It’s no secret that parenting is a full-time job. It takes a lot of work to raise healthy, happy kids. And in this modern world, there are so many different things vying for our attention. There are school activities, homework time, the dishes you need to do after dinner (and breakfast, and lunch). There’s the laundry you put off last night because you were up late rocking the baby…the list goes on and on. It can be hard to find time to do things for yourself when you have young kids at home. So maybe it’s time to take a momcation and create some space to breathe, and travel without them?

If we’re honest with ourselves–despite how much we love our children–we must admit that parenting is also a bit exhausting. Especially if you’re the parent who’s with the kids 24/7. So leave your partner at home with the kids, and recharge for a few days.

What is a momcation?

A momcation is simply a trip or getaway you take away from your family. Sometimes that might be a “girls’ trip” with your closest friends, or it could be a solo retreat.

Some destinations or spas have momcation packages you could look into, but you can also create your own. You can take an affordable momcation on a budget or splurge on your dream trip. Whatever your definition of a momcation is, it’s worth the effort to make it happen.

This article focuses on the concept of a momcation as a solo trip taken to rest, reconnect with yourself, and recharge before hopping back into your recurring care tasks and normal daily routines.

Is it worth it to travel alone or should I go on a momcation with friends and family?

Honestly, if you’ve never traveled alone before, you may want to do that at least once. Friend trips and family vacations can be fantastic too, but if you’re overstressed and really need to relax and recharge, maybe you just need some time to not have to “answer to” anyone, on a solo getaway. No busy agenda, no one else’s preferences to take into account (we have so much of that as parents!), and absolute quiet… doesn’t that sound refreshing?

women on a girls trip

Here are 10 great ideas to inspire your solo trip.

1. Leave your partner at home with the kids, and recharge for a few days away from home for a momcation getaway.

Leaving your children in the care of someone else for a few days can be hard. But it’s also a great opportunity to get some time to yourself. A short break away from home can help rejuvenate your energy and keep stress at bay. No need to plan all the meals and activities for your family before you go. They’ll figure it out. Leaving things un-squared-away will relieve a lot of stress during your trip preparation. Plus it shows your partner how much you trust them. They’ve got this!

dad with kids climbing on him

2. Travel to destinations that are easier to get around without children

If you’re not sure where to go, consider a destination that’s easier to get around without children. Where would you like to go without worrying about childcare or car seats? For example, a trip to a city where you can get around by taxi will be simpler solo. Without strollers or car seats everything can move just a little more smoothly.

woman raising her hand to call a taxi

Maybe there’s an art gallery you’ve been dying to go to… But for once, you really want the opportunity to pay attention to the art. You’d love to read the descriptions, and stare as long as you want to without interruptions. And it’ll be even better to not have to worry about where multiple tiny sets of hands are!

Take advantage of the fact that you’re traveling as a lone adult, and go somewhere that would otherwise be inconvenient.

Travel with family on Joyful Abode:

3. Enjoy time in a pool or on the beach without worrying about child safety – one of my favorite momcation ideas.

Taking kids to the beach or pool can be a stressful experience. Besides applying and reapplying sunscreen to so many squirmy bodies, there’s a lot to be “on the alert” about. You’re watching them in and out of the water, ensuring they’re not too close to the edge. You might need to be protecting them from rougher kids. But at the very least, you’re making sure they don’t wander too far, and so much more.

woman relaxing in a pool with her eyes closed

It’s hard to relax when you’re constantly worrying about your child’s safety. But going solo on your next holiday is a great way to get some time for yourself without all those worries! You can enjoy the water without any stress at all. Maybe even floating on your back with your eyes closed, without stressing about your kids. No fearing for their lives lives, worrying about their skin burning, or fretting over losing someone.

Need a momcation on a budget?

The great news is that this is one of the cheap momcation ideas, because many affordable hotels have a pool, or you could just take a day trip to a local beach or a pool you’re already a member of, and leave your family at home.

4. Spend some quality alone time reading, writing, or just relaxing by yourself.

As a mother, you probably find yourself doing a lot of repetitive care tasks, and the time and energy you have for your own interests might start to decline. Laundry, dishes, cleaning toilets, and dusting will always be there for you… but unless you protect the time for your creative pursuits, those might just slip away.

So, while on a solo trip, you have the perfect opportunity to jump back into those things without interruptions from kids or housework. Pick up a novel your friend’s been raving about, and read it from start to finish if you want to- no one is going to ask for a snack, overflow the toilet, or vomit on the carpet (looking at my dog here).

Or take some time to brain-dump all the things you’ve been thinking about writing… because as you know, when someone interrupts (even if it’s something sweet, like showing you a picture they drew or a Lego creation), it always takes a few minutes to get back on track. What could you do if you weren’t interrupted even once?

woman writing in journal in front of a window

As important as these our kids are, and as urgent as each home task may be, they can get in the way of your creativity. Thankfully, a solo trip provides an opportunity for moms to reclaim at least a little bit of your creative self by letting you focus on yourself without having any interruptions from children or chores around the house. It’s okay to want that!

5. Take care of something you’ve been putting off for yourself….or do something indulgent like getting a massage or pedicure! (Check for momcation packages at your favorite spa.)

Whether you’ve been craving an hours-long hair treatment, a massage, a pedicure, or just a teeth cleaning or annual exam… your solo trip might be a great time to schedule that. You’ll already have arranged childcare for the whole time, and it will be simple for you to get ready to go from a quiet and clean hotel room.

spa flatlay with bath salt and plants

I’ve actually had massage therapy appointments (necessary after a car accident) with my little kids in the room. They were trying to be quiet and had things to occupy themselves, but I still had to field about 30 questions per hour, while on the table. And try breaking up sibling squabbles with the dentist’s hands in your mouth – I’ve been there too.

So while it may not sound glamorous to schedule even “boring” self-care during a solo trip, it’s something to consider. But if you’re caught up on that stuff (yay you if so!), maybe take the opportunity for a pampering session. Some hotels even work together with spas and can have professionals come to you for services so you don’t even need to get in the car! Hotels like this can be some of the best momcation destinations!

6. Enjoy a grown-up meal without sharing or buying overpriced kids meals.

When you’re on your solo trip, take advantage of being able to choose your restaurant and order freely. You won’t even have to glance at the kids’ menu to see whether boxed mac n cheese is $12 a bowl as a parent tax. You can finally enjoy some gourmet crab cakes and chew at your own rate. Honestly, eating alone is one of my favorite solo momcation ideas!

gourmet steak meal plated nicely

And order your loaded fries without having to hold back on the jalapenos or share with a bunch of little people with grubby hands.

Note: I really really do love my kids. But it’s also ok to not ALWAYS want them grabbing stuff off of my plate, or even politely asking to do so.

What grown-up meal have you been dreaming of? Maybe the restaurant will even deliver to your hotel!

7. Stay in bed all day if you want! Or close the blinds and take a midday nap!

Occasionally, as a mom, trying to nap is necessary for me. Whether I’ve been up until midnight with a child having a meltdown, or my racing mind was to-do-list-ing for hours in bed, sometimes I don’t get enough sleep at night.

But I say *trying* to nap, because generally that looks like me turning on Curious George and laying down on the couch, telling the kids to only wake me for an emergency. But they want to sit on me, or snuggle me, or show me a cool rock, or ask me to unscrew their too-tight water bottle lid. So naps can be pretty unsuccessful at home.

If you’ve ever asked your kids to just let you rest for one minute, and they needed you again after 30 seconds of silence, you know what I mean.

Solo trips give moms the perfect opportunity to indulge in a “me day” or even stay in bed all day if that’s what you want. Sleep as long as you can, if that’s what you want to do. OR wake up to greet the sunrise with a beautiful morning walk, knowing you’ll be able to have an afternoon nap without interruption. Gotta love those room-darkening curtains!

smiling woman napping in a comfortable couch on a porch in a tropical location

While you may never CATCH UP on all of your missed sleep, you can see what it feels like to wake up naturally – no alarms, no one needing you. If that’s the only thing you get out of your solo momcation, it might just be worth it!

8. Go on an adventure or try something new by yourself.

Want to try a new activity and just worry about yourself while you’re doing it? Solo travel is a great time to try something new! Whether it’s going to the ice skating rink, trying a ropes course, indoor skydiving, taking an afternoon cooking class, or axe throwing, go for it!

woman smiling on a ropes course alone

You can check out some new stuff, and whatever your favorites are, bring your family or partner next time.

9. Give yourself permission to relax and do nothing if you want to.

When you travel solo, you don’t have to do anything.

At all.

You don’t have to pamper yourself, or have some great epiphany, or “catch up” on sleep so you can come home refreshed (no pressure, right?), or finish writing your novel.

You don’t have to eat gourmet food or go to a museum. You don’t have to get your hair colored or watch the sun rise. If you don’t sleep in or binge-watch your favorite show, there’s no problem.

woman binge watching a favorite show in bed holding the remote

Whatever you do on your trip, make sure you’re not creating more pressure and expectation for yourself. Which means… it’s okay to NOT. It’s okay if all you do is sit on the side of the bed and stare at the wall for 3 days.

It’s okay to go to bed at a normal time and wake up at your usual early-o’clock. It’s okay if you don’t do anything special, and it’s okay if you don’t “recharge.”

Even some space and time away from normal life will be valuable for its own reasons… but you might not know where the value will come from until you do it. So will you make it happen for yourself? Even just as an experiment?

Waiting for a sign to take your solo momcation retreat?

You do so much to take care of everyone else in your home. But no one can keep going 24/7/365 without a break. It’s not even about *deserving* a break… people need breaks. Period. Otherwise they’re going to burn out.

So if you can’t remember the last time you didn’t have to take care of someone else’s needs, you’re long overdue for a solo trip. The benefits of a momcation are WELL worth the effort to make it happen. Go for it.

woman in a yellow dress and a hat walking away holding a suitcase over her shoulder

Are you ready to take a solo mama trip?

Your momcation is a chance to get away from your normal life and breathe. With these 9 tips for solo mom travel, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience.

And that’s without feeling guilty about not being with your kids – your partner’s got this. Also remember to release yourself from the pressure of requiring yourself to be “recharged” afterward – whether or not that happens, it’ll still be valuable.

Since every mom has different needs when it comes to relaxing, make sure that you’re giving yourself permission to do nothing if you want, or plan adventures and outings if that sounds better to you.

If all of this sounds interesting, take the first step toward planning your solo mama travel today. Start browsing hotels or nail down a date when your partner can take over.

What are your experiences with momcation type solo travel?

Comment with your solo travel ideas and experiences so we can share notes. The more momcation ideas we can get, the better! That way every mom can create their personal retreat that works best for recharging.

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  1. I’m on a solo momcation right now – my 2nd annual! It’s absolutely amazing although my husband, mom, and oldest daughter think I’m going through a midlife crisis because I left them. It took 22 years to get the courage to take a break and I’m so glad I did, for all the reasons you mentioned.

  2. 5 stars
    It was midwinter in Minnesota the first time I did this. I checked into a local motel that had a kitchenette. I went cross-country skiing all by myself. I came back and fixed a single cup of hot chocolate then crawled into bed and read until I fell asleep.

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