Solo travel is truly a self-care remedy for tired mothers. It is a time when moms can enjoy concentrated holistic self-care that puts them first. I’m a firm believer that solo travel can do wonders for us mentally, physically and spiritually.
Let me tell you why.
Using solo travel for self-care
If you think about it, solo travel is a form of respite.
When there are no demands on your attention or your time, you have an opportunity to focus on YOU.
- You can do things that you love or that you’d love to try but never have the time (think calypso or merengue lessons).
- You can arrange pampering time for yourself and take as long as you need.
- You can spend time decompressing via long walks, meditation, or physical activities like yoga.
The ultimate goal is to refill your drained cup.
Taking periodic self-care breaks has helped me return home feeling 100%. I come back a better woman for my family because I’m renewed, refreshed, and replenished by the experience.
Activities like taking quiet walks on the beach, hiking to a waterfall, relaxing on a sailboat, touring an art museum, wine tasting at a vineyard, sleeping by the pool, surrendering in a spa, exploring on a food tour, or simply sitting quietly on a deck contribute to that renewal.
Because I see travel as a necessity for my self-care instead of a luxury, I prioritize it. If you can also see travel this way, it will help you to justify why you need solo breaks as well.
What about childcare?
Figuring out childcare is no easy street for most moms with younger or school-aged kids. It takes A LOT of coordination.
And although it can be difficult, it’s necessary if you want to make your solo travel dreams a reality.
Married with children
If you’re married, you have to negotiate with your spouse. I am always negotiating with my husband…like several times a week!
Here’s what I mean specifically:
- Be proactive with the calendars. Check his calendar, your calendar, and the kids’ school calendar. Coordinate where you can find synergy and make an opening for yourself to slip away.
- If you take a solo trip, encourage him to do the same. If you go on a girlfriends’ getaway, encourage him to go on a guys’ trip.
For all the single ladies
If you don’t have a spouse, partner, or are dealing with constraints with a significant other, then you may need to call in the troops.
Don’t be afraid to add family who live nearby to the equation. Ask them for a favor.
We often fly in my mother-in-law up to watch the kids. In the past, I’ve dropped off my boys with my sister in New York or we’ve even had my brother-in-law watch the children.
One of the single ladies who traveled with me to Costa Rica shared a great piece of advice for moms who can’t count on a spouse or family members: do a swap with a close friend!
I love this idea.
Identify a friend who you’d feel comfortable leaving your children with for an overnight or for a few days.
Set up an arrangement whereby you all swap watching each other’s children so that you can each get time away.
Talk about a win-win situation.
You’re getting a time out and you’re also providing that gift to a friend as well.
Bottom line, if you want your solo travel plans to work you have to get creative. Not having a spouse, nanny, or family member nearby doesn’t have to kill the dream!
More creative ideas to help moms travel solo
If the budget allows, consider using sites like Care.com or check out nanny services for short-term or temporary nannies.
Work your way up to leaving your children with your providers for longer periods of time.
If you’re concerned with leaving them with someone you don’t know, this is where that pre-planning comes into play.
This strategy has to be set in motion way ahead of your intended travels in order for it to work. To feel comfortable leaving your children with someone other than family or friend takes a leap of faith.
To help with that leap set up a camera in your home to keep an eye on things.
My Vivint home security system has an in-home camera option. You can also use Amazon’s Cloud camera security system which essentially does the same thing.
All of these interior cameras are connected to apps on your phone where you can monitor from abroad as well as communicate with your home.
How to Take the First Step to Solo Travel for Self-Care
Start where you feel most comfortable. You want to start where things feel the easiest for you.
This can depend heavily on your resources or what’s available to you: time, money, and childcare.
A first step for the newbie solo traveler
Find an amazing property in your own city if you want to start local. Then when you’re ready, stay overnight in a city a few hours away.
Work your way up from there to another state, another region, another country, or another time zone.
Pushing yourself to go further for longer periods of time is called flexing your travel muscle.
You need to flex it for yourself and stretch it for your family until it becomes a strong habit.
Does your solo trip have to be totally solo?
That’s a good question to ask yourself. What does solo travel mean?
Within the context of family travel, I believe solo travel is a little broader than just traveling by yourself. I personally interpret it as traveling without your spouse or your kids.
For a mom, solo travel can mean traveling completely by yourself or traveling with a friend or traveling with a group of like-minded women.
Part of my job is to empower you to be comfortable with any one of these options and do the coordinating for you.
I enjoy watching the transformation that happens when I take a group of women who are ready to flex their travel muscles on a retreat or a getaway.
Our goals are to always have fun and focus on our self-care.
Whatever way you define solo travel, those should be a couple of your goals as well.
Self-care travel is about investing in yourself
As moms, we need to invest in our self-care. If we can do a better job at looking at self-care travel as an investment, the decision-making process would be a lot easier.
How is self-care travel an investment?
There is a return and there is a pay-off. The return is a renewed YOU.
The payoff is the benefit a renewed you offers to those around you. This could include your children, your spouse, your team or your employees.
Actionable Solo Travel Planning Steps for Moms
The best way to get started is to set a goal for yourself.
We’re going to set your travel goals using a framework called G.O.S.T: Goals, Objectives, Strategy, and Tactics
I first learned about this framework from Sean Jackson of The Digital Entrepreneur podcast. It’s a very useful framework to help you keep things simple.
So this is how we will start: Decide on your G, your travel goal. This is where you are going to decide the who, what, and where of your solo travel goal.
For example, your goal could be to go on a solo luxury spa getaway weekend within driving distance. #TravelGoals
- Are you traveling solo, with a friend or with a group?
- Will you travel overnight, for 2 days, for a long weekend, for the week?
- Will you travel by car, train, boat or plane?
- What city, state, region, country do you want to explore?
Let’s consider your O, your objective. This is when you put a measurable detail on your goal, basically a metric of sorts.
- Will you go on that solo trip in August of this year?
- Determine how much you’re willing to spend on your solo self-care trip. If there’s no limit, even better. One less thing to worry about it.
S is your strategy. This is where you decide how this is all going to work.
- Do you need to negotiate with your husband, partner or another family member?
- You may need to go during a time of year where you kids are occupied in school and on a schedule.
- You may need to travel when your kids are out of school and you can drop them off to someone’s house to watch them until you return.
And lastly, the T stands for your tactics. Essentially, this is your To Do List. Here is where you break down all the things you have to do to set your strategy in motion.
Remember, your strategy supports your objective which helps you to reach your travel goal. Here’s what part of that list might look like:
- Give yourself permission to invest in your self-care.
- Check the kids’ school calendar.
- Check your spouse’s calendar.
- Call mom to see if she is available to watch the kids.
- Check times and prices of flights.
- Sign up for a group retreat.
This is where a lot of the pre-pre-travel planning work comes into play. These are the more challenging tactics you have to take care of to make your vision a reality.
Some of it is about your mindset, some of it is about a shift in your behavior. All of it is coordination.
Get this part done and the rest is a breeze.
Yes!! I have the nerve to give you homework after you read through all of that.
I want you to write down your own G.O.S.T. and leave a comment below with your answer. This will serve as your very public accountability.
I’ll leave you a reply and offer some tips where appropriate. Can’t wait to see your vision for your solo self-care travel goals!
Share this post with a friend you’d love to see traveling as well.
Also published on Medium.