Usually, my focus is on how to travel with my son, however, earlier this year E and I went away on our own for three nights for the first time.
I was very apprehensive about the whole thing worried about how I would feel leaving him with my parents and mother in law and worried about how he would do without us at home.
R is a creature of habit preferring the same routine, the same breakfast everyday and knowing what’s going to happen next.
My parents and my mother in law (who are all wonderful grandparents) also seemed to be a bit nervous about the whole thing so my goal was to make everything easy for us, simple for them and not too outside of R’s comfort zone.
We ended up having a fantastic time and R had a wonderful mini vacay with his grandparents. Here are some of the strategies we used to make prepping for a trip without the kiddo relaxing, enjoyable and stress free.
How to Travel without Kids
Tell your child about the trip well in advance
R likes to know what’s going on. He’s not a huge fan of surprises and likes to know the master plan. Since we know his personality, we told him about our trip well in advance and started getting him excited to spend time with his grandparents.
This worked so well, that every time we tried to Face Time with R he would hang up on us. Apparently he was just having so much fun with his grandparents that he didn’t notice we were gone. This was a bit deflating for me but both E and I were happy that R was enjoying himself and not missing us.
Email/speak to key people – teachers, school staff etc
Before we left we sent emails to R’s teachers and advised his after school caregiver that we would be away for a few days. Not only is this of practical importance, so that the teachers would have the correct contact information, but in case R had a hard time that week we wanted the teachers to understand what might be the cause.
This was also helpful for my parents since R’s teachers etc gave them an extra hand.
Go shopping for anything you might need early on
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, R is a very picky eater. He likes having certain sandwiches for lunch and won’t eat unless there’s stuff in his lunch that he likes.
To ensure the lunches were packed to his picky 4 year old specifications, I went so far as to take a picture of his lunch and sent it to my parents so they’d know what to give him.
Pack extra clothing and let your kids pack some of their own toys, books and stuffies
R really enjoys packing his own bag for any trips we take, so we gave him the same opportunity here. He has a ton of toys at my parents’ house but we wanted to give him the chance to take what he wanted to bring as well. As a result, he packed a small bag full of his toys, stuffies and books to take over.
My family lives very close to us so even if we’d forgotten something it would have been easy enough for my parents to go back to our house and pick it up, but we thought it would be best to avoid that if possible.
Create a schedule
R does a bunch of sports and other activities on the weekend. We know he enjoys them, it keeps him in his routine and those classes are expensive!
I created a detailed daily schedule for him and emailed it to his grandparents. It might sound very controlling, but they found it helpful since they knew what time to take him to school, what time to pick him up and when he should go to bed.
We also set up all of the equipment for his activities before we left and gave it to my parents so they would just need to put the equipment in the car and get R to the program on time. This saved time for them and resulted in less stress since everything was already where it needed to be.
When we left I was totally nervous about leaving R behind. Now that we’ve done it once I’m ready to start planning our next couple’s vacation!
If you have children, do you often travel without kids? What are your tips?
For more helpful travel tips check out these posts: