This wasn't the first and won't be the last time I take the kids out of town solo. It's never easy, but it's always worth it. A lot of times we just call it sleepovers because it centers around me picking a nice hotel where we swim, make s’mores, and stay up late playing games with room service. Our trips haven't been particularly adventurous until this past year now that they are getting bigger. They've mostly been a way for us to really bond. I'm not on a crazy schedule so we take our time, we color, someone else cleans up after us and brings dinner to the room, and I just really use that time to give them my total undivided attention. It's usually around when my husband is already out of town so it ends up being easier for us both to be in a new environment.
Our trip to South Lake Tahoe was super spontaneous. I talked myself out of driving out of town with the kids on my own at least 3x in 24 hours because I do spend the night out of town with just us, but more like pick an easy resort and two hours or so away and go swimming. At most, we maybe leave the place once or twice and just hang out on the property. It’s also never been a destination that felt so “very middle of nowhere” on my own.
I would have loved to rent a kayak or boat because the water is so beautiful and crystal clear, but I stuck to activities this round that I thought I could manage on my own easily. We stuck to hiking and exploring the lake. I picked out hiking trails and beaches that were pretty popular so there was pretty much always a lot of people around even if the areas we were at looked desolate in photographs. I didn't geotag where we were while I was gone because as much as I love chatting online, there are still too many people out there that could use that information to target a woman who is traveling on her own. Actually, I exercise that same bit of caution online as I never mention my kid's school or camps or post a photo with them wearing any school tees.
I thought I was going to chat more about what we did while we were gone (Mostly Eagle Falls, Sand Harbor Beach, and exploring the city to eat), but I got so many DMs and questions from friends about traveling on my own with the kids that I decided to make this post about that.
Here are a few of my tips if you are going to attempt a few nights away like this yourself before the summer is out:
Be Alert: I'm an optimistic person, but my father has instilled street smarts into me from day one. I'm never going to be the person who just leaves their purse on a chair during a birthday party, and when traveling, I'm always going to remain on high alert especially if I'm traveling solo without my husband because there are crazy people out there who target women and women who may be alone with children. I make it very clear to my children that not all people are good people and I'm here to protect them, but I need their help sticking close to me and listening so I can keep us all safe.
Let Someone Know Where You Are: We planned really last minute, but my husband had our hotel information and we just got our daughter a Gizmo which also acts as a location tracker so we had that with us and activated so he could stay on top of where we were in case we had any issues.
Hotels/Resorts > Airbnb: So everyone may not agree with me here, but I felt 110% more secure staying in a hotel with multiple other guests, kid-friendly, with and someone we could check in with more than I did trying to be in contact with a homeowner and then being off in the woods somewhere on our own. For all that we may as well went camping somewhere on our own. . . . which wasn't something I felt comfortable doing on my own.
Talk Through What Happens If You Get Separated: I just got my daughter a Gizmo which is like an Apple Watch for kids that you can program up to 10 numbers of people they can contact by calling or texting. I felt much more at ease knowing she could call me if we got separated (when we weren't in areas with no cell service while hiking!). For both children, I've always told them to look for a mommy and yell out my full name instead of "mommy" if they ever got lost. In a mommy and me class, they explained that teaching this to young children can help so you can identify them in a crowd where there may be a ton of other kids saying mommy and to specifically tell them to look for a woman for help because women will most likely commit to helping a young child while a man may be hesitant of looking like he was trying to run off with them. My kids are of an age that they can remember my phone number, but there are companies who make tattoos of your name and number you can put on a child's wrist for the day that I've ordered for things like days at Disneyland when they were too young for basic conversation.
Are you heading anywhere with the littles this summer? DM me @jasminepennamma and let me know. I’d love to hear!