Taking A Solo Vacation Benefits You and Your Kids
Below is a guest post by Life and Career Coach Julie Morris on the importance of solo vacations for single parents. I welcomed her post because I am a firm believer in the benefits of travel and prioritize travel over things, always. I travel solo, with my husband, with my kids and with my girlfriends and can’t agree more with Julie about how important it is for single moms to take time away.
Married parents occasionally take a break to go on vacation together and get some time away from the kids. It’s good for everyone involved. But when you’re a single parent, you might not think it’s possible or even okay.
Parents already suffer from massive guilt, even when they’re doing everything right. When you’re a single parent, you want to be there for your kids all the time and rarely do you think about yourself and your own needs. But taking time for your own mind and body is good for you and your kids. It offers you the chance to recharge, relax and focus on self-care. It’s good for you to let go of control for a while, to learn to step back and trust others to take care of your children, and it teaches kids how to be a bit more independent and autonomous.
How Can Single Moms Vacation?
Hopefully, you have someone in your life who can care for your children while you’re out of town, such as a family member or the child’s other parent. If that’s not the case, you might be able to work out a trade agreement with another single parent in your or your child’s friend group. You can even promise to keep her kid while she travels. If your child is old enough, summer camp is also a good option. There are also vacation babysitters available for hire, some of whom are very experienced nannies.
If you’re only able to get away for a night, maybe your kids can stay at a church or community center’s lock-in so you can go to a hotel in a nearby town. Just getting away for a night is a miracle for some overwrought parents. Stay in a hotel, get a pedicure, sit in the hotel’s hot tub, read a book and watch trash TV without interruption, if that’s what you need.
If you’re able to schedule a full vacation, look for relaxing places to renew yourself. Find a spa, beach, or mountain resort where you can take in the views and focus on yourself. Take a yoga class, meditate, get a facial, or just wander around and explore a new area.
If you’re in addiction recovery, sometimes just getting out of your usual setting is enough to reset your thinking. Travel is a great way to reconnect with the world and see it anew. As parents, we often spend so much time worrying about our children that we don’t have enough energy left over for ourselves. This is your chance to refocus on you. Keep a travel journal and contemplate on this rare opportunity. Practice gratitude in your life and think of all the wonderful things you have.
Solo Vacation Tips
- Be reachable — Call your cell phone provider before your trip and let them know your travel dates. They can tell you what extra charges you’ll incur on your trip if any. If you don’t want to take your cell phone or at least not have it on all the time, make sure someone knows where you are and how to reach you. You can also let the hotel know where you’re going and when you’re expected to be back. Plus, you’ll likely want to talk to your kids regularly. Take advantage of video calls!
- Give someone your itinerary — Your sitter should have it, too. Also, give a trusted parent or friend a photocopy of your passport and keep one in your suitcase.
- Use the apps — Google Maps has a feature that allows you to share your road trip with someone else. This ensures you have someone at home who knows where you are and when you’re expected to arrive. It may seem intrusive, but having someone know your progress prevents you from having to check in all the time.
- Don’t tell strangers you’re alone — It might be difficult to do this sometimes, but you can always say you’re traveling for work and are meeting a coworker soon. If you’re nervous about being approached by suitors, buy a cheap wedding ring to pull out and wear when needed.
- Don’t tell strangers where you’re staying — If you’re having dinner, you can meet the person at the restaurant. If you meet someone in your hotel, don’t tell them your room number.
- Don’t forget to make new friends! — You can be safe and still talk to new people. And being on a solo trip is the perfect time to push yourself a little out of your comfort zone.
Solo travel can be an invigorating and restorative way of taking care of yourself. Plus, think about how amazing it will be to come home, rested and renewed, to those cute little faces and cuddly hugs. It will have been totally worth it.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways. You can find Julie here.