(By Jenna Berndt)

Whether you are looking to spoil your teenage or adult daughter, or treat Mom to a much-deserved break after all these years of nurturing, there’s still time to make your mother-and-daughter getaway happen this year

Here is Flight Centre’s selection of the top bonding travel experiences for mother-and-daughter duos:

1. All-women guided holidays

All-women guided holidays are growing in popularity, especially in areas of the world where independent female travel is less common.

“For women travelling alone, there is an added element of safety when travelling on a female-only holiday,” says Sue Garrett, General Manager of Marketing and Product at Flight Centre. “Female travellers can join women-only expeditions, such as Intrepid’s small group tours to Nepal, India, Kenya, Turkey, Iran, Jordan and Morocco, and meet local women living in cultures that can be very different to our own.”

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2. Spa sanctuary

Go local on a spa break in the Midlands – tranquil in any season. Check in at the Fordoun Hotel and Spa and enjoy their luxurious spa featuring a diverse range of treatments and facilities, including a flotation pool, Turkish sauna, reiki and traditional African healing specialists, as well as all the usual spa treatments.

Or head further afield and embrace the yoga-and-smoothie lifestyle in Thailand’s Koh Samui. The Nora Buri Resort spa boasts glorious 360-degree sea views to enjoy while being pampered.

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3. Make a difference together

Leave the world a better place as you travel. Whether or not you opt for an eco-friendly resort or destination, off-peak travel, or a volunteering holiday, sustainable travel ensures greater bonding knowing that your holiday has made a meaningful impact.

Choose an eco-luxury hotel in the Seychelles, a country that’s made huge strides in preserving its biodiversity (it is among the first countries to ban single-use plastics and straws). Join a responsible tour operator in Peru or Nepal where you can support local communities, or get closer to nature travelling with a certified responsible operator in Costa Rica, Ecuador or cruising the Amazon.

Machu Picchu, Peru. UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World Image: carmengabriela @123RF.com

4. Soul search on a wellness break

For the mother of all soul-searching trips, one destination stands above them all, and that’s India. A feast of colour and an assault on the senses, for adventurous mother-and-daughter duos, this is a bonding trip you won’t soon forget.

Loryn Holmes, a 39-year-old Durban local who visited India with her mother in her sixties, on a Trafalgar guided holiday, said her mother is her best travel partner and that the memories of their trip to India are unforgettable.

“She is not afraid to try something new and will happily get involved,” says Holmes of her travel partner. “You can’t really explain to people the experiences you’ve had after a trip such as this. It was incredibly special to share these memories with my mom.”

5. Local cruise

Board an MSC Cruise local sailing for a value-for-money mom-and-daughter-bonding trip that’s also ideal for a long weekend. The beauty of a cruise is that you can do as much or as little as you please, together or on your own.

“All meals, accommodation and entertainment are included, so you can enjoy the many facilities on board or book an additional spa treatment or fun land excursion,” says Divan Viljoen, Marketing Campaign Manager at Cruiseabout. “The three- or four-night cruises to Mozambique’s Portuguese Island from Durban are very popular.”

Sunsets and sushi on the MSC Musica

6. Wine-hopping in the Winelands

Another local favourite, wine-hopping in the Cape Winelands is fantastic for a girls’ getaway. Base yourself in one of the many accommodation options on offer in Franschhoek or Stellenbosch, and enjoy a weekend of wining and dining, visiting the art galleries and quaint shops, or simply lounging fireside in the cooler months. The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a fun way for over-18s to safely enjoy a day of wine tasting at a number of estates.

7. A leisurely river cruise

River cruises are 2019’s trendiest cruise travel style and offer a much more intimate experience. Smaller vessels literally sail right into the heart of the destination. And you’ll only unpack once. Joy!

Hop on board a stylish Uniworld Boutique River Cruises ship and cruise through Burgundy, France’s world-renowned wine and chateaux region. Or try the rand-friendly Portuguese equivalent, the Douro Valley. Uniworld also operates in Russia, the Far East, Egypt and India, cruising the sacred Ganges River.

If you’re travelling with a millennial, consider U River Cruises. The brand caters equally for the millennial and millennial-minded traveller with itineraries in Europe that feature later starts, brunch, onboard mixology classes, rooftop bars, yoga and street art tours.

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8. A girls’ shopping trip

If a lengthy shopping session is your best adventure idea, jet off to an overseas shopper’s paradise. Browse for trendy Turkish towels, brightly-coloured ceramics and glass lamps in Istanbul, or snap up Berber rugs, fringed cushions, slippers and spices in the souks of Marrakesh. (Be prepared to haggle, but remember to be respectful.)

If you prefer the idea of shopping up a storm in a glitzy, air-conditioned mall, Dubai’s mega (and we mean mega) shopping centres await. The malls not only house the world’s most eye-wateringly priced designer brands but après-shopping visits include the aquarium in the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest and most visited shopping mall, or take to the ski slopes at Ski Dubai inside the Mall of the Emirates.


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9. A tropical island escape

Mauritius, Maldives or Zanzibar, take your pick from these easily accessible tropical Indian Ocean islands. In Mauritius, a favourite for a reason, you can shop till you drop in Grand Baie or get active taking advantage of the resorts’ complimentary water sports. In the Maldives, lap up the luxury in your overwater villa and, in exotic Zanzibar, enjoy a sunset dhow cruise, or a tour of Stone Town’s charming architecture and rich heritage.

10. Tick off a bucket-list item

Ticking off a bucket-list trip or experience is amazing in itself. But doing that together, with your mother or daughter, will mean a beautiful shared memory of picnicking underneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris, watching the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti, or tucking into a traditional Cape Malay meal in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap.

Intense, beautiful, heart-warming and at times frustrating, the mother-daughter relationship may be complicated, but it can’t be replaced. And for strengthening bonds and creating shared memories, there’s nothing better than travel.

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