The Great Escape: A Guide to a Guilt-Free Trip Without Kids
Here’s the deal: kids are great, but every parent knows they’re also exhausting. Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and sometimes you just need a break from the hustle and bustle of school drop-offs, sports practices, and extra-curriculars. And what better way to recharge than by setting off on an adventure with your significant other and leaving the little ones behind?
So, when you get an opportunity to escape, take it! A kid-free trip is a chance to reconnect with your partner, explore new destinations, and put the focus back on your relationship.
“But what about the guilt and anxiety of leaving them behind?” We hear you! But taking a break from your parenting responsibilities isn’t a bad thing – in fact, it can be necessary. You can’t parent at 100% if you are buried under stress. You deserve some self-care and to spend quality time with your partner, so go ahead and book that trip! Your kids will be just fine and your relationship will thank you.
Preparing Your Children For The Trip
Planning a trip without your kids is much different than planning a family vacation. In a way, it’s almost twice the work – not only do you have to plan your travels, but you have to also make a plan for your children while you’re gone!
It’s normal for your kids to feel anxious about your departure. Bring up the plan well in advance of your trip so they have time to get used to the idea. Be straightforward when you explain to them where you’re going, what you’ll be doing there, and when you’ll be back. Ask them what kind of souvenirs they would like you to bring back for them, and what kind of activities they want to do in your absence. This helps to ease their worries and get them excited for all the fun things they will get to do while you’re gone!
Finding a trusted caregiver for while you’re away is crucial. Maybe it’s a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or a close family friend – even better if they have kids for yours to play with! If you have lots of extended family nearby, you can split up the caregiving duties between multiple people.
Whomever you choose to care for your kids while you’re away, make sure it’s someone your kids feel comfortable with. Your kid’s first experience spending time with that adult should not be a week-long stay. Especially if your children don’t know the caregiver well, scheduling a playdate with them a week or two before the trip is a great way for everyone to get comfortable with each other.
Next, it’s time to work with your designated caregiver(s) to create a daily schedule and plan fun activities to keep your kids busy while you’re out exploring. New toys, games, and crafts can keep them distracted for the most part, but planning a larger experience for them to do with their caregiver can create a lot of excitement and dissolve the fears they have about you setting off on your trip. A trip to the zoo or water park can make the week extra-memorable for your kids, too! Both your kids and the caregiver will appreciate having a structured schedule in place.
Planning Your Trip
As parents, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of raising tiny humans and forget your own interests. This trip is an opportunity to remember who you were before you had kids, and appreciate the people you’ve become. When planning your trip, take time to reacquaint yourself with the things you liked to do on your travels before your trips were filled with juice boxes and people dressed up like cartoon characters.
If the two of you used to tour wineries together, plan a wine tour in a new city! If you’re a couple of thrill-seekers, visit an amusement park without having to stand in the kiddie ride lines. Or book a remote cabin and bask in the kind of peace and quiet you haven’t experienced in years.
Whatever destination you choose, make sure there is ample opportunity to spend quality time with your partner. Use the trip as an opportunity to have meaningful conversations, thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, and make memories of just the two of you that you will treasure for decades to come.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zones and embrace the spirit of adventure, whatever that means to you. Plan some brand-new-to-you experiences, like an adventurous kayaking trip or dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant – anything that would be more difficult or impossible with children in tow is a perfect activity for your getaway!
Dealing with Guilt and Worry
When you’re setting off on a child-free adventure with your partner, it’s natural to feel a twinge of worry or guilt. But just remember that time apart is normal and healthy for everyone involved, so you shouldn’t let guilt ruin your good time!
When these feelings start to arise, have an open and honest discussion with your partner. They are most likely dealing with the same emotions! By talking it out, you can reassure each other that you have left the kids in good hands and they are thriving.
Be sure to set a specific time each day to check in. A simple FaceTime call to chat with your kids can be enough to set them (and you!) at ease. They might be having so much fun without you that they barely notice you’re gone!
This trip is your chance to have fun and rekindle your romance. By leaving the kids at home, you can focus solely on each other and the experiences you are sharing. It’s a time to try new things together, have deep conversations, and laugh until it hurts! After building an amazing family together, it’s the least that you deserve!
Once all is said and done, let this trip be a reminder of the importance of not letting the daily grind get in the way of creating memories and growing together as a couple. When it’s time to go back home, you’ll be recharged and excited to hear about everything your kids did while you were away!