Do you vacation without your kids? Confession: we never have.

I have two kids. I have a husband. And most people seem to think that I have a problem.

While I’ve been away by myself, and Josh has been away by himself, we’ve never been away together – without our kids – for more than one night.

Is this a shocker?

Most people can’t believe it.

We’ve got enough points and miles to go anywhere in the world for free. I have good friends nearby. My kids aren’t really little kids anymore: this year, my daughter will be starting middle school.

So why don’t we do it? I just can’t. Maybe everyone is right and I’m being irrational.

Or maybe I’m not.

My kids are fine with the idea of spending a few days without us. They’ve had sleepovers by the dozen. My daughter has been to overnight camp for a week. I’m the one who can’t leave them. What if the Big One hits while we’re gone? What if something happens? I just can’t bear the thought of it.

Believe me, this has caused some “conversations” in my marriage. Josh has been ready to go on vacation, just the two of us, for years. It’s all me.

So I have to ask: do you vacation without your kids? How do you do it?

And is there anyone else out there who has never been away as a couple for more than a night?



  1. Yes. Every year my wife and I take a trip by ourselves for 2 weeks. Our daughter will be 4 this summer and we have taken a 2 week vacation every since she was 1 year old. It helps to have family who enjoy watching her. It helps your children get used to other people besides just mom and dad. Granted we only have 1 child and its easier for people to watch 1 than it is 2 or 3. My wife and I feel that it’s important to put your partner first sometimes…and what better way to use miles and points. By the end of our vacation we really miss our child and can’t wait to get back to see her, and we FaceTime with her every few days as well.

    Do it. Listen to your husband. You’ll be fine and so will your children.

  2. We got away from our 6 kids for the first time last year. My parents came down to watch them for a long weekend (we left on Thursday morning came back on Sunday morning). It was great, and I highly recommend it.

    Now, on the other hand, we MAY have broken my parents so…. 😀

  3. Leaving our kids at a little over a year is like a rite of paaaage in our family. When my oldest wS 15 months, the hubs and I left to Vegas for a week without him. When my second was 16 months we went to Europe for almost a month! That was really really hard. I thought for sure he would forget about me and that my parents would I still all diets of horrible habits and when we finally went home together they would be out of control! We are getting ready to head to Europe again for about a month in march-April and now baby #3 gets his turn?

    It is super hard, especially the first few days, but it gets better . But honestly, if we had the patience, I would rather travel with my kids. You only get them for a measly 18 years and then their are gone! Soon, they will have their own affairs and won’t even be able to take the time off to go with you! I say travel with them while you can! You can’t get this time back!

    Now excuse me while I go hug my babies and beg them to stay little forever!

  4. Rarely do we go anywhere without kids. Occasionally for a quick overnight to Vegas. But, we take them everywhere in whatever class we’re flying. They like the international trips and I can’t imagine doing it without them – but I sure would save a lot of points.

  5. My wife and I have one son – and he will be 7 in a month. So far, we have never both left him for even one night. I travel for work and my wife has done some short travel – but if both of us are going, he’s coming along.

    This is my wife’s deal more than mine. It wouldn’t bother me to leave him for a short period of time. However, it’s a lot of fun having him with us too!

  6. Your story sounds very familiar but my wife and I have managed to go on a couple of trips without the kids. The general ground rules are no more than 3-4 days and continental US only — to your point in case something happens and need to get back quick. Also, the in-laws can only handle so much of a 5 and 8 year old at one time. If recommend it but little steps. Being gone 2 full weeks would even be hard for me!!

  7. Points Pixie says:

    Sky – My husband loves your comment!

    Points with a Crew – Ha ha! I hope your parents recover!

    Toni – Your comment made me laugh because you said two different things 😉

    sw and Dave – You sound like me!

    Matt – It’s nice to know that other parents feel similarly. I might be able to work up to it with little steps…but at this point by the time I do, my kids will be out of the house!

  8. We’ve never been away for more than a night, and I can only remember when we did that once. I would be ok with leaving them but we don’t have many options for overnight. Hope you can pull away, perhaps for a staycation as a starter?

  9. You guys sound exactly like me and my husband. We also only get away for 1 night at a time. I would love to take a longer trip but just can’t bring myself to do it. Full disclosure: my kids are quite small, so that’s part of of the issue. 🙂 Honestly, as crazy as it is, it’s just more fun with them there. I do fantasize of adults-only trip to Japan and China. Perhaps someday.

