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Taking the Kids: Mom's Day gifts for traveling moms and grandmas

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Let's hear it for mom! She's usually the chief vacation planner and packer, not to mention the on-the-go therapist, managing sibling disputes, the meal organizer and the first responder when someone is sick or injured.

That's not to say Dad doesn't do his part. Of course, he does. But it's usually Mom who feels responsible for everyone's happiness -- so much so that when I meet vacationing moms around the pool or the beach, they usually acknowledge that vacations with kids, whether running-in-every-direction toddlers or teens who would prefer to be anywhere else but where you are, aren't always much of a vacation at all. "Just like home without a washer and dryer," one mom famously told me.

So with Mother's Day approaching, I figured we could all use a little help showing the moms in our lives how much we appreciate what they do for us on vacation -- and to make sure they have the time to enjoy themselves.

That might be arranging a spa treatment, tennis lesson, food tour, if she's a foodie, or simply giving her a morning to relax on the beach on your next vacation. Even a small package of bath oils and bath salts from a company like Kneipp -- the founder started the hydrotherapy movement in 19th-century Germany -- can make mom smile, as long as it comes with a guarantee of no interruptions.

Getawaycan send mom to a tiny cabin outside of metro areas like NYC, Boston and Washington, D.C., for a day or night off, starting at $169 (there is even a cellphone lockbox and customized guidebooks, as well as board games and books). Also, for the moms who love the outdoors, but not all the work that goes along with camping, consider a gift card from How about a stay in a treehouse?

If you know where she is heading next, consider a guidebook she can use in advance. I've become a fan of Lonely Planet for their budget-smart tips and Insight Guides for their gorgeous photos and history of regions. LINGO ( is an innovative way to play cards and learn key phrases in many foreign languages at the same time.


I'd certainly appreciate an Amazon gift card with suggestions for a play list of music (or top musicians) for the area mom will be visiting, also novels or movies set in that location. (Your local librarian could probably help.)

Moms (and grandmas) certainly would appreciate anything that would help them be more organized when they travel. If a small pooch is going along, I like the new-style Dog Carriers from Jaxx Hound that is comfy for the dog, stylish and has room for supplies (from $265).

My super durable Briggs & Riley tote with plenty of pockets has taken me around the world (check the website for sales; the new Rhapsody style will be out in June.)

I'm also a fan of M.Z. Wallace totes because they are so lightweight and compress into their own bag. Check out their travel collection, including backpacks and totes with plenty of pockets and a sleeve for a laptop or tablet. I like the sleeve to slip over a suitcase handle and the water bottle pocket! The sleek Divisadero traveler backpack is lightweight and has padded shoulder and back support.


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