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It’s always a blast to go on a family vacation together. Road trips turn into memories and the weeks away are lasting impressions. However, if you are planning a vacation this year, you might want to consider leaving the kids behind. Yes, I said it! Vacations as a couple are an awesome opportunity to reconnect. Head to a destination that may not be necessarily suitable for kids, talk about something other than diapers and enjoy your time without the tantrums or whining.
As wonderful as family vacations are, traveling as a couple is simply less stressful. After a family vacation earlier in the year, my husband and I decided that we deserved a trip for just the 2 of us. After months of planning, my husband and I left our son with my in laws and headed for a 3 night stay in Savannah. We got valuable time away with each other, and Ezra got spoiled by his grandparents. It was a terrific win for all us and a particularly fantastic time for Clay and I. We spent our mornings sleeping in, and nights sipping cocktails at a local speak easy. The crux of our trip was a Harry Potter Pub Crawl, and I have never loved butter beer more.
Our time alone together was invaluable and sometimes planning a trip without the kids may be exactly what a married couple needs. If you are anxious about leaving the kids behind, here are 5 tips for traveling without the kids that will make your time away worthwhile.
5 Tips for Traveling without the Kids
1. Don’t feel guilty
Don’t. Really, it is okay to leave your children behind while you go on a vacation. They will not resent you. Parents deserve a trip together. It’s a chance to reconnect, work through any unresolved obstacles and just simply relax free from nagging, housework and waking up at 5am. With as much time and effort you give your family on a daily basis, you deserve a great time together.
If you’re worried about the kids being “mad”, plan fun things for them to do with their caretaker while you’re away! That will not only alleviate your guilt, but also give them something to look forward to while you’re gone.
2. PUT AWAY THE PHONE
This might be a tough one for many but it’s so worth the chance to unplug. If you’re concerned about the kids, they’ll give you a call if there’s an emergency. If this one is particularly difficult for you, consider planning a daily check in time with the kids! Have them send a text or call at a certain time each day. Plan a nightly time to call them or FaceTime with them while you’re away to help alleviate your anxiety.
If social media is the culprit for your phone obsession, take this chance to take a break. Your followers won’t unfollow you just because you haven’t posted in a week. Take pictures for memories sake, but don’t feel the need to post every minute. Your trip is about you and your spouse, and it’s important to take advantage of that gift.
3. Don’t revolve every conversation around the kids you are (or maybe aren’t?) missing
Your trip together is a chance to get out of your daily habit; a break from talking about school, housework, bedtime or play-dates. Nothing is more of a buzzkill than saturating every conversation with ‘parent talk’. Use the uninterrupted time to talk about things you might not otherwise have the chance to discuss. Play 20 questions, make your time together reminiscent of your first date. There’s a lot of static in a marriage after children, and a trip together helps to refocus priorities on one another. Don’t be afraid to give yourself guidelines. It’s not a bad idea to have parameters for conversation, and maybe a romantic dinner together isn’t the best location for a conversation about your child’s poop schedule.
4. Don’t set your expectations too high
If you are planning a trip away from the kids, it can be easy to allow your imagination to run wild. Saying “This is going to be the best week ever” may set you up for a huge disappointment. Set realistic expectations. Not every moment will be perfect, and you are not in a Sandals commercial. There may be arguments, failed plans, or disappointing experiences during your trip. Knowing that bumps in your vacation may arise prevents you coming home from a frustrating experience.
Before you leave for your trip talk about expectations for your vacation! Do you plan to sleep in until 10am each morning or staying out until 2am? Maybe you want more lounge time while your spouse anticipates being on the go. Discussing these small things before your trip will help you set appropriate expectations and allow you to know what your spouse hopes for too.
5. Plan a destination or activities geared towards adults
Don’t plan your couples vacation to Disney. This is your chance to get away from kids! Ever wanted to play the slots at Vegas? Or perhaps wine country is your dream. The possibilities are completely endless and none are disappointing. It may not be so much fun to take the kids to New Orleans so find a location that may be otherwise difficult to enjoy as a family.
The most important thing about any trip is simply to have fun! Take advantage of each moment spent away in the company of the one you love. Don’t let yourself stress out or let the guilt get ya. I hope these 5 tips for traveling without the kids is a helpful tool to help you make the most of your couples vacation!