DH and I took our first child-free vacation last week, an entire week in Cancun while the in-laws stayed at our house with the kids. It went really well. Both kids seemed to adjust fine. I'm really hoping to do a bigger kid-free trip in July 2020 for our 10-year wedding anniversary. The kids will be 5 and 2.5 by then. Am I insane to consider 2.5-3 weeks in Europe away from them? My in-laws would be happy to do it, and they would continue their normal routine going to daycare every day. Do you think it's too long? What's the longest trip you'd feel comfortable taking from your kids at that age?
kiwi / 705 posts
So far we’ve done 4 nights away (kids are currently 4 and 5) and are planning that again this summer to go to the Dominican Republic. Next year I’m hoping to go away from a whole week. I don’t think I’d be comfortable for more than 7-10 days though. Both my husband and I have been gone for 7 days before but in that instance the kids are still with 1 parent.
As kids my whole family would go to visit my grandparents across the country and my dad would leave after a week, my mom would leave after 2, and then we’d fly home after 3. So we ended up being away from my dad 2 weeks and my mom 1.
pomegranate / 3227 posts
I think I was away for three nights on a business trip when my oldest was a toddler.
My husband and I left our oldest for two nights when he was 2.5yo so we could go away for our 5th anniverary.
He also stayed at my parents’ for about a week when his twin sisters were one week old. That was to quarantine him because he had coxsackie. It sucked but we did not get sick.
All three of my kids stayed at my parents’ house for two nights so that I could join my husband on a schmancy ski weekend through his job. They were almost 5yo and 7mo.
My kids would have to be a lot older for me to vacation longer than 2-3 nights without them. I already felt guilty as it is for the two nights for the ski trip!
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
We are going away for 5 nights this summer, leaving the kids at my parents’ house- so totally out of their routine but fun for them. They will be almost 6 and 3.5 years old. The longest we have both left them is one night- but I would be totally comfortable with more, we just don’t have child care available unless we make a plan and drive 5 hours to my parents.
3 weeks feels like a lot with a 2.5 year old. My kids are used to DH traveling for a week at a time, occasionally longer, but for me to leave for 3 days it throws them. So I guess for your question, I think 2 weeks is the max I could do at this point. Then again our honeymoon on the other side of the world wasn’t even 3 weeks.
pomegranate / 3658 posts
@Foodnerd81: Our last big international trip pre-kids was 3 weeks in Thailand and Cambodia and it was a total dream, so I'd love to do something on that scale in Italy etc.
@ElbieKay: Lol I vividly recall that I used to think exactly the same thing, until we started doing it, and now I love it The kids spend at least one weekend a month at either grandparents' house. Seriously our kids are happy as clams, developing wonderful bonds with their grandparents, and DH and I are able to reconnect and take care of our mental health and our marriage.
I think 2 weeks feels fine to me, but more than that might be pushing it. Just curious if anyone else has done it!
apricot / 286 posts
My Dh and I usually travel somewhere without the kids every second summer and I love it. Last summer we did Ireland for 9 days. My kids have the best week ever getting spoiled by their grandparents so I don’t feel guilty leaving them. They routinely spend overnights/weekends at grandparents so they are used to it. I think 10-14 days would be my max though because otherwise it’s a big ask for grandparents to alter their normal lives for much longer IMO.
nectarine / 2458 posts
I’ve done 10-11 days a few times now and I think that’s close to my limit. I could probably go to 2 weeks for an amazing vacation but probably wouldn’t go longer than that. The big thing we’ve found though is the longer the kids are with grandparents the worse habits they pick up. We’ve had to deal with some awful sleep regressions after long trips cause grandparents are way more lenient than we are.
persimmon / 1427 posts
We’ve taken multiple trips away from our kids (work and personal) including overnights, 3-5 night trips, week long trips, and a handful of 2 week business trips each. From experience, 2 weeks is the max we’ll do - it’s hard on the kids, and it was hard on me too. .
pomelo / 5084 posts
I wouldn’t really be comfortable being gone more than 3 nights if my spouse were also with me. But we have somewhat sketchy childcare so factor that in.
