Traveling Without Your Kids: Absolutely! or Not a Chance You Selfish Wench!

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If you have children and you travel, then inevitably you will be faced with the decision about whether or not to bring your children on some trips.  Some trips like Disney, visiting family, family ski trips etc. are overtly child-centric and the decision is easy.  However, if you have a child, should all trips be child-centric or even child-inclusive?

This topic came back to the forefront of my mind as a result of a discussion in the comments section of this post.  In truth, the issue is often on my mind.  My husband is on the road every week for work, so adding any of my own work or leisure trips to the mix does make for an interesting family schedule.  My own personal opinion is that when you have children, they have to be the priority.  Period.  My background in child welfare and my 2.5 years as a mom have done nothing but reinforce that belief.  However, that doesn’t mean that your own hobbies, work requirements, and interests are forever ignored.  That may work for some people, but for the rest of us, it is about finding a balance of “individual time”, “couple time”, and “family time”.  That is true in all walks of life, including travel… least for me.

For reasons way beyond our control or desires, our daughter spent several nights away from us at three days old.  I spoke some about that on her second birthday.  I know it sounds sort of corny and ridiculous, but getting through that episode really set all three of us up to be both a strong unit, and tough as individuals.  The next several months with her were very rewarding, but insanely difficult.  Colic barely begins to describe it – she was in real pain, and we were all at our wits end.  Part of what kept us from losing our mind on those sleepless days and nights that were filled with sometimes constant crying from C was a trip we had planned when she turned five months old.  This trip was planned months before she was born so that we could go to a friend’s wedding in Puerto Rico for a long weekend.  It’s not that we wanted to get away from her, its that we wanted to support our friends.  We needed sleep.  We wanted time as a couple.  We needed time as a couple (and we needed sleep).  There were nights that all three of us were up at two in the morning crying together because we were so exhausted and could do nothing to make our daughter comfortable.  It was all worth it, but it was extremely difficult.

Bringing a five month old for a long weekend to a wedding at a resort in Puerto Rico is doable, but it wasn’t the right thing for us.  I think I slept more than anything on that trip, but we also got to hang out with our friends that we had barely seen in months, we got to spend time together, and we got to focus on celebrating our friend’s wedding instead of focusing on keeping Little C from crying.  At the same time, our daughter got three nights with her grandparents who were not worn down and exhausted like we were.  She had a fantastic time, and we got a minute to catch our breath and re-center.  It was a turning point in our first year as a family (though part of that was she started sleeping more around 6 months).  It really was a win for all parties. I can’t emphasize how important that trip was to focus on during some of the hard nights.  Even looking at the few photos we took on that trip we appear……off……and sunburned. 

Thankfully, over time our kiddo outgrew her stomach issues, and things leveled off a bit.  However, the issue of whether to bring the little one or fly solo isn’t one that will be outgrown for quite some time.  On the one hand, families like ours choose to bring a little one into the world.  Shouldn’t we want to spend every possible moment at home and on the road together?  Should we shelve all “adult” trips for 18 years until she is in college?  Does it make you a selfish wench if you do want some trips where the kiddo stays behind with Grandma?  I do have some friends who have children who are four or five years old, and they have never spent a night apart, so I know that some families choose that path.  We blew that record up when she was a few days old.

On the other hand, while I am a huge advocate of family travel, and am lucky enough to take an average of one trip every single month with my kiddo, I feel there are some trips where it is better for everyone if the little one stays behind.  And that is coming from someone who took her toddler to Vegas!  For example, we are planning a trip to London and Ireland early next year.  We want to see some sights, go to the Guinness Factory, hang out in some pubs, etc.  We could do some of that with a toddler, but it would be a very different trip.  I think that you can have a successful family trip to Europe with a young child, but that isn’t the trip we want this time…..and I think that’s okay.  Though I have no doubt some will disagree!

I’m a huge proponent of balance.  Eat some salads and some cheeseburgers.  Have a 401K, a 529, a savings account, etc and splurge on some awesome boots on sale you can’t live without – just purchase them through a portal to earn points.  Take memorable family vacations and fly away sometimes by yourself or with your spouse.  For me that balance means that sometimes both for work and for pleasure my travels will temporarily take me away from my family.  Those trips give me a chance to explore a different side of me or us as a couple.  I am a mom first, but I’m also just a girl who likes travel.

