Travel Without Kids: What to Leave at Home

As we wrap up a summer of family vacations, camps and houses packed with kids, you might be ready to run away! Just thinking about some upcoming alone time with my significant other is enough to keep me trudging on.

You might be fortunate enough to have grandparents jumping at the chance to watch your darlings. Or perhaps other relatives or close friends. Heck, you may even be so burnt out you’d like to leave them with a stranger off the street. Whomever you leave the kids with and no matter where you are headed or for how long, here are some essentials to leave at home. 

Essentials to Leave at Home When Traveling Without Kids

Insurance Cards

Doctor and hospital preference with phone numbers and addresses. In all of the 13 years we’ve been going on vacation without our children, this was only needed 1 time!

Directions on How to Work the TV

Seems dumb, but not all TVs or remotes are created equally. Especially if your TV has a surround sound speaker system that needs a special remote to turn on!

House Alarm/Camera Directions

If you are gone for an overnight and still want your little cherubs secured, don’t forget to leave instructions on how to turn this bad boy off and on!

Mom-Approved Outings

For out-of-town guests, this is a great way to give them entertainment options close by! Mom tip: leave address and hours of operation to make things easier for your child watchers.

Restaurants/Fast Food Your Kids Will Eat

This sounds silly, but this may actually save your caregiver some grief! Mom tip: leave what your kids get so that they don’t trick the poor grandparents into buying 40 nuggets at McDonalds because, “Yeah, we get this all the time!”

Craft/Games/Science Project

This is great for grandparents that are looking to connect but maybe just don’t know how to manage that with different ages! Leaving something on your child’s level is a great way for them to bond! Mom tip: If you play a game with family rules, you may need to leave a note with those before your toddler tries to massacre grandpa because he won’t let her win the princess game!

The Weird List

You know your house better than anyone else so if the upstairs toilet handle needs to be jiggled after flushing…let the people know! If your oven buttons have popped off (totally not me) then leave a key! If the back door locks automatically, save the sitter a phone call to the locksmith! 

House Rules

Let’s face it, things aren’t going to run the same. It’s like having a substitute in the classroom. If I’m not there it’s just going to be different. So ONLY write down the rules that you think are of the utmost importance and need to be followed for the sanity of all! If sugar after 8 p.m. makes Rowen cranky, then for the love of god, let grandma know that! If it’s just your preference not to have slime in the house, but really no one is going to die if they play with slime then just smile and nod when you return and there is a 5-pound bucket of it on your kitchen counter! (Threw it away the moment grandma left!)

Kid Must Haves

You know that yellow binky with the flowers that must be used only at breakfast and the pink cup and green fork that have to be used for lunch. Tell the adult in charge! Whether they follow that or not is up to them, but at least help them out. My daughter used to wear a cape all day long. Why? No one knows! But that pink cape was a must have item no matter its condition, smell or where we were going. We left town, and my mom said she couldn’t wear it to Target. I had not yet wised up to leaving notes about the crazy in my household and it was an entire day of 3 year old hysterics!

Outdoor Play Guidelines

Can they ride bikes around the neighborhood? What is the policy for checking in? Who can come in the house and whose houses do you approve of? While older kids can verbalize all of this, sometimes they might try and bend the rules (I mean, never my own kids!). Or grandma might drop them off at a friend’s house to play and then forget which house it was (Um…yeah…that one was rough!)

Bottom line, leaving our kids is hard for any amount of time. Why not take the necessary steps to make sure that things run as smoothly as possible while you are gone and you can do nothing but relax!

Marsha Roth
“I’m Marsha, the devoted wife of a Nebraska Husker fan, mother to a sweet laid back 11-year-old boy named Kellen and a 9-year-old spunky know-it-all named Rowen. I am a Kansas City native, proud Northwest Bearcat Alumni, and enthusiastic 4th grade teacher! I enjoy stolen moments where I can read in peace, indulging in chocolate chip cookies whenever possible, tending to my vegetable garden and finding new ways to annoy my daughter! My goal in life is to be my authentic self, follow the motto of ‘She did what she could,’ and share that with other moms!”