Thinking about taking your kids on a trip but your spouse can’t make it? Here’s what you need to know about vacationing without your spouse!
My husband peers through the screen of my phone as my son runs through the opulent Canmore lodgings, giving him a high speed video tour of what he’s missing. “So are you ever coming home?” my husband asks. Only if I have to…
Like a lot of couples, one of our jobs (mine) offers more flexibility than the other’s (his.) With the two weeks of holiday he is allotted, our vacation days are carefully mapped out, built around statutory holidays where ever we can, and spent very, very cautiously. So what’s a spouse to do the rest of the year? Just stay at home? I can work anywhere I can plug in my laptop and hop onto the Wi-Fi, and this year particularly the prospect of Spring Break stuck at home with the kids looked mighty bleak. Unfortunately the prospect of travelling as the lone adult with my kids didn’t seem that much better.
Luckily, I have friends! Friends who like good times and are able to book off work. You probably have friends like that too. If you don’t, I recommend getting some. My eldest son is good friends with a little boy whose mom very conveniently is such a friend, and they were on board for a road trip adventure.
Tip: If you are considering a trip sans spouse, pick a spot that’s not too far. Being the only parent can add some stress to your travels, and you don’t want to arrive already exhausted.
We set our sights on Canmore-Kananaskis for a quick getaway from our home base in Edmonton and some end of season skiing.
We booked in at the Grande Rockies Resort, a sprawling property that is an easy walk to downtown Canmore. We had the palatial 3-bedroom Grande Penthouse, which sleeps up to eight people and would be a beautiful choice for large groups travelling together. The five of us (me and my two boys, my friend and her son) played musical bedrooms and slept in almost every configuration. All three boys together, a mom in each room, two boys together, a mom and a son, a mom and two sons, just not two moms, although we probably could have happily napped together on the couch… We enjoyed our down time in the beautiful room, with the boys having fun playing on the balconies while we soaked in the breath-taking mountain view with our coffee/wine/margaritas (depending on the time of day, natch.)
Tip: Having so much room was perfect for travelling in a non-family group as we were each able to have our own space and never felt on top of each other. Actually that might be nice for a family group too. Depends on the family, I guess!
We made great use of the pool area (after an emergency “Oh my gosh I forgot my swimsuit!!” stop in Calgary.) There is a toddler wading pool with a little slide, a larger pool with a towering slide that empties into the deep end, and my personal favourite, an indoor/outdoor hot pool. Be prepared for the possibility of a bit of a hike: our room was quite far from the pool area, but on such a large property there is no getting away from that!
Tip: Step outside your traditional family vacation rut and mix it up with activities you might not usually do as a family. Different people mean you can try different things!
We did occasionally leave the luxury of the Grande Rockies Resort, our main adventure being spring skiing at Nakiska. I grew up in Saskatchewan, my friend is from hilly-but-not-mountainous Ontario, and our boys are born and raised Edmontonians. To call us skiers would be a leap I wouldn’t dream of making. But we are generally up for a good time, and the beautiful spring sunshine beckoned us to spend some time outside. Truth be told, it was actually a bit too nice to be on the mountain as the snow, especially on the bunny hill where we spent our time, was slushy and a bit of a slog to get through.
We sprang for the TELUS Learn-2-Ski beginners package for the older boys (at age 3, my youngest was too young to participate, much to his frustration!) which is a screaming deal that includes lift ticket, rental and a lesson. I was so impressed with the boys’ tenacity, getting up and back at it despite a fair amount of tumbles. We ended the day happy and tired with pleas for more skiing next year ringing out from the backseat.
Tip: Not sure about travelling as a “single” parent? Taking a trip with another parent in the same boat is a great option. Two of you can conquer anything!