Ditch the family, take your own vacation!

-Yes, honey, the casseroles are in the freezer, the dog walker comes Tuesday, and Little Gretta has playdates with the neighbor Monday and Wednesday. See you in a week!-

Admittedly, I’ve not lived the typical married with spouse and 2.5 kids with pets kind of life, so solo travel isn’t usually an issue for me. But anytime I’d ask around to see what friends wanted to join my on a road-trip, I was met with these excuses and reasons that just made me roll my eyes.

“I would never vacation without my family”

“But spending time with my kids is important to me”

“Gasp! Are you kidding, I can’t do that!”

I mean, COME ON! You seriously cannot take just three days? Your family will crumble into blathering bits of flesh if you aren’t there to manage every waking minute? You really enjoy family vacations? Usually I’d just laugh it off or pretend to commiserate with them and move toward safer topics. But today, I’m tackling it head on.

But is it really that absurd?


1.NORTH AMERICAN: an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.

2.the action of leaving something one previously occupied.

Vacations are a time for renewal. To get away from the routine of daily life. To explore new things and recreate and travel. Sure, you can do this with your family. But let’s face it, planning a family vacation is a lot of work and as the planning parent (usually YOU, right?), do you ever actually enjoy the vacation? Worrying about what reservations were confirmed, what time you fed the little one and how long you have until meltdown #4, answering emails from the dog-sitter about little Fido’s purple poop, stressing that you didn’t plan enough to keep tweens 1 & 2 sufficiently occupied and happy…and of course there’s mommy and daddy time to sort out. Tell me, how that is a vacation?

But How?

Just as you wouldn’t take all of your kids into your doctor’s appointment, just as you don’t drag them into your yoga class, why not leave them behind for your vacation? I’m not talking about a three week jaunt to Mexico, but if that’s what works for you then by all means do it.

I’m just recommending that you take 3-4 days where you get away and do your thing. Take your own vacation from those things that occupy you. It doesn’t have to be far, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Go alone or go with a few girlfriends – but go! Here’s a few ideas:

  • A roadtrip to the beach off season
  • A staycation at the downtown resort spa hotel that has room service
  • A discounted flight to see that high school chum’s kid in the play
  • A weekend at Uncle Marty’s cabin up at the lake

And here are a few tips to make it a really great vacation:

  • Don’t overplan, heck – don’t even really plan
  • Take books you have no intention of reading
  • Let your family know you’ll only reply to texts and voicemails if you have to make a decision about life support
  • Bake a few casseroles ahead of time, or leave cash for pizza
  • Unplug from whatever ways your usual life would pull you away from your vacation

But Why?

  • The kids get a break from you (that’s like giving them their own personal vacation!)
  • You actually get to enjoy your hard earned time off
  • The significant other may just step up and appreciate all that you actually do
  • You get to reconnect: with friends, yourself, nature, that favorite author
  • Why not?

So the next time that fabulous single friend is looking for a travel buddy, or you see a listing for a yoga retreat, or discover a cooking class three towns over – remind yourself that taking care of you doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you a better one!


5 thoughts on “Ditch the family, take your own vacation!

  1. I have always made a distinction between traveling and vacation. Traveling is with a plan, reservations and an itinerary of stuff to see. I bring the kids and sometimes even mom. Vacation is renewal. I go somewhere where there is nothing to do so I don’t feel guilty about doing nothing. If I didn’t take time to renew I would be an unhappy person.


    1. You make great points! I travel as a way of life, and find myself having to justify (even jokingly) taking a vacation to some of my friends and family. But everyone needs to recharge – even wanderers! Thanks for commenting.


  2. I’ll admit, I used to think there was something wrong with parents vacationing without their kids. Then I had three children, three very high maintenance children and I suddenly understood. But it is very difficult to get away without small children if you don’t have family nearby because who would be willing to take your little kids overnight? (And even if you could find such a sitter, it would probably cost more than the vacation itself).
    That being said, once this baby is sleeping through the night, I will be begging my mother to take the kids for a weekend so that my husband and I can have an uninterrupted conversation or maybe just sit in blissful silence.


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