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Lots of people have asked me, “So, how was the trip traveling with kids alone?” and my answer has been mixed. Traveling alone with two small children is a roller coaster. It is full of exhilarating moments of intense joy and exhausting lows.
Overall, though our little mini vacation had more positives than negatives. I had been building up layers of fear about traveling with the kiddos. It really helped to give me confidence. I know now that I CAN take on traveling with kids alone should I choose to, and I will have moments of joy and great memories as a reward for my efforts.
It was harder and easier than I thought it was going to be
My 3.5 year old son did great (most of the time)…he actually helped out a lot. The physical and mental toll of being solely in charge of them from waking until bed wore me down by the end (big kudos to you single moms out there…I don’t know how you do it.)
Choosing the right destination is key, especially when your kids are small
We always think about things like choosing hotels near parks when traveling with the kids and/or making sure that you will have some space where they can be let “free”. It is also important to have a plan for other essentials like feeding them, etc. The Holiday Inn Resort in Panama City Beach, FL was SUPER kid friendly, making this trip possible and enjoyable.
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All of those things that your partner does that you take for granted…some of them are really hard with two kids
Like when hubby brings the luggage to and from the car while you wait in the room with the kids…nope, that doesn’t work. Or when one of you distracts the kids so the other can search on the computer to try and figure out what you are going to do the next day…not good, either.
Everything needs to be planned out to a “T” because without a second person, backtracking is just too hard.
This requires constant vigilance and lots of thought. There is no moment to let you guard down, lest you forget something important in the room and have to drag both kids back for it. I really missed having he second body to run back for all of the “oops” things that I forgot.
Lots of people will look at you strangely…
Not in a bad way, but more just wondering where the second person is to help you wrangle your two tornados. Most people are quite kind, and when you get the sympathetic offer of help, if you need it, take it. There are a lot of kind people who will step in when they see you struggling with something (thank you nice man who offered his umbrella in the parking lot…)
There are limited options for putting sunscreen on your back without your partner
It felt awkward to me to ask a stranger, so I turned it into a game and gave the kids each a handful and told them to go to town (checking their results in the mirror to make sure there were not glaring omissions).
Heading Off Inappropriate Behavior
Setting up expectations for behavior for each new situation becomes even more important without the second parent to step in to deal with any inapropriate behavior. I got in the habit of letting my 3.5 year old know what was expected of him at the store, walking through the parking lot, by the pool (and I reminded him each time because they have short attention spans). He got used to me doing this more consistently, and learned that he could have his own freedom within the confines of momma’s rules.