We love travelling with kids, though it can get stressful with car seats, entertaining the kids and various other small but important things. Read about our recent family vacation to Europe, it was so much fun. However, once in a while, it is important to travel without kids.
A few years ago, my husband and I went for a 20-day long trip to Spain and Morocco, sans kiddo. And we didn’t feel guilty about it. Our daughter was 3.5 years then and we realised that she was too small to actually enjoy these two places. On the other hand, it would have seriously cramped our style – walking long hours with a baby stroller and driving for more than 12 hours at a stretch with her in the car seat. In short, we wanted a vacation all by ourselves. We even thought of changing the venue to Singapore where she could accompany us and enjoy too. But we needed a romantic getaway together, one which we hadn’t got in 3 years. So that was that! We convinced ourselves to travel without kid and sans guilt. Here’s a checklist for taking holidays without kids.
Zero in on a caregiver – This is the first thing you do for travel without kids, even before booking your ticket or checking in on Hotels.com. You need to decide a trustworthy, responsible and mature person you know and your child knows who will take care of your child day and night in your absence.
- Are they available during those dates?
- Will they be willing to do it?
- Will they be up to (are they medically sound and physically strong) taking care of your kid(s)?
- Will your child be comfortable staying with them for a long duration?
In our case, it was my husband’s parents who readily agreed to look after our daughter for 20 days. And our daughter is super comfortable with them, so it was a win-win situation for all of us.
Announce the trip to your child – Announcing the trip actually depends on how old your child is. A month before we were leaving, we told our daughter that we were going on a holiday for a few days without her. At 3 years of age, our daughter didn’t understand much the concept of time. For her tomorrow or next week was the same. But we would tell her every day that we would be gone for a few days, so that she knew it well.
Prepare your child in advance – We told her we were going to Spain, the place was of little consequence to her, but being separated from her parents was a bigger concern. So, we started preparing her well in advance. For 10 days, she would be at an aunt’s place and then for the next 10 days, she would be traveling to her grandparents’ home in another city.
At the end of 20 days, I promised her that I would come to pick her up and take her to my parents’ home.
The plan was so well etched in her memory that she refused to leave her grandmother and go to my mother’s house, because the plan was to visit the maternal grandparents only once her mother came back.
Show her the good times – You need to tell your child what’s in store for her while you are away. You need to show her the good times. We told our daughter that she would be visiting her aunt and this announcement was met with a squeal of delight.
Her grandparents promised to take her for horse riding, boating, play zones, parks, and this was definitely a better proposition than being with parents in an unknown place.
We asked her what she wanted us to get for her and the only thing she said was – Peppa. She was a big fan of the babe in red in those days and we were more than happy to oblige.
Brief the caregivers – This is an important part of the checklist for traveling without kids. Your caregiver needs to know the child’s schedule, medications, vaccines if any, etc.
This is what we told our caregivers:
- Gave them all her vitamins (and SOS medicines for diarrhea, cough, vomiting, etc.) along with the time and strength of dosage.
- Instructed she shouldn’t be left in the care of a male servant.
- She shouldn’t be left unsupervised.
- Left our detailed travel itinerary, with flights and times, and the contact no of the hotels we were put up in on different dates so that we could be located.
- Asked them to send us pictures of my daughter on a regular basis and also tell us how she was faring in our absence.
- In case the school is still on, brief them about the school drop and pick up timing, inform the school about who to contact in case of emergency and pediatrician’s phone number and case file.
Keep your goodbyes short and sweet – Drawn out and dramatic goodbyes don’t augur well for the kids and for you. Keep them short and sweet – it makes it better to recover from it. Try to leave when your child is engaged in a craft activity, playing with her friend or watching his favourite toon.
We sent off our daughter before we left. This way she didn’t see us leaving, and she was also excited because she was going out of the house on a holiday to her aunt’s house.
I kissed her a few times, but she was all happy and gave me a smiling farewell.
Keep in touch with technology – What’s App video calling had not yet started back then, so we used either Facetime or Vonage or other video calling apps to call my daughter. But tell you what, she was least interested in talking to us.
After coming back, when I asked her, “Why didn’t you talk to us?”
She replied, “But you weren’t here with me. I don’t like to talk when you are not around.” I guess that’s a child’s instinct to survival without parents.
Anyway, she was very happy to meet us when we came back and assured us she had a great time with her grandparents. And also, she was over the moon to receive her Peppa.
So, it was a much-needed us-time for us (we were right in not taking her along with us), while she had an awesome holiday too. Writing this post reminds me that it’s been a long time since we have taken holidays without kids, time we planned one! Have you travelled without kids? How was your experience and what are your tips and ideas to travel without kids?
Very soon I will be doing a travelogue on Spain and Morocco, stay tuned!