Going on Vacation Without Your Kids

Updated on February 21, 2012
S.L. asks from Moab, UT
16 answers

So my husband and I love to travel and we don't do boring vacations. We have been to almost everywhere in the US that we want to see and have zero desire to just go and sit on a beach somewhere. We have chosen a place to visit and it is in South America. The location is completely safe (as safe as it anywhere else would be) but it is in South America.

When we will be going, our kids will be 1 and 3. They will be staying with their grandma who they stay with all the time. She is awesome and they will each have their own room to sleep and they will be absolutely well taken care of.

Right now I am struggling with two things:
1- leaving them for 8 days and 7 nights
2- the idea of my husband and I both going on a plane to another country (all the what ifs)

We haven't been on a real vacation (by our standards) in over 4 years and we have the money saved up. I just worry... ,that's what I do... I worry about everything and worry about things I can't control all the time.

Can anyone out there give me some words of encouragment or am I right to worry?

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answers from St. Louis on

You could go out to dinner tonight without them and get creamed by a semi, same result, has that ever stopped you from going out to dinner?

Can't go through life with what ifs that tend to never happen.

So far as leaving them for a week, my kids loved staying with different family members for a week. Yeah, they didn't go with just one. Kids love their parents but getting a different parenting style for a while is a lot of fun too.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Sorry to say, I'm a worrier too. I wouldn't go honestly, much less to another country but that's just me. I know I wouldn't enjoy myself.
I have friends that have gone to Vegas for a few days and they had a super time, I just know I couldn't do it yet. my kids are 10yo, 3yo and the baby almost 4 months.
sorry I couldn't be more help, for what's worth I think we as moms worry no matter what :o)

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Denver on

As far as the plane thing, overall, flying is so much less dangerous then most other things we do. I wouldn't worry about that part of things.

In a similar boat here. My husband and I are leaving my 2 year old for 10 days in a couple months. Super excited to go to Europe for the first time but I will be missing my little one like crazy. It will be our first time being away from her for more then overnight (once)
But, I think overall, it is good thing for her and us. I feel it's good for kids it understand that we may leave but will always come back and they can trust and depend on other safe adults. Also, as a couple, I think its great to vacation without your kids and focus on your relationship.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Go. Just go. Your kids will be fine. You'll be fine.

Go. Have fun.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I have many friends who go on cruises, vacations, etc...without the kids. Parents deserve to have some adult time to reconnect and have an adventure.

I would tell you to make sure that your wills are in order and that mom and dad have full legal guardianship if something does happen to you. If anyone contests it they will have to go to court but if no one does then they will have an easier time taking over and caring for your children.

But the truth is that many times people travel and do not have any problems.

I hope you decide to go, I think it is an awesome opportunity for the both of you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

many of our friends/family had a high comfort level with honeymoon vacations. I was (& still am) on the opposite side of the fence. For me, vacations are to be with the kids....& our solo time is when the kids are old enough to be cool with it. To me, this is not a sacrifice....it's simply my preference.

If you are comfortable & desire a honeymoon vacation, then do it! Get your legal papers in order & have fun. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

All parents need (kid-free) breaks! Just be prepared and organized (you sound like the type that will be!) When we went on a 5-6 day vacation without my son, I made my mom a "manual" for taking care of my son - a page for Dr. information, page for schedules, one for meal ideas, etc. etc. Make sure your ducks are in row for medical authorization should she need them treated anywhere, insurance information, a will and some document that should anything happen to you who care for the children, documentation that your parents have temporary guardianship during dates you are gone, etc.

Your kids will have each other for added comfort and it sounds like they are used to their grandmother so things will be fine! Make sure to send comfort items and that grandma knows their routines. Also, when we vacationed, I had my mom look at pictures of mommy and daddy with my son, which he liked!

