Mim Jenkinson

Travel of any kind is a rare treat for us as a family. Gone are the days of regular weekends away with the girls or two-week beach breaks.

Now we plan our travel around the needs of our small family and let’s just say, it’s a different experience. Less cocktails and full moon parties and more family-friendly adventures! Oh, and more bags. So. Many. More. Bags.

My mission when packing used to be how many different outfits I could squeeze into my carry-on bag. Now my aim is to cram as much as I can to cover the family for any possible eventuality.  That means numerous changes of clothes, entertainment, medical kits and more. If there’s a corner of a suitcase spare, I’m squeezing something useful into it. The result? Heavy luggage and lots of it. But it also means there’s way less stress on holidays when everything, except the kitchen sink from home, is at your fingertips.

So when I travelled without the kids for the first time recently, it was a bit of a joy to go back to taking only that one carry-on bag. My arm, with its new-found freedom, didn’t quite know what do with itself. It was so used to carrying twenty bags or wrangling a two-year old. Then I started to realise how dependant I had become on some of those family travel essentials.

mum travelling without kids

So if you’re travelling without kids for the first time, bear some of these points in mind:

1. Baby Wipes are Life

You’ll never truly realise how omnipotent baby wipes are until you’re without a packet. As well as being a nappy-changing essential, these beauties can get you out of a messy situation pronto.

From cleaning up a spill to removing a stain from your clothing, they’re a life-saver for most conceivable messes. If you have a packet of wipes on hand, you can be pretty confident that you’ll be able to clean up pretty much anything. If you don’t, well, you’re going to have to resort to being careful.

2. Phantom Cries

You know you’re travelling without the kids. You know they’re safe at home. But when you hear the cry of another one, it sends shivers down your back. The frenzied panic I felt every time I heard another child’s cry was short lived but disconcerting nonetheless. Which brings me on to the next point…

carry-on luggage

3. Parent Guilt

You can probably add “travelling without the kids” to your long list of things to feel guilty about. Whether you’re travelling for work or fun, and whether it’s essential travel or not, you’ll likely have pangs of guilt about leaving your little ones at home. Whilst that feeling might be impossible to fully shake, regular video calls home do help.

4. Freedom

Not having a pre-determined schedule for every hour of the day can be so liberating! It can also be completely terrifying – but let’s stick with the positives. Depending on your reason for travel, you’ll have a taste of what it was like pre-kids. Set your own schedule. Eat your own meal in peace without having to share. Stretch out in a big bed. Enjoy a sleep-in. Imagine that? Make the most of it.

packing items

5. You’re more than just a Parent

The first time you travel without the kids, you’ll remember what life was like before you became a parent. Whilst you might be temporarily free of some of the responsibilities of parenthood for a few days, you’ll be hit with the sudden realisation that you’re now more responsible… for yourself.

That means making actual grown up conversation with other adults and not having your little one around as an easy conversation starter. Gulp!

When you travel without kids you have to put your big kid pants on take responsibility for your own actions. No blaming the kids for making a mess or breaking something (as if you would!).

So whilst you might be downsizing your luggage and amplifying your freedom, my advice would be to cover the essentials you still need.

Be open to making friends and networking. Schedule in some calls home to the kids. Obtain travel insurance and take some emergency medical supplies. And no matter how small your bag, always make room for baby wipes.


Mim Jenkinson is an Aussie mum of two small children who is passionate about travel and sharing simple tips and tricks to help busy parents. She shares her best advice on her blog Love From Mim

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the Policy Documents available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.