Though in truth, sometimes the best part of the trip is the hug you get when you come home.  Maybe that is part of the point.  🙂

Clearly this is an issue that everyone has to decide for themselves and their family – I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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  1. A few months ago we left both our kids, 3 and 8 with a babysitter while my wife and I went off for a week vacation to Brazil. I don’t think we will be doing that again at least not with a babysitter. Maybe we will leave them with my mother next time.

  2. This is an issue I think about all the time. I have a 3-year old daughter and an almost 2-year old son. The approach my wife and I take is similar to yours. We strive for balance. My goal used to be a yearly vacation with kids and one without, but then I started collecting miles and points in earnest. Now I think 2 or even 3 of each is possible without killing the family budget. I agree that both ‘couple time’ and guiding the kids to new experiences are both worthy goals for a family.

  3. Your family is grounded by you as individuals, you as a couple and you as parents. Sometimes you need time alone, sometimes you need time as a couple and sometimes you need away time as a family. No worries just plan it out and enjoy. Children benefit with time alone with each parent and time with grandparents. It helps them grow mentally and mature over time.

  4. @Maury, I can see how a babysitter would be tough for a week (I wish I could find one I liked to use for a few hours!). I hope you guys enjoyed Brazil though!
    @G, isn’t it awesome how miles and points really make so many more things possible – of course the down side is making this decision that many more times. 😉
    @DaninSTL, I agree. 😉

  5. You hit it on the head – balance. While most of our trips are taken as a family, sometimes it is just a Mommy and Daddy trip. Our trips trip to Europe were different with a toddler, but very enjoyable with a little extra planning. Either way, you are all making wonderful memories.

  6. Sometimes you need some alone time. For me, its just my wife and I taking care of our 4yr old as we live in another state than our family. There are no nights out unless one of us stays home. wheb when go visit, it feels great to sleep in past 6:30 and go see a movie. We love our daughter, we also need time as a couple. I think taking some alone timed is healthy got a marriage. Especially if one person works alot. In 4 days we are going to Maui for a week. Adults only. This is the first trip my wife and I have taken in 6 years since our honeymoon. I will say this… I will miss my little girl every second and probably call everyday. But this time is mommy and daddy time.

  7. >>>>Have a 401K, a 529, a savings account, etc and splurge on some awesome boots on sale you can’t live without

    May I suggest an IRA too (Roth IRA preferably but any type will do…Regular IRA or SEP IRA for your business as the big money rolls in from your new job;-)

  8. If you are fortunate enough to live near grandparents who are willing and able to care for your kids while you vacation, thank your lucky stars!

    For those of us who live far from family, it is a real challenge to find someone you trust, who is willing and able to care for your kids for any length of time. We have dear friends who did it for us a few times. To make things easier on the family caring for them, we always took our vacations during the school year so our kids were “occupied” most of the day. And we waited until the kids were in late elementary school to be gone more than a night or two.

  9. This is a big question for us with two kids aged 8 and 10. We have been travelling all their lives. My boy was Star Alliance Gold before his first birthday! However as with everything in life, it is a question of balance. We have had amazing trips together – going to Whistler ski-ing the past few years, last year we all went to Mauritius, Seychelles and Paris; this spring break we did Disney Florida largely on points. On the flip side before we moved to the states my wife and I had an amazing blow-out vacation in Dubai (using the UK-based BA Amex 2-4-1 in the pre-YQ days to fly there and back in BA F for 80k miles total with no fees!) while the kids spent a week with my parents, and we also went to Maldives via CX F/SQ J with the kids at my wife’s folks. They had a blast both times. We are going again to the Maldives later this year sans kids, but next spring break we will all be going to the same place together (yes we love the place that much). @AJM – we have the same problem my parents live about 3500 miles away and my wife’s live best part of 500 miles away in Montreal. So for example when we did the Maldives trip we all went up to Montreal and then did our trip from there. Kids loved spending a couple of weeks out of town with grand-parents.

    In general it is important to spend vacation time with your kids, but there is also absolutely nothing wrong with having some “us” time as well.

