In our family, we’ve really enjoyed taking our kids 1:1 on solo trips vs. big family vacations, and I share this to encourage you to consider this, too. Don’t get me wrong, family vacations can be fun and nice and all, but with three kids, it can often feel like wrangling wild animals into a circus ring, with a lot of arguing, shouting, and never having all of us happy at the same time.
Here’s what I’ve come to love from solo trips.
First, with only one of my kids to focus on, I get to tailor the trip to what they like. The food we choose, the place we stay at, the activities we pick, etc. A great example of this – with my oldest, who is completely into National Parks, we planned a trip and went to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. It’s only a few hours from home, and it was a long weekend, but we pigged out on his fave (McDonald’s, though I packed a salad for myself, too), we visited the caves, a dinosaur park, did a ropes course, and stayed in a wigwam, which was an incredible experience altogether!
On the flip side, my daughter and I did a couple of days at Disney and did all the girly things that the boys would have rolled their eyes at and complained about. Matching Ariel swimsuits and all, we had a blast, and I didn’t have to deal with the boys dragging us away from our princess fun.
Next, having just one of your kiddos allows you to get to know them so much better. My kids are always talking on top of one another, fighting over the smallest of things, and not getting to finish any stories they have to share. When hanging with them solo, questions get asked and answered, we can play games like “would you rather” and dive deep into what interests them. It has been such a magical moment to hear my kids light up when they know my attention is fully on them as they share their experiences and dreams and all the details about their friends.
And another thing, my kids love to look ahead, and this always gives us something to look forward to. We can get them involved in the decision-making, and with their competitiveness, they can share their ideas from their trips with each other – getting more and more creative. I’ve bought travel books and journals to help us with decisions, too.
Lastly, as a mom of three, honestly (and selfishly), it can just be nice to take that step back to only needing to worry about one kiddo. Being somewhere without my mind and worry split between three people is so nice, and something I often find myself missing. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom of three, but I think we can all agree it’s exhausting. In fact, my favorite thing sometimes is really just being alone. But because I think we can all agree vacationing with our entire family means we are always watching one of our kids in the pool, or a kid always needs help in the bathroom, etc, going with a kid solo means there’s so much less of that.
Of course, no matter when we get to walk away from our everyday life, it can be a fun change of pace. And while family vacations can be a blast, don’t write off making time for solo trips! It can really be an incredible experience for all.