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How to Prepare for a Kid-Free Vacation

Hey friend! Welcome back to another heartfelt episode of the Mom-entum Podcast, where I'm here to share my journey through motherhood with all of you.

 

In today's episode, I'm diving deep into my recent experience of jetting off on my very first international trip without the kids. Get ready for a ride filled with emotions, doubts, and, ultimately, triumph!

 

Here's what I'll be covering:

 

1. **Conquering Doubts:** I'll kick things off by delving into the doubts that initially crept in and how I managed to overcome them. I'm sharing candid insights that I hope will resonate with fellow moms facing similar dilemmas.

 

2. **Practical Prep:** I break down the essential steps of trip planning, from booking flights and accommodations to ensuring all necessary travel documents are in order. 

 

3. **Travel Tips:** You won't want to miss out on my tried-and-tested advice for making the most of your travels. From choosing the perfect flight to breezing through customs with a Global Entry pass, I've got you covered every step of the way.

 

4. **My Handy Template:** Exciting news! I've put together a handy template to help you prepare caregivers for your time away from the kids. Say goodbye to worries and ensure a stress-free experience for both you and your little ones.

 

Whether you're dreaming of your own kid-free adventure or simply seeking some practical wisdom for your next family trip, this episode has something for everyone. Tune in, take notes, and get ready to embark on your next adventure with confidence!

 

And don't forget, you can access the Kids Instruction Manual Template mentioned in this episode by clicking here. Happy travels, mamas!

 

Stay tuned for more inspiring conversations and empowering insights right here on the Mom-entum Podcast. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review—I truly appreciate your support!

 

Resources Mentioned In The Show
  • Planning a trip without the kids?  Streamline the transition of care process with my FREE Kids Instruction Manual Template!  I thought of everything so you don't have to!  Click here for your FREE template!

  • Travelling internationally?  Click here to apply for your Global Entry Pass, your fast pass through customs.

  • Click here for the RF ID blocking cross body I used.

  • Click here for the RF ID blocking passport holder.

  • Click here for the dual voltage curling iron mentioned in the show.

  • Click here for the European travel plug adapter I used.

  • Not sure if your devices are dual or world wide voltage?  Here's a quick YouTube video that explains how to figure it out!

  • Please join me in sharing your love, support and prayers with my dear friend, Christina Cano, and her 10 year old daughter, Ainslee, as Ainslee fights her battle with cancer.  You can donate via her GoFundMe page or via Give In Kind.  If you're not familiar with Give In Kind, Christina can post needs like child care, housekeeping, transportation, meals, and you can also donate gift cards and care packages through this website.  If you live in the San Diego area and would like to show your support and are able to provide her with assistance, consider checking out her Give In Kind account.  At the very least, please keep Christina and Ainslee in your prayers!  I thank you so much for your kindness and generosity! 

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TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Mom-entum Podcast.  The show dedicated to inspiring, uplifting, and empowering women on their journey through motherhood.  I’m your host, Tanya Valentine, and thank you so much for being here!  

 

So Chris and I just returned from Paris.  This was the very first time I ever left Serena, my youngest who is now 22 months old, the very first time I ever left her overnight.  And it has been a very long time since I left Lucia or Rocco overnight.  And for the first time leaving them it was pretty bold of us to plan a trip out of the country.  And it was our first time in Paris, which is a very lovely city.  And the reason we were there was for my dear friend, Lisa’s wedding.  Now, I wasn’t in the wedding party, but there was no way I was missing her wedding.  For one, she has always been such a good friend to me, she has always had my back.  Lisa is just a wonderful, good person, beautiful inside and out.  She’s just a really fun girl.  Like whenever your around her she just brings this fun, light energy.  And I always seem to laugh and smile whenever I’m around her.  But the sad thing is, since I moved to Indiana about 15 years ago and now that we are older, we really don’t get to see or talk to one another as much as we would like.  And I think that you all can relate to this.  Life just gets busy, and as much as you’d like to pick up the phone and catch up with someone, it can be so hard to do this, especially as a mom.  Because for one, if you make a phone call with the kids around you know there will be a million distractions and interruptions.  And not only that, for me I feel like sometimes I just need a break from talking, do you know what I mean.  I’m like it just takes so much energy to talk sometimes.  Because I don’t just want to talk, I really would like to show up at my best for my friend on the other line, and I like to be able to really listen and pay attention to what they are saying, and this can be very hard to do when you are exhausted and have a little person pulling on your clothes, or demanding things of you like a drink or a snack, or somebody needs their butt wiped, or there is a fight to break up.  You know what I’m saying.  But anyway, I know I went off on a tangent, but what I’m trying to say is this is something that I think many of us struggle with as moms, is maintaining and nurturing our friendships.  We allow so many things to get in the way.  And that’s ok, I think we all do this.  But I also think it’s important for us to set aside some time and effort to reaching out to our friends and connecting.  This is something I want to so badly get better at.  And I actually had this idea for a virtual girls night.  I created a zoom meeting and invited some of my girlfriends, and it was so nice, and initially we had planned to do this once a month, and now we haven’t done it since because for various reasons we have had to reschedule multiple times.  But if you are looking for a way to reconnect with your friends and you all live far away from each other (like my friends and I) then I suggest trying this virtual girls night, its a great way to get everyone together, no one even has to leave the house or get ready (although sometimes I think that is fun, getting ready to go out), but it’s just good to see everyone’s faces and get caught up on what’s going on in everyone’s lives.  It’s fun, I highly suggest you try it. 

