- My husband and I have been together for over 20 years.
- He enjoys camping and hiking, and I’m more into spending time in a hotel in a new city.
- Finding childcare for our three kids is expensive, making solo travel even more appealing.
My husband and I are one of those couples who are still in love after 20 years together. We love spending time with one another, but we also value our alone time. In fact, most of the vacations we take — apart from family trips with our three sons — are solo ones.
Solo vacations work for my relationship because we’re both introverts, and getting time alone allows us to recharge, while affording us the opportunity to miss each other.
We like spending our time differently
While we have a lot in common, we have different ways of using our downtime. My husband is an avid outdoorsman who loves to camp and fish. I enjoy the outdoors but am not a “happy camper.” I also suffer from an autoimmune disease — rheumatoid arthritis — that hinders my hiking ability and stamina in the wild.
I know that my husband needs time in nature to decompress, as he gives so much of himself in his job as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. He enjoys solo camping trips and will take our three sons on separate outings, which allows me to have time for myself to either relax in an empty house or take my own vacation.
For me, a perfect solo vacation involves booking a hotel for a night or two in a nearby city and spending some time alone. Having a hotel room to myself feels amazing and allows me time to read, write, soak in a bath, and get a break from taking care of everyone’s needs around me. I also use the time to shop and catch up with friends.
Childcare is hard to find
When my children were very young, it was hard for me to take time for myself, especially for more than a few hours. It also took me a long time to learn that I didn’t need to rely on “girls trips” with my friends to get away. I could simply go alone. When I tell women that I stay in hotels by myself, the response is usually surprise, followed by, “That sounds wonderful.” I have to admit it is.
Another reason my husband and I take solo vacations is that it is very difficult for us to get childcare. We love traveling together and wish we could do more of it, but it’s not always practical when you’re a parent without outside help.
The cost of childcare is on the rise, a survey from Care.com found. More than half of the respondents said they’re more concerned about childcare costs now than in years prior. Solo trips are more economical for our family and allow us to budget for vacations for our entire family.
Rather than taking trips together, my husband and I find other ways to connect such as weekly date nights. Our oldest son is 15, so we can now leave our kids alone for a couple of hours. We also make an effort to send each other short messages or GIFs during the day. I have found that it’s often the little things we do on a consistent basis in a relationship that fosters intimacy and connection.
There will come a time when it will be easier for my husband and I to take trips together, which is something we greatly look forward to. For now, we are making the best of a busy time in our lives, and that includes taking solo vacations.