In Praise of Mother Daughter Trips – My Travel Partner for Puerto Vallarta #travel

This is the girl who made me a Mom. My oldest and my heart. My brave girl who zip lined and plunged right in to swim with dolphins, petted sea lions at Dolphin Discovery and showed no fear in Mexico. She makes me proud every day, sometimes it’s the daily school and life stuff. Sometimes, it’s the snapshots shared on a big magical travel adventure.


I am amazed just watching her make her way in the world with a heart wide open to helping others, and strong shoulders lifting them up. Two weeks ago we travelled together to Puerto Vallarta. Mother daughter trips are a blessing and this one was no exception. I was able to take one guest with me. The question people keep asking me is how did you choose who to take?
It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was the right one. Why? Because this trip was our adventure. I knew Payton would be up for that. I also knew she’d love it. She travels well and is soon to be 13, and frankly, this also felt like an excellent way to usher in the teen years. And then there was this: when I was debating openly who would I take to Puerto Vallarta she was first to say – you should take Dad. Dad’s work schedule is much less flexible than mine and that would still have left two grade school kids here without an actual plan. I knew one of the kids would love the trip and one of them really needed a break. So Payton was my travel partner this time. Next time it will be her sister, or her Dad, or the entire family.



Making Memories in Mexico

Together, we had an amazing time. And we will do this again. Because this is what I have learned as a daughter myself whose Mom passed away suddenly just over one year ago: being a daughter is a brilliant, precious lifelong honour. The mother, daughter relationship is incredibly unique. It is worth celebrating every chance you get. Mother daughter trips are the perfect way to celebrate together.


My Mom and I travelled just once on our own to Florida. We explored Disney in the rain, ate clams, oysters and crocodile, shopped and drank vodka in the sun. We were silly and we filled the days with laughter, food and fun. Of all the things my brain and heart hold close about my own Mom, the memories of that trip remain. When I close my eyes, a picture of her easily bubbles up, leaning on a dresser inside a motel room in St. Pete’s, laughing with a straw hat on her head and a cocktail in hand.


I am a lucky mom to have two beautiful daughters. When I returned from Mexico my youngest daughter was upset. I had chosen her sister to go on an awesome press trip with me. She was angry. She acted out and she lashed out at her sister. I still don’t think she’s over it yet. Of course, some of her friends didn’t help. When I was away someone told Ainsley: “Well your Mom must love your sister the most because she took her to Mexico.”


Parenting is all about making hard choices. This was a beautiful and fortunate and wonderful opportunity and I chose my oldest daughter to come along for the ride. Fallout not withstanding, I am so very glad I made the choice I did. Why? Many of you know my youngest daughter has special needs. Am I excluding her from trips because of that? Hell no. Never. But I am recognizing that she takes up a lot of space and energy and she can be hard to parent.


When you parent kids with special needs it occasionally feels like they take up all the space, every ounce of air, every moment of time, all your attention. And the siblings, if I am to be 100 % honest, often get less. They accept the sliver of space left over after you are done advocating and fighting and managing the medical and emotional and educational needs of the sibling. And they are often the ones who end up taking over care of a special needs sibling when parents pass away. You can spend a lifetime feeling guilty over making everything equitable in the sibling memory bank or you can give more to each one individually when it is needed.


Fair is not equal. So there’s all of that.
Next time, it will be someone else’s turn to travel with me. I will deal with the fallout from those who are left at home when I return. It’s all part of this journey I am honoured to be on. If anything, this trip has convinced me to carve out more opportunities to spend time one on one with each member of my family. I hope there will be more mother daughter trips.


Time to Be Just Mother and Daughter

This was our time, just to be mother and daughter. To build memories and to breathe it all in. To cuddle in an over-sized bed, like we did when she was a toddler.  In my head I am frequently doing Mom math. If she is 12, then we have 6 summers left. If she is 13 then we have 5 summers left and so on. At some point soon she will no longer want to be my travel buddy. But for now we have Puerto Vallarta and my commitment to do this again.


More Mother Daughter Trip Details

Read our review of the beautiful Puerto Vallarta family resort we stayed at.


Have you ever done mother daughter trips?
We were guests in Puerto Vallarta on a travel bloggers trip. Many thanks to Puerto Vallarta tourism for a great stay. My opinion is all my own.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Gingermommy

    This trip was so much fun! I was so excited that you brought your daughter and had the chance to make such great memories. She was a real trooper and so brave 🙂

    • Paula Schuck

      Thanks Kim! It was great to see you there and I kind of miss the food and the activities that were scheduled for us. I’d love to return for the sea turtle conservation program.

  • Bonnie Way

    Looks like you had an amazing time! What a great bonding experience for you and your daughter. 🙂 I’d love to do something like this with my girls… maybe someday! THanks for sharing. 🙂

  • The Mom Jen

    That is so awesome, I had the same opportunity to travel with my youngest last year to Hawaii and the memories it made she and I will never forget! What a special time!

  • Michelle

    That is such a blessing you could take a one on one trip. I would give anything to take just one child on a trip. Puerto Vallarta sounds amazing right now.

  • Suzanne

    Paula, you are making me majorly vaklemp reading this <3 So much of what you wrote resonates with me. I have been lucky to take my daughter on two mommy and me trips, to our happy place Disney World, and the bonding, the memories that we made are priceless. With my son having special needs Emily has had to take a back seat at times. Her wants and sometimes even her needs have been placed second, but she is learning to accept when things can not always go her way. Gotta love being a parent, eh? 🙂

    • Paula Schuck

      I didn’t know your son has special needs. It’s true it’s very hard to carve out extra time for the siblings when there’s a little person with special needs. Maybe you and I and our daughters will meet up on one if these press trips soon.

  • Christine

    I’m so happy that your daughter and you got to spend special moments together in Puerto Vallarta. It’s always hard picking one over the other. I’m sure deep down that Ainsley knows you would have taken her too if you could have.

  • Monica

    Sounds like you had an amazing time with your daughter. It is so important to spend one on one time with our children. My daughter and I went on a road trip, from the Maritimes to London, Ontario a few months ago. We laughed the entire time and made memories we will cherish forever!

  • Randa Derkson

    Oh, I don’t like your math that just made me sad (and my son is 2). It looks like you and your daughter had an amazing time and made some memorable memories.

    PS – I love that hat!

  • Lyne Proulx

    Your daughter was very lucky to be with you to Puerto Vallarta! I haven’t done a mother/daughter trip in a long time, hmmm- should do one soon:) It’s difficult for the others that stay behind, but they will have their turn too:)

  • Kimberly B

    You were so right to do this. I was also a parent of a child with special needs. During his 22 years with us he took almost all of our free time and most of our time that wasn’t free. My three other children were often “set to the side” while we dealt with one medical need after another. My husband and myself always made time to include some individual time with each child that was just something special between the two of us. It made all the difference in the world in their attitude towards us and our special needs child. They need to feel important and special as well. This will be a memory she will never forget. As you mentioned there is always lots of opportunity for the others to have their turn. Sounds like an awesome time for the two of you!

  • Tabitha P

    It’s always hard to chose which kid to take to various events. I think I’m lucky I only have one girl, the boys won’t be so jealous of mommy-daughter trips I hope. I love how you approached the decision though. Seems like it was a great trip!

  • Lee-Ann S

    I think it is fantastic you two were able to take this trip together, but i must admit your oldest doesn’t strike me as your daredevil. Glad to hear she tried some new and what I would consider scary things.