5 ways for parents to get quiet time on family trips

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family travel Taraneh Jerven

Family travel is what we’re all about.  We revel in the group discoveries – discovering stuff about each other as well as new cultures –  along the way. In short: we love it.

But you know how your small folk need nap time in order to be nice small people rather than tiny, screamy monsters? Parents need down time too, especially during family travel. You need to create quiet time in order to navigate the logistics and appreciate the new experiences family travel entails.

How do you find alone time on a busy group trip? Here are 5 ways to make it happen.

1. Take a solo morning run or walk

We would recommend doing this even if you’re traveling alone. Head out before your place wakes up and explore. There’s something magical about watching the morning bustle start up, whether you’re in Paris or the wilderness.

Bonus: while your destination slumbers, you get total alone time, not just from your family, but from all humanity. Demonstrate your ongoing commitment to meaningful group time by bringing home a newly baked croissant.

2. Run recon missions

Traveling, especially with babies and toddlers brings, up a lot of “how the heck does this work?” scenarios. Sometimes, you improvise. Other times, it’s super helpful to have one parent do reconnaissance missions. Parents on solo recon missions get alone time while making life better for the rest of the group.

They can book a table at the restaurant where the staff never answers the phone. Determine how to get a stroller into a museum surrounded by stairs. Grab a bottle of wine from that tiny shop full of breakable, beautiful things. Check the opening hours on the carousel, so you don’t have to bring junior and tell him/her the horses are sleeping…

3. Use a coworking spaces

One way we manage to take long family trips is to work part time on the road. We scope out coworking spaces and rent an apartment nearby. The parent obligated to work gets some quiet time, and a glimpse of the creative and entrepreneurial culture in their chosen destination.

4. Enforce nap time

Travel gets us out of routines. This can be liberating and thrilling. But for small folk, it can be exhausting to lose the security of routines every single day. If you skip naptime for an adventure one day, make sure and have it the next day. Then parents lie can also down, have a peaceful moment, or read something quietly and calmly while they’re snoozing.

5. Rely on a grandparent, or other family member

Our resident grandparent mom would say wisdom is the big perk of getting gramma or grandpa on your family trip. We aren’t going to disagree. But we also highly value grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. because they can hang out with your small folk while you take a minute to breathe, or transform your hair from matted rat’s nest to clean and shiny.

Let them pass their wisdom on to the small folk, while you’re MIA.

Lead image: Sunrise in Lombardy by Eric Hossinger.

About author

Small Folk Travel

Small Folk Travel is a family travel site by mama and travel writer Taraneh Jerven. The Jerven family (two toddlers, one bun in the oven) travels incessantly. When researching our trips, we couldn't find the family travel coverage we were looking for. We did our own research. We wrote the family travel guides ourselves. Taraneh Jerven writes for international travel publishers including RoughGuides.com and DK Eyewitness Travel. We cover good stuff for discerning parents and their little ones. Often these overlap. If they don't, we take turns.

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