This time of year, many families are embarking on getaways. These can take many forms. My personal favorite is to leave the kids with Grandma and head off somewhere – anywhere – without them. But this is not always feasible for a variety of reasons, and traveling with kids can be, let’s face it, hell.
Sure, there are some children who are brilliant travelers. They behave perfectly in airports, sleep for the duration of the plane ride, or amuse themselves watching traffic on the highway as you sit in gridlock. Upon arrival, they resume their perfect sleep routine, willingly eat the food offered to them regardless of what color it is, happily embrace all activities no matter how unfamiliar, and don’t freak out when their teddy bear is left on the plane and they can’t wear a dress for ski school.
If you are the parent of such a child, then read no further. Book your trip and accept our wishes for a bon voyage (whether or not we privately wish you a bout of Montezuma’s Revenge or frostbite is of no concern to you.)
If like me, you are one of the other 99.9% and are not in a position to jet off to glamorous locales, tots in tow, for an extended stay, I suggest the following:
Take a mini-break
You would be amazed how rejuvenating one night away from your kids can be for you and your spouse. Seriously, 16 hours can feel like a true vacation. My husband and I have embarked on these as a special birthday or anniversary gifts over the years – and they are always restful, easy, and relatively economical. Here’s how to execute a mini-break successfully:
Hire a responsible sitter
A weekend babysitter who you trust implicitly to stay the night. This babysitter should be someone over the age of 18 and under the age of 80 who works well with your kids and can easily become accustomed to their routine. The fee is negotiable; I’d suggest whatever you normally pay for a night out, then add $100 to sleep over. Better yet, enlist the help of a family member who would do it for free, or trade and take their kids overnight at some point in the future.
Research hotels or b&bs in your area
The key is in your area. Sure, the South of France is lovely, but if you can’t get there in 1 hour or less, it doesn’t work. You want to be near home in the unlikely event of an emergency – if you are fretting the entire time about being far away, that defeats the whole purpose. But if you know you could be back home instantly if one of your kids gets sick, then you won’t worry as much. Also, you have limited time, so don’t spend hours in transit. When I’ve planned these getaways, I’ve chosen hotels within five miles of home – that’s optimal, but any place that is a short jaunt works fine.
Since it’s one night splurge a bit
Maybe you choose a more luxury hotel or dine out in a special occasion restaurant or maybe you bring an extravagant bottle of wine or a gourmet picnic to enjoy in the room. Whatever it is, make it special.
Take your time getting home
Sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and head back into the fray with an awareness of how you and your spouse got together in the first place – and the knowledge that your entire conversation does not need to feature diapers, naps, and preschool curricula.
This entire escape can start at 6 pm (you can even bathe and feed your kids before you leave) and end at 10 am – a majority of which your kids should be asleep. You’ll be home in time for their morning snack. And you’ll be rested, rejuvenated, and best of all, reconnected with your partner!
Try it, you’ll like it!
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Keri White has been blogging about etiquette, parenting, food, and lots of other things since 2006. She has served as the Etiquette Correspondent for WTXF-TV in Philadelphia and has written advice and parenting columns for several media brands. Prior to her career in writing and parenting, she was an award-winning seventh-grade teacher, which provided her with significant experience correcting other people’s children. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.