Overcoming the Guilt of Kid-Free Travel


A white suitcase stands against a pink background.

Road tripping across the United States was something my husband and I used to do constantly early in our relationship. We could drive into the sunset without a care in the world. Did we have a plan? Sometimes. Often, we would just figure it out along the way. 

Those days were pre-kiddo, of course. We now enjoy kid-free travel, but it comes with careful planning.

The Guilt of Traveling Kid-Free

Do you find yourself wanting to travel more but continuously making up excuses?

I might want to take them someday.

Oh, they would have so much fun; let’s wait a few years, so they can enjoy it!

This place is so kid friendly; it would be silly to go without them.

Does any of this sound familiar? 

The first time I went on a trip without my daughter wrecked me. I had layers upon layers of guilt about opting for kid-free travel. What if there is an emergency? What if she thinks I am not coming back? What if? What if? What if? It was brutal.

Upon my return, she was totally fine. No catastrophes, no emergencies. And while she was happy to see me, she barely knew I was gone. 

>>RELATED READ :: Get Over the Guilt :: Fill Your Own Cup First <<

Maybe I was onto something by leaving the kid at home. Can I do that? Newsflash: YES! I decided to ditch the guilt. This was FUN!

The wing of an airplane soars in the sky.

Taking Time for Yourself Is Needed

Why do you like to travel? Maybe the time away with your spouse helps restore your marriage, or a weekend trip away with the girls is a nice mental reset. 

Things that fill our cups when we opt to go kid free:

  • Uninterrupted adult conversations
  • A playlist of your choice
  • Dinner that doesn’t consist of nuggets or mac and cheese
  • R-rated movies
  • Finally finishing that book
  • Abiding by your own schedule
  • A hot cup of coffee
  • Silence

It turns out, when I make time for myself and my marriage, I am actually a better mom. Choosing to have fun and putting myself first on occasion is absolutely refreshing. It is needed

Once you figure out what fulfills you when you’re away from your children, use that as your motivator to leave them and your guilt behind. 

Still Feeling Guilty?

Okay, so what if you can’t completely ditch the mom guilt. I totally get it. Don’t stress.

Plan ahead and take two trips! Find a place that is fun for the whole family, and another that rejuvenates your soul. Set a budget, decide how many combined days you are willing to travel, and make a plan. 

>> RELATED READ :: Tales of the Traveling Toddler: Why We Brave the Journey <<

Your kids get a travel experience, and you will have zero guilt dropping them at the in-laws and making a run for it. You’ve earned it.

If that pang of guilt still settles in, remember to video chat or text pictures back and forth. Let technology be your friend and keep you connected while you’re apart. 

Side Note: If you ever take a piece of advice, take this one. Always do the family trip first and the relaxing adult trip after. Otherwise, you will need a vacation from your vacations. 

Kid-Free Travel Makes Me a Better Mom

Now that my daughter is a little older, she is pretty fun to travel with. She understands car rides take a while. She knows that we know she can, in fact, wait for the next rest stop so we don’t have to take a “bush wee” (thanks, Bluey).  It has all gotten much better. 

As I set off on a milestone birthday girls’ trip, I won’t have regrets about my kid-free travel. Not this time!

Know that as you’re taking time for yourself, you’re getting the reset you need to come back refreshed and ready to jump back into mom-mode. This way, you are able to be the best mom you can be.


  1. I can definitely see the bigger purpose of kid free travel. Like a car running on fumes, you’re not going far without filling the tank. I really like that you can have time and space to recharge. Great piece Jessica ❤


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here