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Should I Bring Mom on Vacation?


"My siblings and I are my mother's part-time caregivers. We each have our own tasks and responsibilities. When it comes to travel, no one really includes Mom in their plans. While Mom turns down most travel opportunities, every now and then she surprises us and says she wants to come with. I will be the first to admit that she is not easy to travel with. She is in her mid-90's and needs a wheelchair for any significant trip. Honestly, it's exhausting to manage Mom, her wheelchair, suitcases, etc., yet I feel a bit guilty for not including her when we go. What are your thoughts?"


Do what seems reasonable

It sounds like you have a bit of experience moving your mother about town already. You know how far your mother can walk and how long you can last pushing her in a wheelchair. I must agree that it takes extra energy to mobilize someone your mother’s age. This includes moving her in and out of a car, through stores, back home, and resettling again. It can be quite tiring. Take your past experience into account to determine what is reasonable for your mother's situation as well as your own. 

Planning Vacations

I suggest taking a weekend trip with your mother in order to see how that goes before you plan a week-long vacation anywhere. You need to see what her stamina is at her age for travel and also how much you can handle. Because your mother is in her 90s, I am going to assume you are no longer a youngster yourself.

You are fortunate enough to share the workload with siblings as it relates to your mother's chores and housework. Similarly, you might also be able to spread the travel opportunities around with the family. If you do decide to take her on a vacation, see if you can travel with a sibling and split the work of moving mother about. 

Take Mom on Shorter TripS

Your mother may likely be uninterested in overseas travel. This typically includes uncomfortable trips through customs, multiple flights, and jet lag. While this may be an adventure for a young person or those in early retirement, it is not often you see individuals 90 plus making the trek abroad.

I suggest taking your mother to local outings on a semi-regular basis. Observe how that goes. Take her to new restaurants within an hour’s drive. If you live in an area with fall colors, take her on a one-day "color trip." Even something as simple as taking different routes to and from the grocery store could prove to be fun. There are many enjoyable places to visit in your state that do not require significant travel.


I do not think you should feel obligated to include your mother in all of your vacation trips. Do what feels reasonable, and lose the guilt when you need respite.

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