  10. @DL, totally agree that any trip can be enjoyable with kids with some planning, but I also agree that does make some trips different than they otherwise would have been with only adults present.
    @Tim2, your upcoming trip sounds very exciting! I also hear you with no family support around. We do have family very nearby, but they have been so busy recently that we have not been able to utilize them for a “date night” or similar in months. It’s hard. We also maximize grandparent time when we visit out of state grandparents or have them come in to visit.
    @MMS, I think it isn’t too much of an issue if you have grandparents who are willing and able. Though, it is a decision you have to make on every single trip. Grandparents are the best though!
    @gpapadop, thanks. 😉
    @MilesFromBlighty, I know, right?!
    @AJM, agree 100%. We moved when our daughter was 6 months old as we quickly realized we were in over our heads with a kiddo who was sick often and we both had 8-5 jobs. We needed more support so we bought a second house (and thus a second mortgage) and moved two streets away from my parents. I know not everyone can do that, but living near family when you have little ones is extremely advantageous. That said, we often fly my husband’s family in on points (yay Avios!) so they can help and/or visit. That is great you found some friends who can help some. We haven’t done that yet, but maybe when C is older we could trade off with another couple.
    @Phil, multiple Maldives trips?! I know who I am calling if/when we ever go!

  11. Definitely OK (and even necessary!) to leave the kiddo with grandparents sometimes. In 2010, the wife and I left our 1 year old with Grandma and Grandpa while we did a 10 day trip to Thailand, because we just felt like it was too much for her. I think it was harder on my wife than my daughter, but thanks to Skype we got to see her every day. We had a great trip and she has a much stronger relationship with her grandparents because of it – we live in different states, so seeing them in person doesn’t happen often.

    Now that she’s nearly 3 and has traveled quite a bit more, we’re gearing up to take her with us for a 2 week odyssey to Hong Kong and New Zealand starting in a couple weeks (our first major award-redemption vacation…thank you BA-bloggers for all the tips!)

  12. Pretty much dragged my kiddo around the world since he was one. Airline flights, tours and cruises too many to count. Never had a single problem. Later tossed him in the sea and he went on countless dive trips around the world and became a Master Diver, Life Guard and Aquatics Instructor.

  13. My wife and I went to Paris and London for our 10th anniversary a month ago. Never once did we consider taking our two kids with us. As you said, it would have been a totally different trip and they are too young to really appreciate what they would be looking at. They stayed with their grandparents and we Skyped with them almost every night and everything went very well.

    That being said, almost all of our trips include the kids, as they are our highest priority too.

    By the way, we traveled on points and it was fantastic. I also appreciate the use of “wench” in a non-Renaissance fair context!

  14. We’ve taken our daughter everywhere, including the Galapagos Islands when she was about 3 1/2. She’s now much older and in a few years, she’ll be doing sleep away camp and we’ll be venturing back into couple vacations then while she’s at camp. Maybe it’s because we only have one kid, but neither of us felt the need to leave our daughter at home while we took off for a trip. Our thinking was that she’s not little for very long, travel creates memories and is a great educational experience for kids, so let’s all enjoy this. We grab couple time after she goes to bed or enjoy dinners out now and then, but we recognize we won’t be a threesome forever. I blog about our family trips at

  15. Wow, to me, it is not about can you take your children, or will it be too much of a hassle, it is about absolutely needing time as a couple to focus on the two of you. We take several trips a year with our 3 kids (ages 12, 9, and 7), and always have. But at least once a year we go on a trip just the 2 of us. We live 4-5 hours from grandparents, so it is an amazing opportunity for the kids to spend quality time with them, since they otherwise don’t get to see them as often as we’d like. The kids love it, the grandparents love it. For us, the chance to focus only on each other and remind ourselves why we got married in the first place is invaluable. It is so easy to lose that day in and day out taking care of the kids. Yes, they are absolutely a priority, but so is my marriage. I don’t think leaving them in the care of people I trust 100% for one week out of an entire year means I am any less of a mother. And neither are you!

  16. I think it should be a balance, 70% Parents, 30% kids. Of course, it’s difficult to define a balance. For me, it would be Europe without the fancy food, museums, late night bars nor the clubs. Yes I know that that’s what Europe is made of. But the alternative (Disney) is out of the question for me. I mean, I can make it once but that’s it.

    Those limited adult trips would involve short walking tours (or stroller) and parks, fountains and monuments. Of course imagination plays a huge role, since sometimes single or unexpected things in life amuse a kid and you should be ready to show him/her thing that are new to him but old for you.