 

Anyway, so our trip to Paris.  I want to first talk about my struggles with even making the decision to go.  My first reaction when I received the save the date was of course I am going, I wouldn’t miss it for anything.  But as time went by, as with anything else, the doubts and second guessing started to set in.  For one, Chris wasn’t even going to go to begin with.  He said he didn’t want to go.  So then I thought well that’s fine I will just ask one of my friends to go with me.  So first I asked my friend, Lisa, who was the bride to be, if it would be ok if I took a friend instead, and she was like ya of course.  The thing was the friend I had in mind to ask was not able to go. And then I didn’t even think of asking anyone else.  But it was like this made me second guess should I even go on this trip.  The other big thing getting in the way was breastfeeding.  And let me just tell you I am still breastfeeding.  But my concern was that I would have to stop before the trip to Paris, and neither Serena or I were ready to stop.  But I had this conversation with my friend, Leann, and I’m so glad I did because she 1, convinced me to go on the trip.  She reminded me that I didn’t have to feel guilty and in fact it was going to be a good thing for everyone involved, for me, my husband, our relationship, for the kids.  She told me a story about how her and her husband had a trip planned back in October I think it was and she almost didn’t go because her daughter was having some health issues.  But in the end they ended up taking the trip.  I think it was her parents or in laws watched the kids. And it ended up being so good for them.  She said it was a much needed reset for her and her husband, especially after what was a very challenging year for them, it was a nice break from the chaos and just hardship of every day life, ya no.  And then the kids ended up having so much fun with their grandparents, and when they returned they were so glad they went, not an ounce of regret.  So she told me go on the trip.  And then I explained to her my concerns about having to stop breastfeeding before Serena and I were ready.  And she was like don’t stop then.  And it was so funny because prior to this conversation I never even considered this as an option.  And suddenly i was like oh, that’s a possibility.  And then my brain went to work figuring out how I could make this possible.  And low and behold I came up with an answer, and the great thing about it is it all worked out.  I gradually weaned Serena down to 2 feedings/day which is perfect and definitely doable I feel, at least for me.  And I brought pumping supplies with me in my carry on.  Our flight left at 5:15 pm on wednesday and then we got in at 8 am Thursday morning Paris time (which is 7 hours ahead of us).  So what I did was I nursed Serena that Wednesday morning, and then I nursed her before I put her down for a nap after lunch that day.  We left the house at 1:30 to go to the airport and my mother in law came over and stayed at my house to watch the kids.  Then on the plan I just pumped around the normal time I would be nursing her before bed.  And then I didn’t have to pump again until we got to our hotel on Thursday.  And then while we were there, which we only spent 4 days there (we got there on thursday and then left on Sunday) but while we were in Paris I would wake up, work out, shower and then I would pump.  Then I would pump again at night before bed.  And it all worked out, I was able to keep producing milk and when I got home I just jumped right in to our routine.  Serena wakes up, I nurse her, then sometimes I will nurse her when putting her down for a nap, and then I always nurse her at bedtime.  So if you are a mama who is second guessing going on a trip without the kiddos because you are still nursing, let me be the first to tell you, it can be done.  It is possible.  Don’t let that be the thing that prevents you from what could be a wonderful experience and a much needed break and a chance for you to reconnect with anyone who it is you are going on a trip with.  Even if it’s a solo trip.  Maybe you have the opportunity to take a solo vacation.  Then take advantage of this opportunity to reconnect with yourself. We all need to do this sometimes.  We all need that chance, that opportunity to get quiet and just escape the monotony, the chaos, the busy-ness of everyday life.  And its nice cuz you get to reset, recharge, recalibrate and you return feeling refreshed and just a better version of yourself because you’ve just got this much needed break, ya know what I’m saying?

