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Adults in an airport traveling without children

Preparing for a Child-free Vacation

Robert won a trip for two to Costa Rica. As we excitedly made plans to get away from the stress and activity of daily life, the biggest challenge for me was leaving Annabel. We’d never been apart for that long, and leaving the country felt like we’d be so far away. We decided to take these steps to lessen our stress and make the trip feel more manageable.


Robert’s mother, Debbie, would fly up from Texas to stay with Annabel and the dogs. To maintain some routine and give Debbie a break, my parents would keep their normal babysitting day. And, I would leave a couple of neighbors’ phone numbers for potential play dates.


How do you explain to a 2-year-old that you will be back in a few days?

  • Every night before bed in the week leading up to our departure, I told Annabel a story about how Nana would arrive on a plane and we would have a day to play together. Then Mommy and Daddy would get on a plane and go visit the monkeys in Costa Rica. She loves monkeys, especially ones named Curious George. This was her favorite part of the story. I explained that Nana would take good care of her and the dogs until Mommy and Daddy flew back home. I’m not sure she understood the “being away” part, but she did tell me that Mommy and Daddy were going to fly on a plane.
  • I made a list of phone numbers including her pediatrician, Premier Pediatrics. I put Debbie on the pediatrician’s list for Annabel and left her insurance card along with the phone numbers hanging on the fridge.

Staying Connected

Annabel was asleep when we left, so we created a video of us saying goodbye and telling her we love her and that we would see her in a couple of days. We took photos and videos of the plane and flight and sent them to Debbie to show Annabel. When we did FaceTime, she asked, “Where are you?” and then told us about her day and the dogs.


Annabel told Debbie, “I miss Mommy and Daddy.” Even so, she spent hours contentedly playing with Nana, and since her normal mealtime and bedtime routines were in place, she cooperated very well. Annabel carried her doll family around most of the week; keeping the mommy, daddy and baby together. I love that she knew how to help herself cope.


If we were expecting Annabel to be as excited to see us as we were her, we were sadly disappointed. We arrived well after Annabel was asleep for the night. First thing in the morning we heard her wake up and went rushing to get her. Her first words after not seeing me for almost a week were, “Mommy! Mommy! I pooped!” Back to reality and a diaper change. She was clingier than usual for about a day, wanting to be held and to have our undivided attention, but before long we were back in the normal stride of life, and our trip to Costa Rica was a pleasant memory.

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About Kate Hayes

About Kate  Hayes Kate Hayes lives in Virginia Beach, VA and is a first time parent to Annabel – born on July 22, 2015. Kate is a yoga and aerial fitness instructor. She especially enjoys teaching on the beach, and is certified in laughing yoga, and prenatal yoga. Kate and her husband, Robert, enjoy spending time with their daughter and their two dogs.