Traveling Without Your Kids

With our impending 10th Wedding Anniversary just around the corner, I’ve been in full travel dreaming-and-planning mode.  As part of our celebration, my husband and I plan to take advantage of my parents offer to stay with our two kids, ages 2 and 7, and take our first trip sans-kiddos, since having kids.

Traveling Without Kids – Should You Feel Guilty?

Traveling mom with girl at beach

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We have friends who have traveled without their kids starting when the children were quite young, who appear to do so regularly, effortlessly, and seemingly without guilt or any second thoughts whatsoever.   In the spirit of brutal blogging honesty, I will tell you that I find myself judging them for this, just a bit.

But when I dig a little deeper… I know that it’s primarily stemming from my own jealousy.  Partial jealousy of their circumstances which enable them to do so, but also jealousy that they can pull this off emotionally.

Because of my own excessive, typically daily guilt which I feel as a grown mom and wife (I can always find something. Yes I can.),  I just plain envy those who don’t feel it.  Oh, to head out on that 10 Day Cruise, carefree and not even worrying about missing those good night cuddles and kisses.

Other side of that coin?  Parents need some time away, to remember they are actually a couple, who enjoys each others company!  And I’m pretty sure my kids will survive.

Traveling Without Kids – How Long Should You Go?

Passport and Euro for Trip

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

That being established, it’s so hard to know how long of a trip this should feasibly be.  Will the littlest one be ok for that long, first time away from both parents?  Will the mom be ok for that long, away from both kids?!

Personally, we have decided on a week.  And by “we”, I mean me.  Sorry, but I think this decision needs to be made by mom.  Or at least the parent who will feel the need to return the earliest.  Which is probably mom.

Traveling Without Kids – Affecting Your Destination

Grand Canal with Gondola Venice Italy

Grand Canal with gondolas, Venice (Image courtesy of cescassawin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I’ve blogged about taking a European trip in 2013, for our 10th Anniversary trip.  Although my husband speaks German, and in the past lived and went to school in Germany for a couple of years; I’ve never been to Europe.

Being someone who enjoys trip planning almost as much as the actual vacation itself, I have been like a kid in a candy store with my European travel research and castle-inspired day dreaming.  Thoroughly enjoying this finally semi-reality based decision making of where we would go, and what we wanted to see.

The bottom line has proven to be:  By the time you spend that much money, traveling that far – you can’t just stay for 5 days of touring.  You can’t.  At least I can’t.  The airline tickets are so expensive, and it would cross off at least 2 full days of our travel calendar simply to get there and back.

So between that and the expense, alas!  We’re going to have to put my European Dream Trip on hold.   Very sad me.

However, I won’t be giving up on this dream entirely.  For us, it just makes more sense to wait awhile.  I figure once we have a week long vacation away from the kids under all of our belts, and the kids are just a little older – I will still get my chance to tackle Europe someday.  I also figure it’s a safe bet that Europe will still be there waiting for me in the future.  That’s one of its primary allures for me in the first place.

Our Comprise Trip – Not Too Shabby

bahamas cruise ships

Image courtesy of the awesome family travel blog The World Is a Book.

So here we go… the compromise trip.  I’ve booked us a short, 3 night introductory Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruise for us Cruise Newbies.  Leaving from Port Canaveral, Florida in February.  (I think anyone who knows me very well can see where I’m going with this…)  Hmmm… 2-3 more days left of our trip after the cruise, and we’re an hour from Orlando.  What to do?  What to do?

HA!  Once my daughter gets a wee bit older and possibly starts reading my blog – I won’t be able to divulge these kind of family secrets here.  You guessed it:  We are going to Disney World for a couple of days, after our cruise!  Oh.  So.  Excited.

Disney Port Orleans Riverside Royal Guest Rooms

Why yes, those ARE fiber optic fireworks on my headboard… thanks for noticing.