 

So now that I’ve told you a little bit of my struggles leading up to our trip, let me share with you how I prepared. So planning and being prepared are crucial before taking a trip either with or without your kids.  But in case any of you listening are either thinking about or planning on taking a trip, here are some things that I did to help prepare, and some of these things might seem obvious, but some you might be like oh I never thought of that before and you will be glad I mentioned it to save you the trouble!

 

  1.  Childcare:  So first, we had to make sure we had someone to watch the kids. And I’m so grateful to my mother in law and Chris’ Aunt who were willing and able to stay here out our house and watch the kids.  That was a huge help.

  2. Next up was booking the trip, both the hotel and flight.  For us, the most important thing was getting a non stop flight.  And too I think it’s important to keep in mind when you are looking at flights is to just picture yourself that day you will be leaving and the day you will return.  How might you be feeling?  What will the traffic be like at that time a day?  I think it’s important to consider this when choosing a flight.  Of course there will be times when the flights are limited.  But I also recommend that if you don’t find a time of day that you are satisfied with, then don’t just settle.  Keep looking.  Take a break from looking at flights and maybe see if things change next week.  That’s what we did, and we were eventually able to find a flight that made sense for us.

  3. This one is important if you are planning a trip out of the country.  Make sure you have your passport.  But also, i recommend getting the global entry pass.  This is like a fast pass through customs but it doubles as a TSA precheck, which is like a fast pass through security.  The global entry pass is $100, and it’s good for 5 years.  You just have to fill out their application online ( ill include links in the show notes) and then you do have to schedule and go to an in person interview.  But don’t be intimidated by the word “interview”.  It’s really not a bg deal and their essentially asking you all of the same questions as you were asked in the application that you complete online and then they take a picture of you and get your finger prints.  Another thing I’d like to add is if you are going on a trip soon, you still have time to get your global entry pass!  On the website I think it says to allow 4-6 week processing time.  But for us, we got our passes in the mail within a week of our interview.  So it is well worth the time of completing the application and taking the time to do the in person interview.  Another thing, too, is check with your credit card customer service and see if they might reimburse you the global entry.  I know Chris’ credit card reimbursed us the money for his and I met a guy on our flight to France who said his credit card offered reimbursement as well.  So i highly suggest looking into this.

  4. Ok so next.  Make a check list of everything you need to do to prepare for the trip.  Some questions to consider: What will you need while you are there?  What will the kids need?  What will the care takers of the kids need or what is important for them to know if you are leaving the kids behind?  I actually typed out an instruction manual on a google document and shared it digitally with my MIL and Chris’ aunt that way they had access to it wherever they were,, and I also printed out 2 paper copies.  And if you are planning a trip away from your kids, I created a template of the instruction manual I used which will save you some time, will help you consider things you may not have thought of on your own, and will help make your life and that transition of care to whoever is watching the kids so much easier.  You literally just read the question and fill it in.  It helps take any guess work out of it.  So I will have the link to that instruction manual template available for you wherever you are listening to this episode as well as in the show notes under the “resources” section.

 

But anyways, some examples of things you might need when you are there: if you are flying to Europe, you want to make sure that you have and bring adaptors for the outlets as their outlets are different than ours.  Not all outlets give off the same voltage.  In Europe and many other countries wall outlets are 220-240V, in the US the standard outlets are 110-120 volts. When you travel between voltage zones, you need to know if your devices can handle both voltages or if a transformer is needed. You can do this by checking the devices label.  Look first for a number or a range of numbers in front of a V that’s preceded by the word “input”.  If you see just a single number like 110V or 120 V, your device can only handle the outlets from that specific voltage.  If you see a range of numbers like 100v-240v, then your device can handle outlets from countries all over the world and it’s considered dual voltage.  With dual devices you can pack just a travel adaptor and know that you are set for the trip.  Most cell phones and chargers for iphones, galaxy’s, i pads, tablets and laptops are dual voltage.  However, devices like mixers, blenders, hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons are typically single voltage only, but you can find these devices in dual voltage.  I know for me, I just planned on using the hairdryer provided by the hotel and then I searched on amazon for a dual voltage curling iron that I brought with me which was pretty inexpensive and worked great.  I want to say it was less than $20.  I’ll be sure to link this in the show notes as well.Make sure if you are packing a curling iron, straightener or hairdryer that they are dual voltage.  i will include a link to the adapter that we used in the show notes.