    My 2 year-old son loves to throws stones in water, to see sewage lids, statues, flags, to grab things from the floor, take pictures of tram, buses, to ride the metro, etc. At this age almost everything is a new experience.

    one of the inconveniences is that everything is time-consuming more expensive and you will not have a full view of the city, so they must be chosen wisely.

  17. Both of my boys suffered from acute reflux and colic, so sister- I feel your pain!

    My kids are 6 and 7 now, and this year was the first time my husband and I went on a “big” trip without the kids to Hawaii. Why didn’t we do this before?! I can tell you why.. we didn’t have family in town and it’s $$$! So let your parents help out, and earn those points! You’ll all be happier for it.

  18. I think it was my comment that drove this post, and upon re-reading my comment, it was a bit harsh, I apologize. I was just really irked that you were considering a family trip to the Olympics, but event tickets were too expensive. But then you were ready to book a less-than-24-hour trip to Zurich if it was ~$3000. That’s where I took exception. Having taken our kid to the Olympics in 2010, and having had an incredible time, it just pained me to see an experience like that traded for a J seat and some industry talks. But I guess that’s just the new business that you’re in, one that I don’t understand the economics of, and shouldn’t attempt to.
    And I’m not against couples-only trips, having just taken one myself (flying out Grandpa to come watch the kid). Those really are win-win, but next time we’re bringing Grandma and Grandpa to Hawaii with us. That’s better than just the two of us flying up front.

  19. My girls are 7 and 9 and they have travelled with us everywhere! The only time I don’t travel with them is when I travel on business. My wife and I think that they should be on every trip with us. Why? Because travelling teaches them so much and provides them with amazing experiences. I couldn’t fathom being somewhere and experiencing something amazing and my kids missing out on that. Perhaps its because my parents took me everywhere on every vacation of theirs and I have to thank them so much for that! I got to experience the world and I want my kids to experience the same. As my neighbor says, “there’s going to school and there’s getting an education. They are not the same” and to me travelling is education not only for me but for the kids! My wife and I will have time enough to travel on our own when they are older and don’t want to be seen with their parents.

  20. Agree that it all about balance. Aside from te family weekend trips, we typically do a (wo week trip as a family (3 kids – 3, 8, and 10) and a 4-5 day trips as a couple.

  21. When we travel with our kids (4 and 7) we often imagine what it would be like without them (going out at night, fancy restaurants, stuff like that). However, when we have traveled without them, we miss them the whole time and are lonely. So, we have decided that we travel together, have fun together and suffer together sometimes too. We have decided, for us at least, this is the best solution.

  22. @Tom, I think one of my daughter’s first big trips will also include NZ. Let me know how it goes for you guys – very exciting!
    @AlohaDaveKennedy, sink or swim, huh? 😉 Certainly lots of opinions and options – thanks for sharing yours! Your son sounds like he has had lots of interesting experiences.
    @Steve, ha ha. Who knew the word wench was so popular? 😉 Agree 100% that kids are the priority, but that doesn’t have to mean they come to everything. Hope you guys enjoyed your trip!
    @Katrina, thanks for sharing and I bet the Galapagos were a blast.
    @Lynn, so true that the decision is not just based on logistics, but on the things you point out as well.
    @jorgeluis, my daughter was entertained for hours yesterday walking up and down a trailer, so you are right that it is the small things that matter.
    @LauraS, “colic” (if that is even the word for it) can really only be understood by those who have lived through it. We should get secret handshakes or something. Hats off to you for doing it twice! Having to fly family in to help does make it harder – hope that you both enjoyed Hawaii this year!
    @Tim, that exchange is what spurred me to write this post as I think that most traveling families struggle with similar decisions, and it has been on my mind recently. It’s hard as a parent to always make the “right” decision (and like all parents, I would never pretend to always make the right decision). However, I would never trade a family trip to the Olympics for a J class seat on a MegaDo. That said, deciding what to do vs what not to do vs what to as a family does get hard sometimes. Budgets aren’t unlimited, time isn’t unlimited, and babysitters aren’t unlimited. I’m pretty happy with where the decision on those trips have landed, but I can see how if you thought it was family Olympics trip vs J MegaDo ticket it would be frustrating to watch. We bring grandparents along often as well, it can be a win-win-win scenario for some trips and can be a much better investment than just two folks sitting up front. Again, for me, it all comes back to balance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 😉
    @Patrick, I very much agree with your neighbor’s quote. Travel is an education that you can’t get any other way. I look forward to many trips with my daughter for the same reason.
    @Rick, sounds like you have a good plan!
    @Paul, isn’t that the truth! I miss her like crazy when she isn’t around as well and can’t wait to share experiences with her that she is missing.