We’ll be staying at the Royal Guest Rooms in Port Orleans Riverside Resort, and will probably only have a couple of days at the Parks.  But what grand days they shall be!  Being a mom of a child currently in the “I don’t do rides or attractions in the dark, 3D, or with even a remote possibility of being scared” zone… I’ve got a long list of Disney childhood favorites I can’t wait to hit.  Hello, Space Mountain – we meet again, at last!

Understandably, I just can’t tell my poor daughter (who had greatly hoped to go to Disney this winter herself, which isn’t going to happen) where we are going.  And of course, I’m going to feel a little guilty.  And of course, she’s going to get Disney presents when I return from the trip – which I can fortunately sneak in under the guise of them being purchased at the Disney Store in the Orlando airport **wink, wink **.

But in the words of my husband (I just love this):  “This trip is about us.”

*o*      *o*     *o*

Because this is an issue I have an inner struggle with – Please pass along any and all advice:   Do you travel without your kids? 

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves enjoying the outdoors, staying active, travel, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney...

Comments

  1. We have taken a trip without our son just about every year. But then we also take a trip with him, too. As you said, parents do need time away. And while we are gone, relaxing on the beach and living the good life, we do miss him. But we are able to do things, go places, and have conversations that would be much different if he were there. Laura was somewhat against it at first, probably over the guilt of leaving Jaylin behind, but once we got away, she found that she really enjoyed our time for just the two of us, too. Of course, we were all happy to get back together the way we should be after it was over.

    I don’t feel all that bad about it. I figure that my parents are spoiling Jaylin rotten while he is with them, so that he is having a pretty good vacation, too. 🙂

    Have lots of fun!

    • I always enjoy your comments Steve, and I really appreciate you weighing in with the husband’s perspective on this one. Love your point about the different nature of both activities and conversations a couple can have, in the temporary absence of their child.

      Great thoughts, all well said! 😀

      • You’re welcome, Tami!

        And I thought of one more benefit, too. Now that Jaylin is 10 and prefers to order off the adult menu instead of the childrens menu, eating out without him almost seems like a bargain! 🙂

  2. You will have a wonderful time, Tami! We have only been away without ours a handful of times and never for more than a couple of nights but that is because we have never had any family nearby to take care of them. It’s wonderful to have grandparents that are willing to stay with them so that you can celebrate your anniversary!

  3. In my 13 years of parenting, we’ve only “escaped” child-free 3 times. We’re the type of parents who don’t even make time to go out on dates, so it’s a big deal for us to get a little alone time. It was absolutely fantastic to not have to work around the kids’ needs and preferences. In the end, I think it ends up strengthening our marriage. What better gift can you give a kid than parents who love each other? For me, one issue is that all of my rules (food, bedtime, screen time) go out the window with grandparents around to spoil the kids. I returned from one trip to discover that my 8 year old was waaaaay behind on schoolwork. But it turns out that I can get the kids back on track within a week and that no lasting damage is done. Also, it seems that my kids don’t miss me like I was worried they would. Actually, I think the hardest part is all the prep I have to do so that my kids’ life continues seamlessly without me around to micromanage. I think my parents found the list of homework instructions, after school activities and weekend birthday parties exhausting.

    • Ha – exactly, us too… no dates! Aaaahhh!! And for us, it’s pretty much all about them, all of the time. So I love your comment about “not having to work around the kids’ needs or preferences”. Hearing everyone’s experiences via this post is building my confidence and excitement level… Hoooray 10th Anniversary Celebration!!

      Appreciate your feedback, Michele – thanks so much for stopping by. 😀

  4. Firstly, happy anniversary!

    Although my kids are still fairly young (my eldest is 4) I have only been away once without them. I am one of those people that always feel guilty. I think I just need to get used to the idea of being away from them (I am also a work at home mom so this is probably another reason why I feel this way).

    While my weekend away was relaxing, I was constantly thinking about them, looking at photos of them on my phone and counting down when I’d be on the return flight home.

    Have fun on the cruise and the WDW visit! Let us know how the kid free trip went. If you give it the thumbs up then I may attempt to try in a few years. 😉

    • Thank you Cheryl! You are so sweet, and I appreciate your honest “I do feel guilty” feedback. 🙂 Yours are still so young, though… I totally understand that.

