“It’s not fair!” The cry heard around the parenting world pretty much every day, for those of us who have more than one child. Playing the game of “Even Steven” happens from the smallest slight: “He got to push the elevator button the last time!” to, perhaps what could be your biggest dilemma, taking only one child on a trip with you, and leaving the other(s) behind.
But if you’re like me and have (four) kids of different ages, with different interests, and perhaps most importantly, different school schedules and demands, sometimes it not only makes sense to travel with one solo, it can make good “cents” as well.
A PD Day Getaway is what I had in mind when my youngest son had a day off school, and his older siblings did not. PD days often land in non-peak times (in this case the third week in September), so the travel savings can be substantial.
But where to go? Both my younger son and I like to read, swim, and chill by the pool. (Really though, who doesn’t?) Traveling to a hotter climate, and particularly seeking out an all-inclusive, at this less busy time of the year, you can find some great deals*.
Spending time with one child allows you to really connect with what they’re doing at school, the friends they’re hanging out with, and what they think about what’s going on in the world as well. We also became quite adept at picking out the accents and languages of fellow travelers – many British, German, and Eastern European dialects. Not forgetting about the kids at home, I was careful to call home but not dwell on what we were doing, but what they were still doing in their routines at home.
Other tips when traveling with one child:
1) Tell the child you’re taking on the trip about it, first, but have a plan to tell the other kids immediately afterwards. Tell the traveling child to be gracious and consider that others’ feelings may be hurt;
2) Explain why it makes sense to take the one child: school schedule, cost, interests in location, timing vs extracurricular activities, etc. On the same hand, be careful not to “blame” school or extra sports as a reason why others can’t go, just state it as facts;
3) Don’t promise that you will make it all even out eventually with other kids, other trips. This may be impossible to fulfill and you will feel like a failure when/if you let them down;
4) Bring back a small but meaningful gift that shows you were thinking about them while you were away, even though it’s not meant to be compensation for missing the trip;
5) Try not to bring back a big reminder of the trip with the traveling child;
6) Share your pictures on social media sparingly, not at all, or when you return, particularly if your other children follow you online. If they don’t, chances are your friends do, who might show them to their children (your kids’ friends!) so consider this when posting;
7) If you have “inside” jokes on your return, don’t flaunt them in front of the other kids, or be sensitive and share stories with the whole family at once;
8) Release the guilt and start planning the next trip with another child.
*I used the PC Travel website, an exclusive benefit for PC Financial MasterCard customers like me, and was able to easily enter my requirements for the trip – one adult, one child, three to four day trip, in the sun – only to have many options pop up. Earning double PC points when I booked with my PC Financial MasterCard made the trip seem even more affordable. Important were the all-inclusive details – among them, what was actually included – room, flight, meals, drinks, and transfers. It’s a really good idea, especially when traveling with children, to check the length of the transfer from the airport to the resort. Our choice (the Iberostar Dominicana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) was an easy 25 minute drive.
Photo by CL Buchanan Photography
Kathy Buckworth is an award winning writer, public speaker, and television personality. She is the author of five books, including “The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood” and her latest, “Shut Up and Eat:Tales of Chicken, Children & Chardonnay”. She is a feature writer for Sympatico.ca in their parenting, travel, and auto sections, and is also a columnist for ParentsCanada, Womens Post, Ottawa Families, Dabble Magazine, and GoodLife. She also regularly contributes to national magazines such as Canadian Families, Disney Playhouse, and Oh Baby. Her monthly “Funny Mummy” column appears on 25+ websites across North America. She is a parenting correspondent for CTVNewsChannel, and appears on shows such as CityLine and The Marilyn Denis Show.
Kathy is the only two time winner of the Professional Writers Association of Canada Award for Excellence in Humour, and is the 2010 recipient of the Mississauga Arts Award for Established Literary Arts. She is the Managing Director of 4WordsComm.com and has over 18 years of corporate marketing experience, with CIBC, Royal Bank, Telus and Coca Cola Foods. She has acted as corporate/media spokesperson/social media consultant for blue chip companies such as Procter & Gamble, Research In Motion, Presidents Choice Financial and LeapFrog Toys. Visit www.kathybuckworth.com or follow along at www.twitter.com/kathybuckworth
Kathy Buckworth Award winning author, I Am So The Boss Of You, Shut Up & Eat, The BlackBerryDiaries Feature writer Sympatico.ca, (Travel, Parenting, Auto) Columnist for ParentsCanada, Dabble, GoodLife, DisneyJunior Blogger for Huffington Post Canada, Funny Mummy Syndicated Column CTV NewsChannel, CityLine Contributor.