pomegranate / 3658 posts
Part of me wishes we could do 2 weeks and then like have the kids magically join us for the third week You know, since a 5 year old and 2.5 year old could just fly out and meet us.
pear / 1586 posts
We did 10 days in Europe when DS was almost 2. He stayed with my sister(s) and we had our regular daytime childcare during that time (nanny) and he did great. We are considering doing ~10 days next summer for a West Coast or Europe trip (also for our 10-year wedding anniversary) - DS will be 5, almost 6, and DD will be 3.
pomegranate / 3272 posts
I think 2 weeks is my max but that's also my max from being away from home.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
@PawPrints: ha I had the same thought actually! I’d feel oddly guilty like I wanted them to experience some of it with us, but not like fly home and get them and travel with them.
I think my comfort level would definitely be higher in your situation than mine. My parents wouldn’t feel comfortable staying here and watching them, and they will have them full time, no school, daycare, babysitter, out of their comfort zone. I know how exhausting that is for me and DH at home, so I imagine my parents are going to be done by the time we get back less than a week later. If they were local and could just watch them outside of full time daycare that would be a completely different situation.
But still 2 weeks would feel like my limit.
pineapple / 12566 posts
At this point, we've done a number of smaller trips of less than a week away from our LOs. The longest we ever did was 2 weeks. My DH actually took our LOs to his parents' to drop them off for 2 weeks (in a different country) and we went together to pick them up at the end of the stay. They were 2 and 5 at the time. It was so weird being home without them, but so liberating too. My DH and I were both working but managed to do a little weekend trip during that period.
My MIL has actually been pushing for us to leave the kids with her for like a month or more in the summer. This summer it was too late to organize because we already had all of our travel plans and tickets purchased by the time she offered...But maybe next summer? By then, they will be 6 and 9. I wouldn't let them fly alone (unaccompanied minor) since it's a 13+ hour flight to my ILs, but I'm bracing myself for it to come up for summer 2020.
persimmon / 1353 posts
My 3.5 yo is really adapatable and easy going and used to being with his grandparents. We've spent 4 nights away from him but he'll probably be with his grandparents on vacation for a week this summer and we won't be with them since we'll have a new born. I'd leave him for longer if someone were willing to take him. I have a one year old too that I haven't left yet but he's pickier than his older brother. But if when he's older someone's willing to watch them for a week or two so DH and I could take an awesome vacation I would do it. I trust my parents and my in laws and I don't have much guilt about leaving my kids for a trip.
nectarine / 2432 posts
We have 3 sets of grandparents but they're a little older ... They'd "say" they would want to watch my kids (3 and 12 weeks, wouldn't even consider leaving them til the younger one is a year) but I know it'd be too overwhelming. The most I'd do when my youngest was 1 was a weekend. Maybe when they're much older a week away but I know I miss them (even though they're a handful) and feel terribly guilty. #momlife
persimmon / 1467 posts
I think at that age 1 week would be long enough.
We regularly stayed with other people when I was little. I remember staying with my cousins (who I love) for two weeks when I was in 5th or 6th grade. The first week was fun but by the second week I was ready to go home.
persimmon / 1005 posts
We have a 5 night trip coming up, it’s the most we’ve ever been away from either kid (1 & 3). I’m a little nervous about it because to me it just seems like a long time. I don’t think I would be comfortable doing more than a week anytime in the next several years.
persimmon / 1270 posts
I have left my kids for 12 days for work when they were just turned 2 and 3.5. It went fine, they were with our nanny and DH. I have a lot of travel coming up this fall and I was feeling guilty about it. But reading your post lessened that. They actually do pretty well without me and it's great for them to get lots of solo papa time. I work evenings a lot so in some ways it's not that different... go for it!
persimmon / 1390 posts
It sounds like your kids really like being with their grandparents. I think my girls would be thrilled to spend two weeks with their grandparents. We usually go away for 2-3 nights in the fall and this year I don’t think we even FaceTimed with our kids because they were having too much fun with grandma and grandpa. I think if you’re comfortable going for 2.5-3 weeks, you should do it. The routine and bad habits thing is a good point, but if the grandparents are on the same page as you it could be super fun for the kids.
nectarine / 2000 posts
DD is four, DH and I have only left her for 2 nights with my mom (DH has been gone for up to 3ish weeks but I was home). If we had appropriate childcare lined up I would definitely leave her for a week.
