unknown and remote as central China. The cruise took my son and I to Kolmar, Strasbourg, Cologne and Koblenz were highlights and we learned about the magical myth of Lorelei on the Rhine.

My son and I talked about the history of the places we visited and together we learned so much about the culture and history of the places on the river.

We Discovered Secret Places Not Far from Home

Our trip together was on the Rhine, butthere are so many river experiences very close to your own home. The Danube River for example, winds and bends through 10 countries including Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

In the United States there are 10 Road Scholar river cruises including the Southern Grandeur or the Lewis and Clark to Mark Twain.

You Can Enjoy Classic River Cruising all Year Round

Cruising is an all year activity, so you can easily work around your adult child’s work and family commitments. If it’s possible the fun is increased if they bring your daughter in law as happened in my case. I got to know her in a much deeper way too. And grandkids – well Road Scholar offers many intergenerational tours so again, there are many options!

My river cruise with my adult son was an experience of a lifetime. It deepened our relationship in so many ways.

Since then, he has become a father… so the idea of ever getting an opportunity for just the two of us to take a trip together seems remote.

I am so happy we took this time to travel together. It was a highlight of my life and a precious memory with my son.

Have you ever travelled with an adult child? Where did you go and how do you feel it changed your relationship? Let’s have a chat!

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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