ENJOY your vacation (or, at least try to!)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I am JEALOUS! Since my mother passed away, opportunities like this no longer exist. I cannot WAIT until my two are old enough for summer sleep-away camp so my husband and I can go somewhere by ourselves! I honestly think these people who would *never* leave their kids for any length of time never had any sort of life before their kids (and they're doing their children a HUGE disservice by keeping them wrapped up in mommy's coattails 100% of the time).

Make sure you have valid wills stating what should happen with the kids and all of your property if both of you died. Not to be morbid -it's just good sense!

Just think -being gone that amount of time will actually give you time to truly miss them! You'll be so happy to come home -and that's a nice feeling too, so much nicer than feeling like you didn't get enough time away and you're dreading going home. They'll be so happy to see you -it will be great!

And here's another thing to think of -get them used to you being gone on trips now and then NOW while they're so young. That way it's no biggie when you do this. They will probably even look forward to it! My mother was a worrier, but they traveled and left me with relatives and friends throughout my childhood (as well as taking me on many great trips) -and I LOVED seeing them go off and have fun. I also loved the break of getting to stay with someone else. It's good for your kids!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I couldn't do it. I haven't been away from my daughter that long, ever. She is now 9. I was away for 5 nights once for work, she was with her father. That was really long.

On the other hand, she has no grandparents alive, and no close relatives who live in our area. So we'd have no one to leave her with. I'm still not sure if I could do it if that were true. I wouldn't enjoy being gone.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

LOVE it.

THEY get to have an adventure (staying w/ grandma!)
YOU get to have an adventure

And when you get back... you can both trade stories.

First 3 days are (for me) hyper "Aiiie! Is he okay???" call call call... and by day 4 I've relaxed, and day 6 I don't want to go home (not really, but I've finally figured myself out again as an individual and not just mom).

It takes a couple days to get back into the groove of things when I've gotten back. TOTALLY normal.

One thing my fam does is the "extra" day.

Meaning when someone gets back, they go home, shower, eat, unpack, sleep... and pick the kids up the next day. That way tempers aren't frazzled, sleep dep has a chance to start working the kinks out... and everyone has a chance to start fresh. We usually meet up in the late afternoon and stay for dinner, and then head home. We've found it works out as a good transition. Time in the afternoon for storytelling and excitement, dinner, and then home for bedtime rituals. We've tried a few other ways... but for us... picking up the next day and the dinner transition we've found to be the smoothest.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Wow, these grandparents must be amazing! 8 days is a LOT of time with kids that young if you are not used to having them for that long. Are your kids still having trouble sleeping through the night?

While I know every parent needs their alone time, my husband and I have had to change our "alone time" vacations to long weekends somewhere where we could get back easily if something was wrong with our son. It is called being responsible parents.

Don't get me wrong, before we had our son, we went all over the globe: Peru, Australia, Croatia, Costa Rica, Argentina, India, to name a few. But now we are parents to a young boy who will be turning two in March. So we feel lucky that we got to travel like that while we were young and married without kids. And we know that eventually we will get to take those types of trips again, but with our kids once they are older. But for now the responsible thing to do is to stay close to home, and be there if our son needs us. I couldn't imagine being stuck in a foreign country and getting a call saying our son had to go to the hospital for whatever reason, and we couldn't get there as soon as possible.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You cannot live you life on the what-ifs. You have to do what is right for you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Okay, yay for you!! Your post sounds exactly like what goes on inside my head though, so I totally get you!!! We have done this the last two years, last year my kids were 1 and 3 also, in fact we just returned 2 weeks ago from this year's trip. It is really scary b/c being in a foreign country (we were on a cruise) takes that fear level up a little higher b/c it seems scarier and it's obviously much farther and more expensive if you need to come home, which you won't, but I know you're thinking it! Here's my advice on the logistics end of it.

First, either get some sort of will on paper, even if it's just a cheapy website one, or at the very least tell your family members your wishes for your children. I also got my kids their passports before we left just to be safe. We wanted to get theirs anyway, so we figured it would make sense to do it before we left.

