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The Importance of One-on-One Travel with Kids

Matt Villano

We Villanos are at our best when the four of us are together on the road, exploring foreign places, trying new foods, concocting crazy stories about the things we encounter and laughing about it all incessantly.

And yet, this coming weekend, I’m headed out of town with only one of my kids.

The trip is by design; between her mastery of the potty and her ability to behave herself in public without constant reminders, our Big Girl is old enough now to travel with us grown-ups one-on-one, and I want to celebrate this milestone by taking her to a place she’s always wanted to go. Just her and me. In Los Angeles. For the weekend.

I’ve blogged about our itinerary previously; the entire time we’ll be mixing business and pleasure. Still, for L, the trip will be none of that. It will be The First Trip Alone With Daddy.

This reality is a big deal for my daughter for a number of reasons.

First: What it means she’ll get. It’s a scientific fact that I’m a total pushover. For L, this likely means a) More snacks than normal, b) Later bedtimes than normal, and c) Unlimited listening to Taylor Swift.

Second: What it means she won’t have to worry about—namely, sharing her parents with the baby sister or the gym (or nasty faceless editors).

Third: What she calls “the go-go-go.” (Yours truly is notorious for cramming lots into a day.)

But the one-on-one trip with my Big Girl is a big deal for me, too. As much as I love little R, when we go away I’m painfully aware of all the things I could be doing with L if I didn’t have to look after a 16-month-old, too. What’s more, I love allowing my girls to stay up late on special occasions, and I’m happy to encourage the eating of French fries in (a hotel) bed.

Also worth noting: I crave the bonding time. As a travel writer, I spend a lot of time traveling for work, and Powerwoman hangs with the girls while I’m gone. Often I regale my girls with stories about my trips when I return. This time, L gets to be a part of those stories. As they happen.

Perhaps most important, it’s healthy for each parent (including my wife) to get some alone time with each kid (and vice versa). It strengthens relationships. It feeds the respective souls. And hopefully it will create memories that last a long, long while.

What’s your take on one-on-one vacationing? Leave a comment and let us know.