It is cold outside. There are no big US holidays in the foreseeable future. It is that time of year when you begin to long for some time away so you being to plan your vacation(s) for the rest of the year. Where do you want to go? Who will join you on the trip? A finalized itinerary represents the answers to dozens of questions that need to be answered.
As a family with two working parents, one of the big questions we face any time we begin planning our next trip is whether or not to bring the kids along. Since both my husband and I are away from the kids at least forty hours a week, our initial inclination is always to bring them and spend as much time with them as we possibly can. After bringing little ones on trips everywhere from México to Germany, we now recognize that while it is awesome to show our kids the world, it is nice to take a vacation sans kids as well.
Not only does leaving your kids at home simplify logistics tremendously, but it also gives you and your partner dedicated time to relax, reconnect and remember why you pledged yourselves to one another years ago. In our busy lives, it may seem decadent, but it is important to take time as a couple.
As you begin to pencil in the dates for your 2013 vacation and start having discussions about whether or not to bring the kids along on your vacation, take some time to consider these questions before making the final decision about whether to bring the kids or leave them at home.
1. Where are you going and how long will you be gone? Is it a destination that will cause jet-lag? Kids often struggle with jet-lag more so than adults. Is engaging in adult beverages an important part of the trip? You probably don’t want to bring your kids on a wine tasting tour in Napa Valley.
2. What events will you be attending? Weddings are great for kids unless you want to be able to stay up past their bedtime celebrating the occasion.
3. What is your budget? For each person you bring on the trip, your budget will need to increase to include the costs of additional plane tickets, admittance tickets, etc.
4. Who can watch your kids? Do you have trustworthy family members or a babysitter you feel comfortable leaving your kids with? Do you know someone who would be willing to come with you and watch the kids when you want to stay out late or have a moment alone? This costs a lot more but allows you to both bring your kids and enjoy some time away.
5. What is your relationship like with your partner at the moment? Could you use the time away focusing on one another?
6. When is your trip? Will your kids in school? What will they miss if they are gone?
7. How will you deal with being away from your kids for the duration of the trip? It is often difficult for parents to leave their child(ren) for the first time. If it’s going to be your first time away from your child and you are planning a trip longer than a week, I recommend trying a weekend away without your kids first to get used to being away before you take off for your longer vacation.
8. What do you want to get out of your trip? Do you really want to take in the culture or learn the language? Perhaps your goal is to indulge in long meals in the local custom? If any of these are the case, achieving these vacation goals may be more difficult with kids than without.
There are no set rules about when to take your kids on vacation or leave them at home. We’ve taken a baby to Oktoberfest and a toddler on a tour we didn’t realize was a booze cruise. Both experiences were great even though they would have been different without our kids.
Your upcoming trip might be an amazing adventure your kids wouldn’t want to miss or it could also be the much needed alone time your relationship with your partner has been craving. Asking yourself a few simple questions will help you determine if bringing your kidsalong on your next vacation is right for you.