Second, use the same law website to make a temporary medical power of attorney for your child. This is also pretty important. It usually costs about $15, I think we use Law Depot, and it just spells it all out in case your child were to need a trip to the ER, which they won't, but it will make you feel better! ;)

Third, I would recommend getting international calling put on your phone. We have sprint and they were so helpful about it. They prorated the fees for only the time we were going to be gone and it was really cheap and the actual price/minute wasn't terrible. I know a friend who took her laptop and used Skype while she was gone, so that may be an option for you as well.

Fourth, and this is the fun one, put together a basket of envelopes for your kids to open each day. This was especially good for my older child b/c at 3 they will love this! This year my 2 year old really loved it too. Anyway, I got little trinkets that could fit inside manilla envelopes and put one for each of them in there every day. I also included a couple of pictures of my husband and me or the family. I had made a little flip book out of a cheap plastic photo book and the kids added the pictures to it every day. Things I put in there were fancy Crayola crayons and colored pencils (the ones with a clear plastic case around them and they were a huge hit), DVDs, bouncy balls, little tiny stuffed dogs that barked "I ruff you!" ;), books, matchbox cars, etc. I bought most things for pretty cheap. This works as both bribery and as a way for my older child to count the days until we got home. As many envelopes were left is as many days until we were home.

I also bought a handful of random gift cards like McD's, Ben and Jerry's, Chuck E. Cheese and left them with our care givers so that they could go out and do special treats but not spend as much out of their pockets. I also bought each of them a bag full of groceries, things like extra mac and cheese, snacks my kids liked, basics, etc. so they wouldn't have to feel burdened. All of that stuff can easily be used by you if it doesn't get used, but I felt it was a nice gesture.

I'm a bit of a control freak, so this last part was a bit much, but my people did appreciate it! ;) I basically made a 4 page packet of stuff. My mom spends a lot of time with my kids so it's not as if she's unfamiliar on the routine or anything but having things written really helped her. I of course put down all our contact info while abroad. I also put on there our doctor's info, and the basic dosings of Tylenol and Ibuprofen if there were to be a surprise fever or injury. I also bought my mom a bottle of each to keep at her house. I included the numbers of my closest friends so they could ask for help, schedule a playdate or whatever, I put a list of possible activities or websites they could check for activities around town, etc.

My mom and MIL split up the time and they are real troopers for sure, but I did try and schedule some activities or at least write them down for them so that they didn't have to feel like they had to come up with all the entertainment! Of course they didn't have to stick to my schedule but they both mentioned they appreciated having some ideas.

For me, I find that the week or two before we leave is the most stressful. I constantly second guess my decision, etc. Even going to the airport I called my kids a few times! But, honestly, once I got OFF the plane and landed someplace warm and sunny, I let it go! Once you are actually in this awesome place alone with your husband you realize it's all okay! I did call every day, tried to do it at the same time, but honestly, most of the time our kids were too busy to talk to us. It was nice for them to hear our voice but they were okay. Have fun! you will have fun, trust me, just expect yourself not to relax until you're there, and that's okay, but do plan on becoming one with tropical calmesss! ;)

Sorry this was so long, but hopefully you got something helpful out of it! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Try not to worry about all the what if's. it will drive you crazy. You won't enjoy the vacation if all you're doing is worrying.



answers from New York on

I wouldn't worry about the south America part but I won't fly on the same plane with my husband if we were going to leave our kids home. Otherwise, if you're kids are really comfortable with grandma, go for it. They won't remember any of it but you and your husband will.



answers from Kansas City on

Unlike the rest of the mamas here, I don't approve of traveling without your children. Why did you have children if not to enjoy them. I have an almost 5 year old who has been traveling with me since she was 5 months old and just got her second passport. I was the child of an airline employee, and the greatest gift I got as a child was the gift of travel. I have been all over the world and I want to do the same with my daughter, albeit at a higher price since I don't travel for free, but I take about 5 trips a year. I would NEVER think of going without her. She is my family.

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