Have you ever returned from a family vacation feeling like you still need a vacation? If so, you aren’t alone. The sheer volume of after-trip chores is enough to wear out the most energetic person. Then, there is the stress of making sure everyone has a good time, breaking up sibling fights and building those all-important vacation memories.
About 26 percent of people say vacating with family is exhausting and not relaxing. Moms, in particular, feel like they need a vacation after a family vacation, with 93 percent stating they needed extra time off to recover.
More and more parents understand the need to spend a little couple time alone together. Traveling together has some long-term benefits for parents. About 71 percent of couples feel reconnecting is one of the most important reasons to take a vacation together. Talking and spending quality time as a couple isn’t easy with distractions. Plan your vacation without kids today with these tips:
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1. Ditch the Guilt
Guilt is a natural reaction when leaving your children and going off on an adventure. However, take stock of your typical days and all the things you do for your children to ease some of the guilt. In a typical day, most parents go to work, cook at least one meal, run their children to activities, attend school functions and spend quality time with their kids.
If you add up the hours spent doing things for someone else versus doing things for yourself, you spend very little time doing selfish things. Taking a vacation by yourself isn’t selfish at all — kid-less vacations allow recharging and defragging, so you can continue to be an involved parent. Everyone needs a break here and there.
2. Plan for Contingencies
Even if your children stay with a trusted family member, emergencies sometimes occur. Plan for a contingency where your child grows ill and you have to rush home, or the caregiver has a crisis of their own and needs you back.
Have a plan in place to get home within a few hours. Take a trip closer to home instead of going halfway around the globe, especially if your children are still small. If you’re flying, talk to the airline about buying an open-ended ticket, so you can immediately return if needed.
3. Take Turns with Planning
Don’t try to remember everything for the trip on your own. Enlist the help of those traveling with you and take turns planning. Put different people in charge of things such as snacks, road games and booking a hotel.
Have one person create a checklist of suitcase items and another person plan activities for each day. Perfect vacation planning requires attention to detail and weeks of preparation before the trip.
4. Go on a Shorter Trip
If you’re worried about leaving the children, make the vacation a bit shorter than usual. No written rule states you must take a one-week vacation. You may have a hard time getting away from work for days on end anyway. Only 47 percent of workers with paid vacation days use all of their days each year.
Sick kids home from school, a field trip with the class, or doctors’ appointments eat up vacation days for many parents. You may only have two or three days of vacation to spare, so a shorter trip gives you and your spouse time away together without eating into personal time off you need for other occasions.
5. Prep the Caregiver
Leaving specific instructions for your children’s caregiver gives you peace of mind. Put worries aside and enjoy the peace and quiet of your vacation, because you know everything at home is in order.
Provide schedule details, emergency contact information and a complete itinerary of where you’ll be when. Give caregivers a list of medications, doctors’ phone numbers and contact info for another family member who can be there in mere minutes.
6. Resist Working
In a survey of 2,200 people, 66 percent of employees reported working while on vacation. If the goal of getting away is de-stressing, then bringing work along on your vacation creates an opposite effect.
Be present in the moment and allow yourself downtime. Is that email urgent enough to stop the world from spinning if you don’t answer for a couple of days? Take advantage of the vacation quiet of being just you without the responsibilities of parenting, work or any of your other personal tasks.
7. Share the Fun
Just because your kids don’t go on the adventure with you doesn’t mean you can’t share the fun. Bring home stories and photos and share them with the entire family. If you loved the trip, plan a future trip with the whole family. Planning a vacation to a place you already visited is more relaxed than planning a vacation to a place you’ve never been.
Vacation without Kids
Family vacations offer shared memories that last for years to come, but a relaxed parent is a better parent. If you need a little time away, don’t feel guilty. Take the time you need, refresh your spirit and return to your family with new stories and a new perspective. A vacation without the kids gives you a chance for getting away from responsibilities and focusing on your own needs – something many parents fail to do.