How my husband and I stay connected when we travel with kids
My husband and I love to travel – with AND without our kids (read my post about why I believe parents should travel without kids too). When we are traveling with our family of five and also with friends and/or extended family, we've learned that there are a few things we always try to do to touch base with each other throughout the trip.
Making sure we're still connecting as a couple always makes for a better, more relaxing trip. Travel with kids is not always easy (but ALWAYS worth it, in our opinion) and connecting with your spouse while traveling helps elevate the fun and also alleviate some of the hard.
Below are my five best tips for staying connected with your spouse or partner when traveling with kids. Some of these tips are obvious and some we've learned through trial and error, no doubt!
1. Find alone time to check in each day
My husband and I make a point to have some discussion time – alone – to process the day and sometimes talk about the day ahead. We do this on a daily basis, but especially when traveling with kids.
Brad and I usually do this in bed at night after we've put the girls down or in the morning when we're awake and alone in our room. We briefly talk through the day – things we struggled with or something we noticed about the kids or the day that was magical or just cool. Even if was a tough and exhausting day, briefly talking through the day with him always helps me to appreciate it more … and also discuss how to adjust things if needed.
On earlier trips as a family when we didn't do this, we often ended up having a lot of miscommunications and little things become big blown up things – while the small magical moments got overlooked.
2. Physical contact is key
Sometimes when traveling with kids, friends or extended family, we forget to hold hands while we're busy wrangling kids or hug when we need one. Brad is actually really good at grabbing me for a hug or quietly putting his hand on my knee at moments when we're traveling, and it instantly calms and relaxes me.
3. Take advantage of offered childcare
On our most recent trip, friends we were visiting offered to watch our kids while we had a night out – it was heaven. Sometimes we try to reciprocate this for other families. Often, my mom will do this when we visit her or my in-laws will watch all the cousins so that we can go out with my husband's brothers and spouses. At the beach, we may have an older cousin hang out with the kids while we take a walk or even just run to the grocery store together. I have friends who often find a babysitter in the city they are visiting – or talk to the hotel concierge or Airbnb host for recommendations. While date nights are admittedly rare (for us) when traveling with kids, I believe you should take advantage of them when you can!
4. Give each other alone time
My husband and I are both introverts and need a good dose of alone time to refuel. He is a very early riser – even on vacation – so he typically gets his in the morning. But occasionally, I can tell that he needs some quiet time while we're traveling and I make it a point to do something with the girls or send him out on a fun errand (coffee?). He's also very aware when I need my time and he'll take the kids out on an adventure so that I can read or nap or even simply take a walk on my own.
5. Laugh it out
We laugh a lot when we travel. We laugh at our mistakes and mishaps, we laugh in the evenings over a glass of wine while recalling said mishaps, we laugh at the girls' funny antics or our funny antics with the girls. One of my favorite things about our recent trip is how much we laughed – with friends, with the girls, with each other. I laughed to tears more times than I can count and I love that connection with my love.
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