As much as my husband and I absolutely believe in traveling with kids – and encourage others to do the same – we are also believers that every once-in-a-while it’s good to leave the kids with grandma and travel without them.
Recently for Ryan’s 40th birthday, we were able to get away to New York City for a week of fun, fun, fun and we hope to make getaways like this one more frequent in the years to come. (Though probably not as extravagant! This was a very special one-off trip for us.)
Here are ten reasons every couple should travel without kids… sometimes:
1. Travel without kids enables couple bonding.
I suppose this one is a no-brainer. Sometimes, with all the pressures of kids and family, couples just need to steal away and have some time to focus on each other. A week or weekend getaway can do wonders for intimacy in marriage. And you know, you get to do… adult stuff a little more freely (or frequently?!).
2. Travel without kids gives you the freedom to be a bit more spontaneous.
It was so nice to have our days unstructured to the point where sometime we had a plan… and other times we didn’t. We could change our minds last minute according to our moods and whims or see an opportunity we hadn’t considered and seize it. Being more spontaneous is good for the soul in my opinion – so refreshing!
3. Travel without kids means you can eat on the run or at weird hours.
When there are no tiny bellies to consider, you are free to skip breakfast and instead splurge on a nice brunch, or grab a quick snack in the early evening and instead go out for a late-night dinner on the town. The flexibility to eat when you feel like it is amazing. Not to mention the ability to go to less kid-friendly restaurants or choose food that’s a little more diverse.
4. Travel without kids allows for relaxing plane rides and less luggage to wrangle.
I forgot what it was like to read whole chapters on a plane! Or make it though entire movies! Or sleep!! Flying without kids is far more relaxing for obvious reasons – you’re focused on you and only you, and you’re free to share your husband’s shoulder without a little one vying for shared space. And less luggage! Oh, less luggage!
5. Travel without kids affords you the ability to indulge in activities your kids may find boring.
Our kids are still preschool age and under, so they won’t last long in art museums or stopping to read/hear historical commentaries. On this trip we indulged in a wine tasting class – something we could never have done with the kids in tow. Fantastic. We also listened to the entire audio tour at the Statue of Liberty — a beautiful presentation that we never would have been able to finish with small children at our side.
6. Travel without kids means you get to experience local nightlife.
New York City is a city that is fun no matter what time of the day or night you visit. We loved getting to stay out late and experience some of the nightlife! We had a midnight visit to one of our favorite stores, saw two evening Broadway musicals, admired the city by night from the Empire State Building, and stayed out late eating and drinking with friends. Heavenly!
7. Travel without kids means you can recharge the parenting batteries.
Kids are the greatest gift on earth. They are also the most exhausting gift on earth. Being away from your kids for a short stint can be a glorious way to not only be refreshed, but be renewed in your passion for parenting them well. It gives you a chance—removed from the immediate pressures—to talk through parenting issues if you need to, and to talk about your kids because you miss them and you’re interested in them, not because you’re consumed by them.
8. Travel without kids helps to remind you of other aspects of your identity apart from the all-consuming roles of mom/dad.
It’s easy to be buried under the tyranny of the urgent as parents. There is always something (someone) that needs our immediate attention and we can inadvertently neglect other aspects of our personhood. Being away from your kids for a short period of time can help you rediscover your passions and renew your sense of self as someone who is a lot more than “just” a parent.
9. Travel without kids means you can sleep.
Oh friends, this one is not to be underrated! True, we were jetlagged from our red-eye flight, but we spent a glorious first and second morning of our trip sleeping in without alarm clocks – the natural, mini-human sized ones or the technological ones. Traveling without kids means you get to be in charge of your own sleep – sleep in? No problem. Stay out late? No problem. Being on your own sleep schedule for a brief period of time is like a tall glass of water on a hot summer’s day – absolutely necessary and gloriously refreshing.
10. Travel without kids means you can sightsee like crazy. Or not.
When you leave the kids behind, you get to be in charge of your days. Want to pack it full and see as much as you possibly can? Want to lounge in the park and read your kindle for hours? Whatever you and your partner fancy, you can make it happen. (Even if that means braving the rain and making an adventure out of less-than-ideal circumstances.)
Friends, have you had the opportunity to travel without kids? What is your favorite thing about a kid-free getaway?