I travel for work. Sometimes to very faraway places and for periods of time that may exceed a week. Although it’s necessary I can’t say it isn’t delightful. A hotel room all to myself, long flights with nothing to do but read or watch a movie. As a busy Mom these trips are more than just productive on a work level. They allow me to disconnect from my family for a short time and feel like…just me.
Despite that, I also adore to travel with my family, taking my two kids to places that will create family memories that we will have to reflect on forever. My children have passports, love airports and hotels (like Mom) and can’t wait until our next adventure. I consider that one good thing I’ve done as a parent, instilled a love of travel and a sense of anticipation for the unknown in them.
And to be totally honest, I really love to travel with my husband, just him and I, to anywhere we can sneak away. However, it has taken me almost ten years (the age of my oldest child) to perfect the art of traveling alone with my husband and enjoy it (without a smidgen of guilt). Here is how:
Let Go of Control
If you’re like me, you’re going to leave a list, a schedule, a detailed map of the area and six emergency contacts – all laminated and highlighted. Now let’s assume you haven’t left your kids with Jack the Ripper but with someone competent and trustworthy. So now it’s time to Let It Go. Because here’s the thing…something is going to go wrong. Someone will show up to the wrong field for practice. Someone will forget the right cleats for the game. Someone will get lost on the way to piano lessons. Someone will forget to bring their religion book to class. Someone will let your kid go to school in Crocs on gym day. And…the world keeps turning and you don’t need to know about. So Let It Go.
Do Not Call Home
Recently we celebrated our anniversary at an amazing resort in Antigua called Hermitage Bay. We immediately fell into a luxurious routine of sleeping, lounging, drinking and eating and well, you get the drift. So after three totally relaxed days we made (ok, me. It was me.) the giant mistake of calling home. Of course something was wrong, my daughter got teary, she had behaved badly, it was not a fun call. Worse, it took me hours to resume previous vacation mojo. Whatever it is, someone is dealing with it and it isn’t you. Have another drink and do not pick up the phone.
Stick to Adults Only Resorts
Do you really want to see kids in the pool when you have no kids? Do you want to sit next to children in a restaurant and even feel the residual stress that goes with feeding children? How about kids in the hallways or above your room? Nope. If you’re like me it takes all your patience to deal with the children you love…nobody likes dealing with someone else’s kids when they’re trying to forget about the stress of having kids! Try a small, boutique resort like Villa Buena Onda in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. With only 8 rooms and no children permitted, there can’t be anything to do except read a book and listen to the sounds of nature. Remember books? Yeah, me neither.
Save the moderately priced hotels and vacations to take with your kids. You know why? Because your kids are impressed by things like playgrounds and towel animals, not 900 thread count sheets and champagne upon arrival. Although you can take children to a place like Lake Placid Lodge, a Relais & Chateaux property, I can’t imagine enjoying that stunning fireplace in my cabin when I am too afraid one of my children will fall in it. We love to go to secluded, luxurious places just the two of us – it makes a difference to us. For the kids, we love places like Meadowmere Resort in Maine – it’s affordable and centrally located in Ogunquit. Tons to do both for adults and kids.
Put Down Your Phone
When I met my husband it was before people were obsessed with their phones. We used to take long car rides without glancing at our phones (back then our phones were, well, phones). Resist the urge to capture each moment on Instagram and put the phone away and remember why you like each other. Okay maybe just post that one “don’t you wish you were me right now” photo and then put the phone away. Phones are nice distractions to everyday, boring life but vacations are that distraction so it is only getting in the way of connecting with your partner.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
If you’re going to feel no guilt about leaving your kids, do not replace that guilt with guilt about over- indulging. It’s a vacation! Eat the cheese and the butter (and the bread, definitely eat the bread) and drink the cocktails with the sugary ingredients. And forget working out. Just don’t bother. Relax. Take a hike. Take a swim. Paddle board. Have sex -it burns calories and is way more fun than running.
Plan Your Next Getaway
When you’re relaxed and happy is the best time to plan a vacation because you see the value in it. You get why you need it. It allows you to see what you saw before kids and schedules and weekends jam- packed with sports and activities took over your entire life and beat you down. It reminds you what life used to be like and what it will be like again someday. On our last vacation we narrowed our choices down to either Panama or Peru. I can hardly wait.