Group vacations can be fun—mom, dad, junior, baby, aunts, uncles, cousins and even Fido, too. If you’re a parent, you know there’s a certain joy and a certain torment when it comes to hitting the open road with your little nuggets. Getting the chance to experience new things together is wonderful, but the journey can be arduous. You know what’s not particularly arduous? Traveling solo. Here’s five reasons to stop feeling guilty about leaving the littles at home and and taking a trip all on your own.
1. Go Somewhere You’ve Only Ever Dreamed Of
There’s always a place, one that you’ve dreamed of since you can remember that has captured a piece of your heart. The trip could be to a sunny little village in Tuscany or it could be among the glittering lights in Vegas. The destination doesn’t matter all that much. (It’s your dream, roll with it.) What matters is that you get to experience it right—and that may not include the kids.
In truth, there’s plenty of places you can go with the kids whether it’s a local children’s museum or a camping trip or a week away in your favorite city or on the beach. Don’t feel like you can’t take your dream vacation because it’s got to be a trip that includes the kids.
2. Do Things Your Way
What does your typical group vacation consist of? Theme parks? Restaurants that serve chicken fingers and mac and cheese? Swimming pools and cannon balls? These can all be fun, and there’s no doubt that you will make many memories with the ones you love the most, but sometimes you just need to do travel your way.
Find that fancy restaurant with the $20 tapas or book that rock climbing adventure you’ve been dying to do but had to put off because it would be impossible with toddlers tagging along. Solo travel is the perfect opportunity to do everything your way, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not selfish to want some time to yourself as a parent—it’s a bazillion percent necessary. (At least if sanity is something you value.)
3. Don’t Do Anything At All
Being a parent usually means that you don’t get much say in when you wake up, when you go to bed, or if you have to spend an hour every day watching Bubble Guppies so you don’t have to worry about the toddler crawling up the stairs while you cook dinner. None of this changes when you go on vacation. When you travel solo, however, you can do things your way or simply do nothing at all. Sit with your toes in the sand and sip on a margarita for as long as you want without looking up every ten seconds to make sure your kids are still only in the surf up to their knees. Spend hours walking in and out of artisan shops without concerning yourself with finding a place that sells Goldfish and bouncy balls.
Sometimes getting lost within yourself is the best part of traveling solo.
4. Indulge Because You Can
Remember when I mentioned that margarita? Sounds divine, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not always realistic to indulge the way you want or deserve when you’re traveling with the kids. Whether you like to treat yourself to a second glass of merlot, a fifth piece of chocolate or a massage, no one can argue that it’s easier to do sans the kiddos.
5. The Kids Will Grow Up And So Will You
It’s certainly true that your little ones will never be this age again, but the same goes for you. You may not enjoy hiking in the Puerto Rican rainforest or kayaking in Seattle when you’re 60 the same way you would at 30. Just because your babies aren’t old enough to enjoy the experiences that matter to you most doesn’t mean that you need to miss out. Solo travel is your opportunity to see the world, and becoming a parent didn’t change your dreams—if anything, they just got bigger.