I actually credit my kids with giving me my love of travel. Growing up and into my early 20s, I could never understand why people would work all year to save for a holiday that was over in an instant.
Then when I was in my late 20s, we took the kids overseas for a month – skiing in Colorado, then California and Vegas. Something about seeing the world through their eyes changed my mind, and now I’ll happily save year-round and go away for as long as possible. With and without them.
Because while they are both well-travelled for their age and enjoy an overseas jaunt, they are also now at an age (11 and 14, though we started travelling without them when they were younger) where they don’t always want to come along. And for us, there are destinations we’d like to visit that include activities they won’t enjoy.
So, here’s what we’ve found about travelling sans children.
#1: They don’t mind as much as you might think
When we floated the idea of going to New York for two weeks without them, we expected them to kick up a fuss. Much to our surprise, they weren’t particularly interested – especially when we mentioned we’d be doing 12-hour stints on our feet, traversing the huge number of boroughs across the city. As soon as we offered an alternative – staying at home with their grandparents – they signed up for that with glee.
#2: We get to be selfish adults
A no-brainer really – travelling without your kids not only lets you rediscover one another, but also the decompressed versions of yourselves you may have forgotten existed. Having kids is an amazing ride, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility – you don’t fully appreciate how much your day-to-day decision-making revolves around their happiness, needs and ongoing development. When you travel alone, the choice to stop for a sandwich, for example, is a simple, uncomplicated one. And if my hubby and I have different goals for the day, we are happy to go our own ways and meet up again later, which you can’t do with children.
#3: You do a lot more
Certainly, the biggest advantage is that you don’t need to work around sleep cycles or their food schedules (no-one does ‘hangry’ like a child who’s been on their feet for two hours straight.) You can also shop ‘til you drop. Literally.
Then there are the lines. Standing in a queue is mind-numbing enough, but once you add a rapidly escalating whine to the mix, it can become unbearable and you may well move on. The lower cost also lets you do more – only having to pay for food, accommodation, transport, and other bits and bobs for two people instead of four effectively doubled our budget.
How to do it
So, if you want to holiday without your own bundles of joy, the key is to set up a fun arrangement for them at home. We like to go away during school holidays – the kids are busy with their friends and homework, so the time goes quicker for them. Make sure you check in via skype as often as practical. And, obviously, bring home great gifts!Plan your own getaway