  23. @MP: I think your piece is well done, and I agree with it. As a parent of 2 children (currently ages 6 and 8), and grandparents out of state, it hasn’t been easy to take trips without the kids, especially as one of them is particularly sensitive about us leaving.

    We’ve made it work over the years since the kids were little (my youngest was 2) by flying in Grandma for a week or so.

    I think balance is crucial, and couple trips should be balanced with family trips. Couple trips are vital for the emotional health and sanity of the couple! Ultimately the kids gain. Many of my friends think we’re mistaken for leaving our kids for a week with Grandma, but as much as I miss them, I think it keeps me sane, and it also gives them a special experience with Grandma that they wouldn’t have if Mommy and Daddy were around.

    It’s your articles and posts that help me feel less guilty when my wife and I travel without our kids, so kudos to a great blog!

  24. We just returned from a trip to England and Spain with our 4 and 2 year-old daughters in late May/early June. Our primary purpose was to be in England for the Diamond Jubilee festivities, Spain was a pleasant afterthought after I learned the DL stopover trick from one of the Boarding Area blogs. As a couple, our first trip to Europe was the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and we had promised each other to attend the Diamond if QE2 was still around.

    It was definitely a different trip as a family. We tried to mix kid-friendly and activities that suited our interest. We started out in the Cotswolds, which is classic English countryside with cute little villages, pubs with play areas, and kid-friendly attractions (i.e. Cotswold Farm Park). Our girls had a great time and we could have easily stayed a week exploring places, but had only a few days in that area. We then moved to the south coast of England visiting Peppa Pig World and fossil hunting on the beach at the Isle of Wight (our girls are into dinos). Two days were spent in Bath and then we moved to London, staying for a week on points at the Marriott County Hall right across the Thames from Parliament. While in London, we attended the zoo and several free museums. Many had kid-friendly programs that our girls enjoyed (one fun trick: get the “must see” highlights for a museum, point out the picture to your kid and tell them to find it in the room). We tried to see some of the Jubilee festivities, but were limited in the stamina of our girls (standing in a crowd for an hour to watch the queen pass by was not their idea of a good time). The hotel location was great because we were able to watch the Thames flotilla from our hotel window (the hotel staff was also very nice and accommodating to our family). We left London and flew to Malaga, Spain. It was mostly R&R by the pool. We did go to Gibraltar one day and the girls had a blast seeing the monkeys. They still talk about it and keep asking to go back.

    Things we did right: Bringing our own diapers in a collapsible bag and Tide Pods/Bounce for laundry. Picking the Marriott County Hall based upon Flyertalk reviews. We rented decent-sized vehicles and hotels so we had space. Even on the plane we had DL’s “Economy Comfort” – which made more of a difference than I expected. We tried to limit our sightseeing to maybe 1/2 or 1/3 of what we might normally do as a couple. We were constantly keeping an eye out for playgrounds to give our girls some playtime. And we had both an iPad and iPhone – great for keeping them occupied when all else fails.
    Things we did wrong: We only brought a good quality single seat umbrella stroller. The girls got tired of walking around and were constantly fighting over who got the seat. We had a carrier for our 2 year old, but of course, she did not want to ride on mommy’s back. In retrospect, maybe we should have brought the double-stroller or an extra umbrella. In London, we should have taken the time to learn the bus system. Most tube stations are not very stroller-friendly, although the girls did enjoy riding the train.

  25. As I sit in the Admirals club with my husband on our way to Paris for 8 days sans kids…..I say it’s a balance. We took the kiddos (15 and 11) to London over XMASbreak but now they are at sleepy way camp for the summer and it’s time for us to play! It’s easier as they’re older. Over XMAS break we all go to Puerto Rico together. We are just mixing it up.

    • What happens if there is a terrible accident with one of your children and they have to be hospitalized and you are out of the country?

      • C. rose, I’ll answer for myself and say that of course you hope and pray that doesn’t happen regardless of where you are, but you get back as quickly as possible. For Europe, you can typically be back same-day from major cities.

