My husband and I took our first kid-free vacation when our daughter turned 1. We really needed a break after that first exhausting year of parenthood. We chose a weekend getaway in Victoria B.C. and we left our little girl in the safe care of her grandparents. After that taste of freedom, the seed of kid-free travel was planted. This short escapade reminded my husband and me that before all of us — there was just “us.”
Finding the time, money and a trustworthy caregiver can be tough. Likewise, taking a trip without your children can arouse feelings of guilt. But there are many reasons why a kid-free trip actually benefits everyone involved.
Breaking the routine
Kids thrive on predictability (especially in the early years), but as a parent, it can make you feel like you’re stuck in a “Groundhog Day” movie. Strict routines leave little room for spontaneity and relaxation, so getaways are a great chance to take a break from the old routine.
Abiding by your own timetable
The possibilities are thrilling when it’s just the two of you: Could we have dinner at 9 p.m.? Could we sleep in late? Could we sit in a beach chair for hours reading a book that isn’t about parenting or green eggs and ham? Yes, we can.
Rediscovering ’me’ time
I find these vacations help reignite my interests in the world and encourage me to try new things. I can explore a museum, get lost in a new city, go to a show, eat at a restaurant without a kids menu or just sit on the beach.
Reconnecting with your partner/spouse
Most parent couples can relate to how the kids’ needs often leapfrog the needs of the couple. A getaway is a chance for the relationship to take top priority, and for both of you to revel in the magic that brought you together in the first place.
The saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is something I’ve found applies in the parent-child relationship, too. Appreciation is built when both groups get a little perspective.
Bonding with grandparents or other caregivers
The grandparents may or may not follow all the instructions I leave for them, but they get to spend meaningful time with the kids and do fun activities together that can build lasting memories.
Where to go
If you’re looking to try a kid-less trip for the first time, maybe start with a long weekend at a nearby destination. We love the international and accessible Victoria or Vancouver, both in Canada; the romantic and relaxing Salish Lodge; a jaunt to the Oregon Coast or the San Juan Islands; or a weekend escape to the hip, foodie haven of Portland. We’ve also hopped down to Los Angeles for a longer trip to visit friends, soak up the sun and clock mileage on their freeways.
How to prepare for the trip
It’s vital to give your appointed caregiver(s) all the information they need to care for your child. One important element that helps me feel prepared is a contingency binder with spreadsheets, notarized documents and kid schedules. Here is a list of everything you need to make that getaway possible.
More ideas for kid-free getaways