 

  1.  The next thing I want to say is just do your research.  Learn a little bit about the area where you are going to be visiting.  You can do this by asking questions.  Finding people who have been where you are going and asking for advice and suggestions.  Doing a google search or getting on youtube or pinterest, finding facebook groups, or reading books.  I know for us one thing that pops into mind is that were warned to beware of pick pocketers in Paris.  So we were advised to get an rf id blocking cross body or wallet,and an rf id blocking passport holder.  I actually got a really nice and inexpensive faux leather rf id blocking cross body on amazon which I will also link to in the show notes.  And we were advised by the officer or interviewed us for the global entry pass to make sure we had the rf id bocking cross body or wallet. And if you dont know what rf id blocking is, no worries, neither did I.  But it’s essentially this device that people can use that steals your information.  So the rf id blocking feature prevents this from happening.

 

So those are just some quick suggestions I came up with for you to help make travelling easier.  Also, I just want to make sure I emphasize that I think it’s normal to feel guilty about leaving our kids. And it’s easy for us to get swept away in worry.  I know my mind wanted to go to well what if something happens to us or something happens to the kids…but anytime that happened I just redirected my thoughts to something else.  Because it doesn’t serve us to worry.  My favorite quote by Eckhart Tolle is “Worry pretends to be necessary”  and this is so true.  Worry is not necessary.  It isn’t.  It doesn’t solve for anything.  And as my friend, Leann, reminded me, the one that talked me into going on the trip and helped me overcome the guilt, she reminded me that worry is just a misuse of the imagination.  We imagine all of the things that could go wrong.  And although, yes this might help us prepare for these possible situations, but we can also tend to go down a rabbit hole and imagine all the thing that could possibly go wrong and it just elicits this feeling of worry and fear and doubt.  And what happens is you experience these feelings as if that undesirable thing is actually happening to you now, when in fact it is just your imagination.  And the majority of the time, the things you are worried about going wrong almost never happen.  So do yourself a favor, and when you notice you are going down that rabbit hole, just repeat this Mantra “Worry pretends to be necessary” and “worry is just a misuse of the imagination”.  And I would say get to a place of empowerment by using your worry to your advantage.  So for example for me, I was worried about pickpocketers.  Instead of worrying i can just say well how can I be best prepared in case this were to occur?  And the answer is I got myself an rf id blocking cross body, i left my expensive jewelry including my wedding ring at home, i took pictures of my passport, id, and credit card and saved in a google drive folder.  Oh that reminds me, one more thing I wanted to suggest for you to do that I did to prepare for our trip was that I created google drive folders.  So I created one folder labeled “Paris” and in that folder i included our flight info, tickets, and hotel reservation.  That was really helpful because I kept everything that had to do with our trip in one easily accessible location which helped save me time and frustration.

 

So if you are considering taking a vacation away from the kids, do it!  I can tell you it served me and my family so well.  It was a much needed reset for me and I was able to connect with friends, an reconnect with my husband.  It was good for my kids, they got to spend some quality time with their grandmother and great aunt, and I know they will always fondly remember this time that they had with them.  And it allowed us some time away from eachother, it made me miss them and they missed me and then I think it made us really appreciate each other more.  Another thing I will say is I feel like it helped recharge my patience battery!  I definitely felt like my patience was better since I had ample time to rest and relax and to be able to just take care of myself, ya know.  So if you are contemplating going on a trip, then let this be your sign to pull the trigger!  Go on that trip friend!

 

So that concludes today’s show!  Thank you so much for taking the time to listen today!  I hope that you got what you were looking for in today’s episode and that it served you in some way.  If you have any questions about what I shared in today’s episode please feel free to reach out to me, send me a dm im on fb and ig @tanyavalentinecoaching. 

 

And remember,Simplify your trip planning by downloading my free template, designed to streamline the creation of an instruction manual for your children's caregiver. It's packed with everything they'll need, saving you time and eliminating guesswork. You can access this template using the link from wherever your listening to this episode or by going to tanyavaleninecoaching.com/35 and scrolling down to the resources section. Alright friends, that wraps it up! If you found value in todays episode I ask that you please share it with friends and family and if you could take the time to subscribe, rate and review this podcast I would forever be grateful as this helps more mamas like you find the show and benefit from the content shared here! Have an amazing week with your family! And happy vacation planning! Talk to you next week! Bye!

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