How Old is Old Enough?

This question has been on my mind for a while now. It’s summertime, a busy travel season for many. That being said, the Mister and I are planning our first getaway as parents of two children. (Two kids! Still can’t believe that!) Currently we’re looking at a fairly touristy trip to a place neither of us has been before. I worked in the airline industry for over a decade before staying home with our kids, so I get the itch to GO quite often!

We’ve left our toddler before. The first time I remember very vividly. It was a long weekend to Santa Fe with some good friends when he was almost 9 months old. While it was suuuuuper hard to leave him, I reminded myself that my husband and I would benefit from time away together as adults. And we did. But I had to remind myself of that over and over again throughout the course of the trip. I missed that little guy. We both did!

Now that we have another baby and we’re planning another trip, I have to ask myself how old I think she needs to be before we leave her. It goes without saying that she (and her brother) would be with someone I trusted VERY much, but even still, what age should she be for me to be comfortable? Will I ever be comfortable leaving my babies? Will I be okay letting them leave for college?!?!?

I might be getting a little carried away at this point.

I don’t think there is any right or wrong answer in general on this, but I’m trying to figure out what the right answer is for me.


Have you traveled without your children before? How old were they when you did it for the first time?

Emily G
Emily is married to Brad and mother of the handsome Jack and precious Annabelle. After more than a decade as a software engineer (two of those as a working mother), she cleaned out her cubicle and can be found most days at one of the beautiful parks Cowtown has to offer, without a WiFi hotspot in range. These days, Emily spends her time exploring our fair city with her babes in tow, volunteering at her church, cheering on the Fightin' Texas Aggies, and shopping her way through DFW at large. You'll find her journaling her daily life at Being Mrs. Gentry.


  1. We still haven’t left our 17-month-old, but we’ve been thinking about it for the fall when my husband has a conference (although her sister would likely be with us then!). We don’t have any family in town, though, so that makes it tough to leave her. But, when we go out of town, we’re generally going to see that family, so, of course, she goes with us then, too! It’s a tough question!

  2. My husband and I have not traveled without our children – they are 3 1/2 years and 20 months. My daughter would never take a bottle so I could only leave her for short periods of time during her first year, so the idea of traveling without them is extremely foreign. Neither my husband nor I would want to be away from them for an extended time (we did go to a wedding overnight once but weren’t gone over 24 hours) and especially would not be comfortable being an extremely long distance from them (not being able to get to them quickly if we needed to). We know a lot of people who travel without their kids and even go overseas. It is such a personal comfort level and also if you have family that can watch them for you to travel.

    For us, we just feel like this is the stage in life where we are centered around our children. There will be a time when we will be traveling just the two of us again and it will come soon enough. Also, my husband works a fair amount of hours and although I am home full time with them, we feel our family time is so precious and limited.

  3. #2 didn’t take a bottle and weaned at 13 months, so travel wasn’t really an option. We’ve left overnight three times, maybe. But I COMPLETELY agree with Emily S., it is such a personal decision. And personally, while I would love a break, I can’t handle more than a day apart from them. It’s that paradox of parenthood-can’t wait for a break and can’t wait for it to be over. My parents took us on every trip and I love them for that. We did take my younger sister to the beach with us last year to help me with the kids and it was great. I have friends who bring along babysitters so you can enjoy family time and couple time all on the same trip.

    • Anna, that is a great point about finding couples time on vacations. We are headed to the beach this summer and although we aren’t taking a sitter, I am sure the hubby and I will find time, after the kids are asleep, to enjoy a glass of wine on the patio listening to the waves! It is nice to know we aren’t the only ones with that attitude! My parents also never left us and I appreciate that!

  4. Ok, I am going to take the opposite stance here and say couple-only vacation time is absolutely vital to a healthy marriage! We just went on a 5 day trip to the DR for a friend’s wedding and it was awesome! Now yes, by day 4 we were ready to get home and see our 2.5 yr old daughter- but for us it is so great to have some time to just enjoy each other and recharge. We both work full- time, so maybe we’re just used to being away from her, I don’t know, ๐Ÿ™‚ but I have no qualms leaving her for a few days! We are very fortunate though- we have 3 sets of parents and 2 sets of siblings that all live in town and help out so we’ve never had to pay for a babysitter and always have someone to watch her if we need. Without that, I don’t know how we would do it. But we try to take a least one short trip a year just us, and one trip as a family.


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