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For and Against Travelling without the Kids

August 22, 2014

Many of us have firm views about travelling without children before we have them. A lot of us assume that this is something we’d never do. We think that holidays are for families and we should all enjoy time together. Then, we have children, realise how hard it is, and suddenly find ourselves drastically rethinking that list of things we said we’d never do when we had children. Leaving them with their grandparents (or another relative) while we travel is often one of them.

But still, it can be tough. Many parents leave their children for the odd night or two, to catch up on some rest or do something special with their partner. Some even go for weeks or fortnights away, knowing their kids are safe and looked after back home. But, others still struggle with the idea. They worry that they’ll miss their children, they feel guilty for even considering leaving them behind, and don’t think it’s something that they could do.

The truth is, there’s no right answer. There’s nothing wrong with taking a holiday and having an adult only break occasionally. But, if it’s not for you, that’s fine too. If you are considering taking a break without the kids, but can’t quite make up your mind, here’s a look at some of the arguments for and against.

For – You’ll Get a Break

Parenting is tough. It never really gets easier either, it just changes. Babies and toddlers need your constant attention and focus. Younger children need to be watched all of the time, so they don’t take risks and get into trouble. Older children start answering back and often have very firm ideas of what they want to do. Then, teenagers just don’t want to be with you at all. It’s not really until your children are grown and have their own children that you can start enjoying some relaxing time with them.

This means that parents are tired. All of the time. We’re tired and stressed out. That’s not to say we don’t adore our children, but they exhaust us. Taking them on holiday is often even harder. It’s certainly not a chance to relax. Leave them at home for a few days or a week, and you’ll get the chance for a proper break. Just imagine reading a book on the beach without constant interruptions.

For – You’ll Get Quality Time with Your Partner

It also gives you a chance to reconnect with our partners. Back home, they get in from work (or you do, or both) to a battlefield. Within a few hours, there’s dinner time, bath, maybe a little playtime, stories or homework help and then bedtime. Then, we get a couple of hours to be adults before we go to bed, but most of us are too tired to enjoy it.

A few days without the kids gives you a chance to spend some quality time together. To talk, to do things together and to simply enjoy each other’s company. It can be great for your relationship.

For – You’ll get to Enjoy Your Destination

Kids enjoy days on the beach or around the pool. They might complain or get tired easily if you try to do much more. Go away without them, and you get to enjoy more of your destination, instead of feeling like you’ve spent a small fortune to go swimming every day. You’ll explore the historical sites, learn some language, speak with the locals and hit the cultural hotspots. You’ll learn more about your destination and enjoy it much more.

For – You Can Visit More Interesting Places (without Boring the Kids)

When travelling with kids, many of us stick to package holidays in tourist hotspots. It’s just easier to know that everything that you could need will be available, and there will be people to help if you need it. But, it’s not really seeing the world or getting an authentic view of life abroad. Go away without the kids, and you’ll get the chance to visit more interesting locations.

You could stay at or enjoy a fabulous city break. Doing this alone can mean you’re more likely to enjoy the kid-friendly family holidays without feeling like you are missing out.

For – They’ll Get a Break

It’s not just a chance for you to get a break. Your kids are also getting a break from you. If you’re stressed out and tired, chances are tempers sometimes flare. Getting away for a while gives them a rest. Rules will be different with grandma. They’ll be new places to explore and visit and new things to do. Food will even be different. For young kids, this is a holiday in itself.

For – They’ll Get Spoiled

We try not to spoil our kids. We feed them healthy foods, we restrict TV time, and we encourage things that are good for them. Grandparents don’t have the same rules. Your kids will get spoiled and treated for a little while. This doesn’t mean that the rules fly out of the window, just that they deserve a break too.

For – Sleep!

Sleep is probably the one thing that most parents would say they need more of. Travel without the kids, and you could get a full eight hours every night, and perhaps even the odd lie in. Check out if sleep is something that you are struggling with.

For – You’ll Miss Them

You will miss them. There’s no avoiding this. But, that’s not always a bad thing. If things have been hard, missing them for a while reminds you of just how wonderful they are and of how much you love and need them. You’ll return home longing to see them, filled with love and happiness.

Against – You’ll Miss Them

At the same time, missing them isn’t a nice feeling. Missing them a little can be great, but some people find that they miss their children so much it takes away the enjoyment of their trip. They’re constantly phoning home or video calling to speak with them. This can also mean that they get upset seeing you, and don’t get to enjoy their break.

Against – You’ll Wish They Were There

You might find that everywhere you go, you think “oh the kids would love this” or “we’ll have to bring the kids here one day” you might struggle to take any enjoyment from your break without them.

Against – You’ll Lose their Childish Excitement

One of the best things about travelling with kids is their excitement. They love every second of it and view the world with such childish wonder and amazement. The feeling can be contagious. Without them, it’s lost.

Against – A Lack of Holiday Time

Many of us have a set amount of holiday time in a year. It’s usually about five weeks. If you’ve got plans or appointments that you need time off for, as well as birthdays and other events, you might find that you can only take one proper holiday a year. If you use this to go somewhere without the kids, you might have to miss out on your family holiday that year. There are also the costs to consider. Can you afford two holidays a year? If not, you’ll probably want to keep the family break and ditch the alone time.

Against – You Might Feel Guilty

As parents, we feel guilty every day. We feel guilty when we leave for work when we send them to bed early because we’re tired, when we snap at them because we’re stressed, and every single time we do something for ourselves. The guilt of leaving them behind is too much for some of us to contemplate.

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