Your social media feeds are full of family vacation photos, some of which make you jealous. Especially the ones taken by your kid-free friends. Breathtaking views, gorgeous plates of food you didn’t have to cook, and smiling faces. You know that even a kid-free vacation isn’t all roses and sunshine, but you want to take one.
While you’re scrolling, you see some photos from your friends who vacationed without children. Whoa — stop scrolling. Drool over the romantic evenings they spent with their spouses. Stare at the exotic pictures of them scuba diving.
The thoughts of sleeping in, like past 7:30 a.m., and staying out all night dancing invade your mind as you block out the cries of “Mommy,” coming from the other room. A vacation without the kids? Can we really leave them at home? How can we do this?
Military families are at a slight (OK, huge) disadvantage when it comes to taking kid-free vacations. When grandma and grandpa aren’t in the same town, or even within driving distance, things get inherently harder. But that doesn’t make it impossible.
Fly Someone In
If you are lucky enough to have someone willing to help keep your children, get them on a plane now! For real, though, no rule says you have to live within an hour to watch the kids. There’s no reason you can’t combine a summer visit with grandparents and a parents-only trip. Make the most of a willing friend or relative, and get out there and travel!
Helpful hint: Offer to pay for their ticket. They are, in fact, doing you a favor, and, even if they turn you down, you should offer to pay.
Bring Them Somewhere Else
Can you make your vacation plans take you right by grandma’s house? Or, does Aunt Betty live in a cruise-port town? Perfect! Pile up those kids in the minivan and drop them off on the way. This is great for someone who needs your minivan to transport all of your kids. Leave your car; leave your kids. We know, a road trip with kids is not always fun, but on the other side of that first road trip is a kid-free vacation. You can ride that vacation high for years afterward.
Helpful hint: Frame this as a vacation for your kids too, so they don’t spend the whole time whining that, “It’s not fair!”
It may be a worst-case scenario, but it’s worth it. Find that sitter you trust with your children, pay them a lot of money to take your kids for the weekend, week, whatever, and go! Yes, you will have to factor this into your budget, but it’s still worth it. Finding a sitter is hard, especially when you are moving around, but you know you have this option.
Helpful hint: Ask a friend first. Maybe they are willing to trade, and then you can both vacation and save money.
Listen up: Do not put this off any longer. If it has been more than two years since you’ve taken a kid-free vacation with your spouse, it’s time to start planning — right…now.
Photo Credits: Unsplash