I happen to be an occasional reader of “Parents” magazine. I’ll be honest, it’s not my cup of tea, and I get bored easily by too many “baby” articles. But few months ago, one particular story caught my attention. Apparently, there has been a lot of controversy with Prince William and his wife taking a vacation by themselves and leaving their young son with grandparents.
Everyone had an opinion and “Parents” magazine even did a poll, where they asked people’s thoughts on whether it’s appropriate to go on trips without your kids. So, since I seem to have an opinion on everything, you may or may not wonder what I think on this whole controversy. What the heck, I’ll tell you anyway.
It is none of my concern how people choose to travel. Whatever helps you keep your sanity is OK by me. If you need a week alone with your spouse, go for it, and don’t worry about what others think about it. Who cares? In fact, I practice what I “preach” and just helped my cousin-in-law plan a trip to Hawaii for just her and her husband. I’m so jealous.
However, just like with this hobby, it’s not the case of “one size fits all.” I have said before that at this time, my husband and I only go on very short getaways, and always within driving distance. In fact, even our recent couple’s getaway suddenly became a “plus one.”
My in-laws booked a stay at Nickelodeon Suites in Orlando and planned to take both kids with them for 2 nights. Meanwhile, my husband and I redeemed my free night certificate from a promotion for a stay in Crowne Plaza in Tampa. The idea was to do something fun as a couple.
However, just a few weeks prior to that, we stayed without our kids for one night in one of IHG PointBreaks hotels. We left in the evening and came back in the early afternoon, so the time without kids was minimal. But it was enough to make our son extremely depressed. My in-laws mentioned that he cried non-stop and kept asking for us. Unlike my daughter, who is extremely adaptable, he is attached to his routine. And he is very much a mama’s boy.
So it was decided that we would take our son with us on our no-longer-couple’s getaway. I’ll be honest, I was bummed, since I was really looking forward to some peace and quiet. Being a SAHM is very challenging for me at times, and I need a break to keep the remnants of my sanity intact. But what can you do? We had to make the best of it.
And the most unexpected thing was: We ended up having tons of fun. My son is used to competing with my daughter for attention, but he didn’t have to this time. He was better behaved and had a smile on his face the entire time, basking in the glory of undivided attention from his parents. He loved swimming in the hotel’s pool and playing with a kid from Spain, who happened to be the same age as him.
We ended up getting a free upgrade on our already free night certificate that we got from a promotion a while back. Naturally, it was due to my Platinum IHG status that comes with their co-branded credit card. It’s funny, when I was checking in, the reception desk manager said to me: “You should stop traveling so much!” I was a bit puzzled, and he said :”Well, the Platinum status…” Ahh yes, about that!
The next morning we had a breakfast at IHOP, located right by the airport, so my son got to watch planes right from the restaurant. Afterwards, we took him to Parrish Railroad museum and went on a train ride. He is a train fanatic and literally can’t get enough of them. It’s an obsession, like me and this hobby.
If he ever gets a Chase Sapphire Preferred, he will only redeem points for Amtrak travel, I’m sure of it. When we got him a toy at the museum shop, he kept saying : “My beautiful train, my beautiful train!” That kid was in heaven.
So, even though the trip didn’t go as I planned it, it was still a success. That said, we are going on our anniversary trip this weekend.
Without kids. I think.
Readers, have you had something similar happen to you?
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Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.
We have traveled without our kids. Mostly long weekends for a wedding, wine country visit, etc. But we also went 12 days to Spain when our daughter was 3 1/2 because we knew we wanted to add another baby to our family soon and wouldn’t have the chance for such an epic trip for awhile. Don’t regret it at all and daughter had a blast with the grandparents (both sets, who took turns). It is important for us to have time as a couple too. But 90% of the time, we are bringing the kiddos along!
@Tripswithtykes We are very much like you, guys, and take kids along on trips majority of the time. It’s true, though, usually, kids are perfectly fine with grandparents. That trip to Spain sounds like fun! It’s one of few countries in Europe I haven’t been to. It is on the list, along with France. I hope to see Paris in a few years, followed by trip to Granada.
Travel without kids, sure. But not unless you also travel with them, preferably to places/cultures/landscapes they can’t see at home.
Kenny, I agree. My family is very similar to yours in this respect. I guess, my issue is with people who start passing judgment on those who do things differently. Every family is unique.
Since we just took a 3-night trip to NYC without our kids, I’m going to say yes! LOL However, on the flip side, I absolutely think kids should go along sometimes and not be left behind all the time. We know a family who goes on vacation 1-2 times a year without kids, and has only taken their kids along 1 time ever. And the oldest is in high school.
@Shoesinks I saw that post of yours, it looked like so much fun! I would love to go back to New York, it’s been a long time since my last visit. I never got a chance to tour the MET, which I’m still upset about.
I agree, it’s a bit odd to NEVER travel with your kids. I couldn’t do it, for sure. It’s hard with small children, but fun too. You get to experience the world through their eyes.
My husband is the one who most likes traveling without the kids. He needs the attention every once and a while, and it’s great to reconnect. I am blessed to have parents and a sister who will take care of them so I know they are getting spoiled while we are having fun. We mostly do quick weekend trips alone but have taken a few longer ones. My kids are 3 and 6.
@Holly Your mom sounds wonderful! It’s very nice to take a trip without kids now and again. I hope my son becomes less dependent on me, so we can do it more often. I’m worried about this weekend, but my sister-in-law is actually taking the kids on a getaway. Hopefully, they will be too busy to miss us.
@Jennifer It’s great to reconnect with your spouse! When you have kids, everything becomes about them all of a sudden. You are right, kids usually get spoiled by grandparents, so it’s a win-win.
We go on many trips without the kids and I don’t feel bad at all. My mom watches them whenever we go anywhere and they love being over there. I’ve probably been on ten or more trips without the kids since they were born (they are 3 and 5 now)- a few of those trips were a week long. My kids are insanely independent and confident and don’t get upset when we go anywhere.