  10. Toni Perkins says:

    I just reread my comment! Wow! No more typing comments off my smart phone!

  11. We do! My kids are young, 2 and 5, but we have taken weekends away since the older one was about 6 months. We did a 2 week trip to SE Asia when he was 2.5, before I got pregnant with my daughter. It is good for us as a couple (and we LOVE to travel with them, so it isn’t that we can’t travel with kids!). We are lucky we have 2 sets of grandparents who will watch them when possible!

  12. My husband and I went to Hawaii for our first kid-free vacation when my son was 18 mos old. Guess when this was? September 11, 2001. And we live about a mile from the Pentagon. Yes, that’s about as close to “the big one” as you are going to get. It was stressful and scary, but we all survived, and we knew he was in good hands with my parents even though we couldn’t get back for almost a week after our scheduled return. But I think it is absolutely CRUCIAL to have time alone to reconnect as a couple. My husband swears I am a different person when on these “couple” trips. We have had 2 more kids since then, and gone on at least one adults-only trip each year since. We love vacationing WITH them, too, but we also need some alone time. I refuse to live my life based on “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios.

  13. I have taken one “girls trip” since my kids (7&5) were born. I had a wonderful time, but I kept thinking how much I’d like to show my kids this or that and how much they’d enjoy it. There’s so much of the world that I want to show them, and time is already short! I can’t imagine not having them along on our vacations!

  14. My spouse and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage and we only took very limited trips without our children and only after they were past the age of 7.. The only reason they were not traveling with us was due to our travel being for activities not suited for children (funerals, conferences, work). We never really enjoyed being away from them. They have always deeply enriched our lives and our travels. Our family travels are my greatest memories and now that they no longer live at home, I count myself lucky for them.

    This may sound really extreme but my spouse and I would always fly on seperate planes, just in case (I know…horrible thought).

  15. I am not very breakable and I am certified in CPR. That’s all I am going to say.

  16. Once a yr, 5 nights max. (3-4 is plenty) It’s hard to remember who we were/are until we take off alone! Just do it, you’ll not regret it and you’ve got the sweetest ever offer from your best friend. How awesome is that?!

  17. Points Pixie says:

    Ginger – Thanks for the encouragement!

    Ileana – I’m sure you will make that fantasy trip happen 🙂

    Toni – ha ha!

    Andrea – 2 sets of willing grandparents certainly sounds great!

    Lynn – WOW, that is intense. Talk about a worst-case scenario! I love that you didn’t let it stop you at all!

    Up&Away – I take girls trips, too…I have just never been away with my husband. 😉

    Tammy – Family travels are among my greatest memories, too.

    Hottie – Argh! Now I’ll have to go!

    Jacki – Pretty awesome!!!

  18. Some of us just don’t NEED to escape from our kids for a prolonged period. Maybe we just don’t build up that kind of pressure in our lives for it? Maybe our marriage just isn’t the kind that requires regularly pretending you don’t have kids? They’ll be out of the house before we know it anyhow right?

    We travel some with our kids (6 and 1.5) on road trips, and some required flying, but that requires lots of planning around special kids concerns. We learned our lesson with #1 and we don’t plan complicated itineraries with nonrefundable reservations because kids get sick so often. Example we planned to do a roadtrip through SoCal over Xmas-NewYears but made no reservations just mocked up schedules and priced hotels along route. When we made it through XMas and nobody was fighting NoroVirus or the Martian DeathFlu, we packed up and left and improvised from one day to the next. Drive 2-3 hours, stop and do something, drive 2-3 more hours stay somewhere. Kids nap during the short drive intervals few complaints. Do touring, and while driving in afternoon get on the phone with Marriott elite line and book a place for that night. On about day 7 of our roadtrip, DD came down with a bug and we accelerated the last leg home.

    When we do fly with them, I try to pull the youngest out of daycare a few days before to make SURE she stays clear as she can of new infections. It’s a sacrifice, but beats the Thanksgiving we arrived and the moment I went to change DS in the guest bedroom he projectile vomits all over the wall, and later proceeds to infect everyone with his GI virus.

    Neither my spouse nor kids are going to get much benefit out of all the money spent to truck them along to Cozumel on my SCUBA trip, so I do that on my own.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Vicente – I love your description of the Martian DeathFlu. We always say we’ve got the Plague.

      Also completely agree about going with the flow on vacation. Sounds like you’ve got your systems down really well!

