As parents we all have that first trip we take without our children. It seems like there is an unwritten parenting rule out there that states that when your youngest child turns two, it is time to go on your first trip alone as a couple. For my husband and I, it took us much longer than that and we only traveled about ninety minutes from home.
When I found myself asking when we would go on our first “alone” trip, I figured out quickly that it would only happen when the time was right for us. When we were ready to travel without our children, we found these tips made the trip successful for everyone involved.
1. Maintain Routine
Routine is key for children, especially when the key people that keep their daily lives going in a forward momentum are not around. We find our kids and their grandparents or sitter always feel better if we leave a daily schedule that includes such things as bedtimes, general times they wake up in the morning, favorite snacks and meals, any special routines for bedtime, and favorite activities. This way expectations are clearly set and there are minimal surprises to make for a stress-free trip.
The travel benefit is that this also means less chances for a crisis call made to my husband or I. Additionally, making this planner always reminds me that not everyone knows how to fill two hours of time with kids. While it may be natural to us as parents, it is not to everyone else. With this daily planning in place, this becomes a non-issue.
2. Make Sure your Children are Protected
I will be very honest with you; part of the reason we waited so long to travel without our children is because of our fear of what would happen if someone was hurt while we were apart. It is a fear my husband and I have both struggled with since we lost our second son. While we can’t make all of our fears go away, we did make sure our children were protected and loved in case something happened to us by working with our family attorney, Morgan Law Group, here in Orange County.
Did you know your children could be placed with Child Protective Services if you don’t have the proper paperwork in place? And that any assets you have, including liquid cash, could be tied up in the courts for up to eighteen months? By working with our family attorney, we formed a Kids Protection Plan that clearly articulates what should happen for our children and who they should go both for the short and long term. By making these plans, we are able to go on trips alone with a bit more internal peace.
3. Do Something Special
From date nights to staycations, our trips away without our children always go smoother if we plan something special to kick off the vacation – for both the children and ourselves. It gets everyone in the right mood and distracts the kids from remembering we are gone. Pick something your kids love like going out to eat to their favorite restaurant or going to the movies and let them start vacation in a fun way. Remember to plan something special for you and your husband as well to celebrate your time away. A special meal, a spa treatment, or a travel adventure are all great ways to enjoy the rejuvenating benefits that traveling alone offer.
4. Take Photos
Taking great photos is a must on any vacation, but it’s even more magical for our children when we return from vacation with a photo tour of our time away. It brings one of the most important benefits of family travel to light – learning about new places in the world. Even though our children are not with us, they still learn a great deal about where we go through sharing our photos.
When you travel without your children, where do you like to go?