We-ell…I figure there are so many great, informative websites and blogs dedicated to travelling with babies and toddlers that perhaps there is a niche in the market for advice about travelling without children too. Or…people probably just call that ‘travelling’. Yeah, I’m never going to be an innovative entrepreneur (I couldn’t even spell it without spell check). I’m especially not going to be a “mummypreneur” because that just sounds awful and is just a tad condescending. An entrepreneur is an entrepreneur full stop – no need for trendy catch phrases. No-one calls a man a “daddypreneur”. Wow, I’m tired. When I’m tired, I get a little bit off track. Where was I?
OK…tips for travelling without children…
1. Book the least convenient, most exhausting flight ever.
This will ensure that you are still able to enjoy that familiar tired feeling the whole time you are away. I myself, just enjoyed a particularly wonderful red eye flight or two over to the other side of the country. Try to sit near someone who works night shift (as I couldn’t help but overhear) and who is happy to chat to strangers for a full 3.5 hours in the wee hours without taking a breath. Make sure their voice penetrates every peaceful, doze-off moment you have, with talk about the weather and what they do for fun. Make sure you choose an airline that will try to feed its passengers breakfast at 3am your local time. This will confuse your body and your mind, much like having a child does.
You’ll be so tired you won’t have the energy to watch the inflight entertainment or sit guilt free on the internet for hours. So basically, it will be just like normal.
You need to adjust to not having a child with you (let’s face it – you’re usually attached at the hip) and this will work. Within hours, you’ll be complaining about being tired while you eat uninterrupted, with both hands. This is progress.
2. Try to sit still and stop being educational.
When you’re waiting around anywhere (airports especially), you must resist the urge to wander fast paced around the place, in no particular direction (as you would when constantly following a restless toddler). You must be lazy and sit on your bum thinking about how bored you are and how awkward it is when you’re seated opposite a row of people in the terminal and you’re all trying to look like you’re not staring at each other. Try not to rush up to the big windows and start telling people about how that’s the plane you’re going to be flying on and start making funny plane noises to illustrate your point.
When your adult travelling companion (let’s just say your brother) is reading the inflight magazine before take off, try not to read over his shoulder, pointing at a picture of a cow and saying, “Cow. Mooooo.”
Same goes for all other types of animals (especially the ones who make interesting sounds).
It won’t be received well.
3. Pack too much stuff. For yourself. At the last minute. No planning.
When travelling without your child, your personal luggage allowance will expand significantly. Take advantage of this, by packing almost everything you own, without any real forethought. Be spontaneous and live a little! Arrive at your destination and realise that perhaps you didn’t need 4 heavy jackets, 5 pairs of leggings, that gorgeous party dress (you aren’t even attending a party) and about 15 million tops. Especially when you’re only really away for two full days. Get laughed at by other adults who are supposed to love and support you. Travelling without a child is just soooo hard. People should understand.
4. Make a mess.
Not having a child with you may tempt you to do crazy things like style your hair or wear white. Don’t let this stop you from making a mess – particularly while eating. Try to become that person ‘you can’t take anywhere’ instead. It will fill the gaping hole in your soul that you feel because you left your own child at home. I personally like to watch a fried egg (sunny side up) slide off my plate and onto my lap (sunny side up), before frantically dabbing at the grease marks with a serviette dipped in my drinking water.
I also like to be uncoordinated with cutlery, letting prawns from my pad thai bounce off me and onto the floor. It’s comforting, right? It’s what a toddler would do, so it brings a feeling of warmth and familiarity to an adults’ meal experience while travelling.
5. Stop scanning a venue for childproofing/entertaining/safety purposes.
Stop right there. Stop looking for where they keep the high chairs at that cafe. Stop scanning peoples’ houses for childproofing opportunities. Don’t look at your aunty’s beautiful shell collection just sitting there on a plate and think, “Whoa, my child would love to throw those everywhere.”
Just be. Just enjoy table centre pieces. Put your glass right near the edge of the table. Don’t worry about whether you’d fit a stroller into that gorgeous little boutique (which is never access friendly). Appreciate arty things in galleries, without wondering how long it will be before someone will break them. Stand still for half an hour in one spot, just pondering about something simple. Live on the wild side. I dare you.
See also…tips for buying guilt presents for the return home, fantasising about ideal reunion moments with your toddler (including a rock star parent moment), walking with a ‘swish’ in your step like a lady who doesn’t have anyone hanging off her (remember the swish?), and trying not to get children’s TV show theme songs stuck in your head, despite the fact you haven’t watched a children’s show in days.
What do you enjoy most about travelling without children?