  19. Hi,
    Our children are 16, 12, and 8, we take them on every vacation and love to do it. Vacation is the time when we can focus on being a family without school, commitments and activities. It also broadens their experiences and minds! Plus, we have fun together. My middle son had the opportunity to miss our family vacation for a week of camp (that he loves) this past summer. We were going to fly down, drop him off and then vacation. He was so upset to miss a family vacation that we changed his week of camp and he flew down alone a different week. We are planning a weekend without the kids for our 20th Anniversary this June. It’ll be fun without them but I know the time is coming when we won’t have the opportunity to vacation as a family (oldest is two years from college) and it makes me want to enjoy every vacation until that time! What works for one family doesn’t work for all families and that’s okay!

  20. The first time my husband and I went away for a weekend by ourselves (just 45 minutes from home), I missed my two kids so much that on the 2nd day, I went home to get them and have them with us for the rest of the weekend. Since then, however, I’ve done so much business travel that they were often with a nanny during the week. The first time, though, was the worst!

  21. My wife and I leave for about a week in January every year. We have 2 kids , 7 and 10. We fly in an aunt or a grandma to stay with them and take care of them. We have noticed several things. My wife and I really enjoy being away from our kids! ( for a while at least). Our kids really enjoy having someone else look after them for a few days. It brings a slight change in routine and emphasis. It also allows for them to bond with a dear relative – something that would probably not happen without our leaving.Our kids also get exposed to someone else’s input into their lives – broadening their views and making them see some things through a different colored lense. I can imagine that some parents might cringe at that kind of “input” in to their kids lives but our caring relatives are decent, loving and have life experiences that our kids should be given the opportunity to hear about and learn from.
    Also, while we are away, our kids are just a call away. We talk with then numerous times and always at bedtime – just over the phone for a few days. Really, we havent found a negative to our traveling together – yet.

  22. I really don’t think it is an either/or situation. Just my two cents but age of the children, type of vacation and their individual temperaments play a huge part.

    Very little children see their parents as the sun and the moon and adore being with them no matter where. If there is an interesting art museum in some other state that you have always wanted to see, you simply make sure their bellies are full and then push their stroller around while you enjoy yourself.

    School age children could drive you insane bickering in the back seat of the car as you drive all the way across country to somewhere they don’t even particularly want to go. Staying with beloved grandparents instead could open up whole new vistas for them. And it would be a maturing process for them also. They would learn to handle missing their parents just a little bit. This age can go either way.

    Teenagers can be complete aliens to their parents. It is their time to learn to separate slowly and cope on their own. I certainly don’t mean they should never be taken on vacations, not at all. But they can certainly let you know they are bored beyond bearing and that their parents are barely smart enough to breathe in and out. When you have spent thousands on a vacation, this is particularly irritating. One plans carefully with them. Personally, we found our teens adored going away to camps in the summer with their peers and we sometimes took that opportunity to visit relatives in another state, a trip they would have hated.

    My point being is that things change over the course of 18 years of parenting.

  23. Points Pixie says:

    Michelle – Yes, to be all 1970’s, “different strokes for different folks!” I love that your son wanted to vacation with you guys instead of being at camp. How sweet! You must be doing something right 😉

    Carol – Wow!

    Chuck – Hmm…importing reinforcements is a great idea! Your approach sounds very levelheaded and well-thought out. An inspiration!

    Anne – You are the voice of wisdom as usual! Great comment and very well-said.

  24. We started going on a couple get away when our kids were small. Our anniversary is always the week of Thanksgiving…..I took so much critisim from friends about leaving my kids on a holiday. It was like “Christmas with the Kranks”. But, we did it…..year after year. Some times we didn’t have money for a very big trip. We still went. This November we will be going again….we will be celebrating 37 years this year. Your children will be grown one day & guess what??? The nest will not be empty….there is another bird there with you and if have not taken the time to keep your relationship strong over the years you will be living with a stranger. Go have a good time. Don’t worry…..well that was silly…you will worry. Go anyway.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Carol – Your bird metaphor was very evocative.

      Thank you so much for sharing this story – while your method was unconventional, you guys made it work. I call that a success story.

  25. We have three children and literally no family willing or able to watch our kids to even consider a childless vacation. Our children out with us 24/7! Any vacation we do must include our children due to lack of adequate childcare since family is simply not going to watch my kids. Wish it was an option but probably never will happen and we don’t have the funds to pay a nanny for a weekend getaway!

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