        • Thank you for answering. Let me explain more. I am the grandma age 75, my grandaughter is 20, all grown up of course after completing one year of college. My son age 49 just informed me that he and his wife are going to Paris for 10 days. My grand daughter has a boyfriend who she drives to visit about an hour away. Major free way driving then down dirt roads. Often times she drives home by herself at 1AM. Being a grandparent I worry about what would happen if she were in a car accident and ended up in the hospital. Yes, i pray that that doesnt happen but this freeway is crazy and often times has many car pileups. We live close by to my sons house but it is still a huge responsibility for me. This is the first time they are going out of the country and leaving my grandaughter alone in the house.
          I worry, what about a fire, what about
          Someone breaking in the house!
          Thank you for any advice!

          • C. Rose, you sound like a wonderful Grandma. There is risk of not being there right away when you travel. If the child was younger, making sure their insurance, permission for the grandparents (or whoever) to get medical treatment, and doctor information was available would be important. In this case, it sounds like you are just ‘on call’ to be a point of contact if something happens since you will be the closest. That is a responsibility to be sure, but odds are very high that everything will be fine. If something terrible does happen, the doctors are the ones who need to be there right away, and everyone else will be there just as soon as possible. I’m sure you will be right there if she needs you. At 20, she could easily be living halfway around the world, so take comfort in knowing she is so close. I hope everyone has a good and safe time while ‘mom and dad’ are away!

  26. .
    There are a couple of different considerations here. First, if going by yourselves, with whom do you leave your child? For some a baby-sitter, parent, relative is easy and convenient, and it is only a question of how long you can be gone. For others, there are few choices, especially for more than a long weekend.
    We took a 10-day cruise with a partial transit of the Panama Canal when our son was a year-and-a-half because my sister was back in school and could look after him for a week or two. Since she graduated, my wife’s parents are the only ones with whom we can reasonably leave him, and then only for 3-4 days at a time, like when we hit the Dominican Republic a year ago.
    Part of the math now that he is almost 4 is that even if we had someone with whom to leave him, he gets a bit antsy after about 7-10 days, which limits where we can go. Instead, we are taking him along on a 10-day cruise of the Baltic and bringing my niece along to look after him. She gets a free trip and we get a free babysitter. Everyone wins. Of course, it is miles and points that have made an otherwise $20K plus trip possible.
    Next year, he will come to England and Scotland for a week and change with us and a set of grandparents. We’ll just look around for things he can enjoy, even though it is really a trip for grandma.
    We just try to find places where there is something for him to do and a place that we will enjoy. If the trip is mainly for our benefit (e.g. the Baltic), we bring along help. If it is mainly for his benefit (e.g. Disney) we just tailor it to his whims and maybe try to take a night or two off for ourselves.

  27. Very timely post, I was just thinking along similar lines as I was booking those 2 Club World tickets! 🙂

    I wrote up a pre-trip report on Milepoint.

  28. We have been traveling internationally with our son since he was 10 weeks old, and he is now 4.5. Both my kids are dual citizens and their passports have been used often. I have been traveling internationally since I was 2, and have been to more than 60 countries in my life, and plan on doing the same for our kids. But that does not mean that my husband and I can’t enjoy time without them, or that they are difficult to travel with. There are some trips that are, in our opinion, not as appropriate as others. We spent 2 weeks in SE Asia when our son was 2 and he stayed with the grandparents, and it was absolutely the right decision for us. It was hot, it was an incredibly long flight(s) and he would not have enjoyed it. But he has loved his trips to England, Scotland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and more. It is all about deciding which is right for you. We are heading to Blackberry Farm in a few weeks without our kids, and, despite the name, it is an expensive weekend and one better enjoyed without kids. I am a huge proponent of traveling with kids, but enjoy being a couple sometimes and not just mommy and daddy.

  29. Great post!

    Some parents struggle with the thought of taking a vacation without the kids. Sometimes, you have to take a vacation without them. Sometimes, you have to take a vacation, even a “mini” one, without your spouse. Everyone needs alone time now and again. It may be a good idea to schedule three vacations a year: his, mine, and ours. You don’t have to spend a fortune on family vacation. Make an adventure out of it. Teach kids how to be frugal and that they can have a good time no matter what.

    Happy travels!