      I will definitely let you know how our week goes! And I’m curious to see if I can truly enjoy Disney World without them, or if that will be too child-friendly of an environment for a parents only getaway? (I’m thinking my Disney obsession will help me muscle through any of that possible discomfort, however … lol)

  5. Yay, you’re going on a cruise! A cruise and Disney are a great compromise. We left our kids (5 & 8 at that time) with my in-laws two years ago for our 10th Anniversary on a 10-day Europe trip. It was the first time we traveled without the kids and for more than an overnight trip. It was hard to get everything ready. I gave my in-laws a lot of lists.

    It felt really weird at times traveling without the kids. I kept looking back a lot of times feeling like I left a kid behind. But, it was so great to just be alone with my husband and have adult conversations and not be concerned with bedtime and rushing through dinner.

    We skyped with the kids everyday and felt guilty so bought them a lot of stuff. We regretted not travelling by ourselves when they were younger 🙂 Enjoy your trip and your hubby is right…it’s about you two so have a wonderful time. They will be fine. Advance Happy Anniversary!!

    • Loved your helpful comment, Mary – thank you! Skype is a fantastic idea. So interesting that you guys regret not traveling by yourselves when the kids were even younger… maybe this is good timing for us, and we’ll be starting a new tradition?!

      Aaaahhh… it’s so soothing to even think about having “adult conversations and not being concerned w/bedtime and rushing through dinner” 😀

      BTW – Mary’s lovely family travel blog The World Is a Book is the source of the cool cruise ship shot in this post!

  6. I must agree with the other commenters. As an ’empty nester’ I also encourage you to enjoy a “guilt free” trip! We didn’t travel much without our children but enough to know how good it is to strengthen that most important relationship, you and your husband. It’s obvious much of your life is “all about your children” but I am convinced the best thing you can do for your children, is stay close to your spouse. And that takes time….and work. So your trip is not just something you WANT to do, it’s something you SHOULD do….for each other! Have a wonderful time and Happy 10th Anniversary, Tami!

    • Thanks, ma. This great trip wouldn’t be happening without you!

      Can’t wait until you guys are closer, all the time. 🙂 Then we can spontaneously grab those discount, short notice Europe flights one of these days!

  7. I am so glad you are cruising and doing Disney! We do a trip every year without the kids – and this year we actually went TWICE to Disney without them! We did a long weekend in February and then went for TWELVE days on the second trip 🙂 Oh – and we are cruising in February too – also on Royal – and also without the kids! Have a blast – and don’t feel an ounce of guilt!

    Just wait til your kids are older and you can text them the whole time you are gone with pictures to make them feel jealous 🙂

    • LOL – You are hilarious, Katrina. Bravo! I’m pretty sure I’ll never quite reach your “level” though… 😉

      Thanks so much, I’ll try really hard to follow your advice: “don’t feel an ounce of guilt!” YAAAY!

  8. Your vacation sounds fantastic! A couple of years ago I had a friend getting married in Italy so we left the kids for 10 days. I have to admit, the first few days I kept getting pangs of missing them. After a few days and emails back home, I was assured that I was missing them WAY more than they were missing me. In the end, it worked out great. I loved reconnecting with my hubby doing adventurous stuff, remembering what brought us together in the first place. It also felt like a guilty pleasure to load up my kindle with all the things I’ve been meaning to read. Can’t say enough about uninterrupted reading time and finishing sentences over a long dinner! Enjoy!

    • OOooohhh AAaaahhh… you had me at “Italy”! And then you had me again at “Kindle”!! 😀 It’s the little things, isn’t it? I, too, am very excited at getting in some reading time and long dinners. (I vaguely remember those…)

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Debbie – it sounds like it was wonderful. I know I will be reading and re-reading these comments before my trip, to psyche myself up! It really is about the parent reconnect, which is a good thing for the whole family.

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