I think if you are comfortable with 2.5-3 weeks and the grandparents are comfortable watching them that long, that it sounds great!
persimmon / 1077 posts
@PawPrints: I’ve left DS for five days and it went well. He was with my parents and one of my sisters. I have another baby on the way and we are planning to get away in the fall. She will be 3 months and DS will be 2.5. I’m thinking that will be another 5 days. I think the longest I can do is about a week! I think if you and DH are comfortable and have everything organized longer would work for your family. We always have a great time going away without the LO. It’s refreshing and so important to us and our marriage. I do cry on the way to the airport but I’m fine once we get to our destination! Enjoy!
pear / 1767 posts
We celebrate our 10 year anniversary in August and just booked a 10 day, kid-free trip (7 day Mediterranean cruise and a few extra days in Barcelona and Rome). The kids will be 7 and 2 and we've never been gone for more than 4 days (and that was only twice in 6.5 years). I'm really excited to get away but I do feel guilt because we're replacing our annual summer family vacation with the trip for 2. I even woke up in the middle of the night about a week after booking it freaking out about leaving them for so long. Our parents are in good physical shape and both kids will have camp to go to each day if the grandparents want but we decided it was easiest to have each set of grandparents take 5 days to spread out the load. My in-laws are from out of town and offered to stay on a couple extra days as we adjust from jet-lag, etc. I do have anxiety about leaving for 10 days so I'm not expecting that I'd do well with taking more time than that. I'm really looking forward to my kids being old enough to take some of these amazing trips with us...
pear / 1728 posts
The longest we've been away together was three nights but I would feel comfortable with a week (and maybe more).
I had a ten day work trip when DD was one - that was really difficult but she was with DH the whole time. I think that trip was so hard because of her age, though. I don't think it would be as hard now that she's three.
eggplant / 11714 posts
I think when they get older, I would be okay with a 2-3 week trip (like when our youngest is 6 or 7), if they were really comfortable with the people we were staying with. We don't live near either of our families, so it would be a pretty big disruption for a grandparent to come to our house for 2-3 weeks, or for the kids to go to their house for a long time. If we had grandparents in town and the kids saw them more frequently, I'd feel different.
The other thing is, My SIL and her husband left their kiddos for a big trip (a month) to their home country for a couple of friends' weddings and left their kids, and their kids were like.....cold to them, especially the youngest one when they got back. Like the youngest one would cry when SIL tried to take her from her mother (the grandma) and the kids cried that night, asking where is grandma and saying "I don't want you, I want grandma". It's like they became detached from their parents, and it took a couple of weeks for everything to return to normal. So maybe I would wait till my kids understood the idea of going away on a trip, but coming back, etc.
pear / 1565 posts
I think it just depends on your comfort level! It seems there will be no other issues.
For me, I had only been away from my oldest for 2 nights and that was when I gave birth to her sister We are hoping to go away may for 1-2 nights eventually, but at this point I can't even imagine anything more than that!
GOLD / nectarine / 2884 posts
We did a trip last summer. International for us (Canada-- we're in the US), but not overseas. 9 days for us and very limited cell service, but it was 13 for the kids since I had to get them there before we left, and pick them up a few days after we got back. They were 3 and 5 at the time. I wasn't the one watching them so I really can't speak for how difficult it is! But personally....as soon as the plane was in the air I stopped worrying about it and had a great time! My parents may not be too keen to do it again anytime soon though! But that's to be expected, because of course it is draining to entertain two kids for nearly two weeks in the summer. The year prior they watched them for a week. They call it "summer camp." I've also stayed behind to work while my husband took both kids on vacation for a week. My son, 15 months, weaned on that trip (we were down to like 1-2 comfort nursings a day so it wasn't a surprise to me). Other than that we haven't had any unusual transitions due to separation.