  30. Funny, I read this as we were ending our “family” vacation on Singer Island, Florida. Lots of bad luck this time with this hotel. They comped our two paid rooms on two different nights and our sending us a gift certificate to come back for two nights. Also they refused to put my two rooms on one folio so I am sure that will be a nightmare that I may need advice with. But getting back to the “family trip” we have three kids, 21, 20 and 16. It is important to me for us to vacation together but I seem to be the only one. Well 21 year old can’t be bothered, 20 year old would not pass it up and the 16 yr old who I always counted on was bored to tears , nothing to do here, not enough waves, BORING!!! It was not a fun week so I am thinking more short trips with the hubby for us. Enjoy the kids appreciating it while they are young and note you may get disappointed later, I guess it is part of my growing up too, they want to do their own thing! I of course remember when I was 21 I would never have passed up a free trip! LOL

  31. I LOVE taking trips as a couple…. It is much needed relaxation & my husband & I can actually talk and enjoy time together.. We’ve been married for 12 years & I think that you really need to “invest” time in each other to keep your marriage strong. I guess I view is as time to “reconnect”. I also think it’s great for the kids to see that we enjoy spending time together & doing things w/o them as much as we enjoy spending time together as a family. My kids always have fun w/ their grandparents when we are away & greet us at the airport w/ fancy clothes & flowers (it’s so precious)… I think those “couple” trips also prepare us for the CRAZY family trips that include our three kids 9,6 & 4. I enjoy our family trips & couple trips, but they are each totally different! You know what I mean… Family trips aren’t exactly relaxing (with young kids anyway). I’m hoping to expose the kids (and myself) to the world by travelling even more when they get a bit older. I love to travel & refuse to wait until I’m an old lady to do it 🙂

  32. I’m late to the posting party, so post #32 kinda/sorta gets to my point about one factor in the decision to travel with the kids. And first let me say that I am totally respectful of those parents who say they can’t enjoy travel without their kids.
    My sister and I had the same parents and therefor pretty much the same travel opportunities. I came to look forward to those vacations; my sister came to hate those vacations. Once, my parents wanted to go to a Worlds Fair. They told me I could not go with them as I had a paper route to attend to; and it would be a good character building experience for me to forgo what I would like to do for that which I needed to be responsible for doing. I said, hey, dad works all year and gets a vacation; but I don’t?
    In order to get my sis to go along with them, they agreed to take her best friend, a pretty teenage wench with ample development. Sis and her friend managed to give my parents the slip. Late that night the police happened to pick the girls up in the company of some young adult males.
    Years later, my sister’s daughter had a “miracle” baby. She remained in an unhappy marriage for about 10 years, “for the kid’s sake.”. Finally, she divorced; and was lucky enough to find a soulmate. So she still has her little “princess”, but wait,there’s more!; new hubby comes with 3 little one’s! “You’re not my mommy!” (my sister announced 5 years ago that she is too old to travel; and if anyone wants to see her they will have to come to her home.)
    My point is that feeling you shouldn’t travel without the kids makes about as much sense as staying in a bad marriage “for the kid’s sake”. While it may be true that kids grow up too fast; in the end, each kid grows up to be their own person, and sometimes regardless of what you do or do not do.
    To thine own self be true … 😉

  33. my wife and i are religious readers of your blog. We can completely relate to your posting. We have twin daughters and we have taken them everywhere with us, Camping and National Parks, Disneyland, US Cities, Europe, Asia etc. We cannot imagine traveling without them and they enrich our travel experiences further and also remind us to slow down since their little bodies dont have the same stamina as us as adults. All in all we would not change a thing. Hats off to you for such a wonderful blog.

  34. We have three children ages 12, 10 and 3 and have been married for 15 years. Tomorrow we leave for our first trip away from all three kids in 12 YEARS! I have been planning this weekend trip for ages and now my husband is having second thoughts about leaving the little one! I know it’s a momentary laps in judgment but I think if we work on our couple time we will return better parents because we will be rested and refocused. Right now it’s routine routine routine! We have travelled together every year and the kids LOVE IT. We just went on a cruise thru the Caribbean in January. So i don’t know what the guilt trip is. We’ll see…

  35. I think it’s actually selfish to bring your children along on your travels unless they’re older. Young children simply do not understand nor appreciate travel. They are equally happy everywhere as long as their needs are met.

    Also consider how young children ruin the experience for everyone else, unless your children are one of those 10% whose parents have made an effort to raise them to not be little tyrants, which is the norm today.

    So please, please, leave your children at home so the rest of us don’t have to suffer.

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