A long time ago, I posted 5 Tips for Traveling with Children (#1 was “Don’t”), but now it’s time to move beyond that (since my spawn can walk and talk), to something a lot more relaxing: traveling alone.
Recently, before my trip to Hollywood to abduct Colin Firth attend Oprah’s After Oscar Party, I did some advanced planning that made getting away from my six-year-old twins slightly easier than herding sheep on roller skates.
Here are my 5 Tips for Leaving Home without Children.
Tip 1: Book something non-refundable
My daughter, who loves deeply (and loudly), becomes a note production factory the week before I leave home. She’ll write notes that say, “My heart is bursting because you’re leaving.” She’ll draw pictures like this one. She said, “This is to protect your heart so no robber steals it.” Doesn’t she know I have a Colin Firth thing? Regardless, non-refundable tickets are good.
Tip 2: Leave Notes
Although I can’t beat Vivian at her note-writing game, I can use her currency. I like to leave notes everywhere: in my kids’ lunch bags, in their underwear drawers, by their toothbrushes, and in their books. I usually leave one for my husband that says, “This is your only note.”
Tip 3: Bring a Stuffed Animal to Remind You of Your Kids
Vivian and William were thrilled to know I was bringing Thing 1 and Thing 2 with me. They didn’t realize that the reason I packed these pint-sized stuffies was primarily for blog fodder. Whatever the reasons I brought Thing 1 and Thing 2, my kids loved seeing the pictures of them posed with various people, real and commemorated.
Tip 4: Buy Gifts Before You Go
My neighbour clued me into this one. If you buy a gift and hide it before you go, you don’t have to spend time shopping on your trip nor do you have to factor in inflation3 if you buy one at the airport. When Vivian opened her pre-bought gift, she put it on the couch and went to play with something else.
Tip 5: Send a Card Before You Leave
Sending postcards or letters when you’re traveling is complicated: it involves buying a postcard, finding stamps, writing on it, and mailing it. This is three steps too many for me when I’m traveling. So I mailed two cards the day before I left. Of course, they arrived on different days, which is not a good plan when you have twins. This means there are two choices: (1) give one twin her postcard and let the other one learn a quick lesson in delayed gratification; (2) put the postcard that arrived on the fridge, throw the second one up there when it comes, and forget to give them to your kids. Yes, I chose the latter, which means I wasted a buck on stamps.