kiwi / 535 posts
I would totally leave LO with my in-laws for 2 weeks if they were up to it! We are planning to do a week away this fall when she is 18 months and I can’t wait. They live across the country so we don’t get to take weekends away but otherwise I totally would do that too. When LO is older I plan to send her to sleep away camp for 8 weeks (DH and I both did this as kids) so I’m all for time away!
pomegranate / 3437 posts
@PawPrints: My kids spend a week (Saturday-Saturday) with my Mom roughly every 3 months (except when DS2 was under 1). Sometimes DH and I will take a long weekend during that time but usually we are working. It is still nice to reconnect with each other since we don't have a regular baby sitter for date nights.
I would be totally fine leaving them for 2 weeks to go on an amazing vacation!
pomelo / 5220 posts
Hmm... I think my concern would be less my kids and more the grandparents. Kids are exhausting and they are getting older! Or they let my kids get away with murder and then I have to undo a lot of bad habits like TV with dinner or all day long, ice cream every night, the zoo and amusement parks nonstop!
So my feelings - I would love to leave them for maybe 10 days. But the reality, is that 5-6 days is probably the best outer limit at this point.
pomelo / 5509 posts
When DD was 9 months old I spent 6 days away, but she was with DH. My ILs have taken her to their house a few times for 4 nights at a time, starting right after she turned 2, but they live just over an hour away.
I think by age 2.5 and up I'd do a full week to 10 days if she/they were staying with the ILs, because they're really good with her. And with my parents as backup. Mayyyybe 2 weeks but that would be a stretch.
grapefruit / 4361 posts
A week max under the age of 10. I could only imagine doing more if my kids were teenagers and it was a very special occasion/unique opportunity.
My parents only left me for 3 weeklong vacations ages 0-18 and I clearly remember all of the trips and didn't like them.
I also would just really miss my kids by the end of a week.
nectarine / 2951 posts
We’ve been away no longer than 2 nights. Perhaps we would consider a longer vacation sans kids, but at this point, we can’t really trust either set of grandparents for that long.
kiwi / 624 posts
We have only done one night, but in a few mo the we will do two I think. I’d probably do 5 days and nights, but my kids are a bit younger than the op’s. It sounds pretty cool though. I’d only do two weeks max, but that’s because I dislike trips longer than that anyway.
pomegranate / 3658 posts
Thanks for the input. I think the replies have helped steer me to a 2-week trip proposal. I think this will be great for everyone.
On the grandparents topic - I know we are super lucky, but my in-laws are amazing about keeping our kids' schedule and routines in place. They indulge in some TV and sweets but they take them to and from daycare every day and keep the same bedtime so the transition is as easy as it can be.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
@PawPrints: this post honestly got me thinking we should convince my mother in law to retire near us! I think she would stick to our schedule and such if she was local and that would really be awesome.
pomegranate / 3658 posts
@Foodnerd81: We're seriously so lucky - both sets of grandparents moved cross-country to live near us after we had kids. I joke they're the most magnetic children in the world. My mom pick up DD every single week from daycare on Tuesdays and takes her to gymnastics class and IHOP, and my in-laws do weekends all the time.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
@PawPrints: my parents definitely wouldn’t- they are a five hour drive and my four siblings all live closer to them than us. But DH’s mom doesn’t live near any of her kids now and two of them are here in the greater Boston area, we have two kids and his brother is having his first this year... so who wouldn’t want to retire in MA with our freeezing winters and all???
pomegranate / 3658 posts
nectarine / 2972 posts
I’m just jealous of your grandparent situation! I can’t imagine someone watching my kids for 2-3 weeks I haven’t been away from my 2.5 year old in over a year... and my family wonders why he’s so clingy to me!
I think I could do a week... but I think if you have really good support and the kids are used to being watched by others that two weeks would be totally fine.