Hey travelers, where’s your bar?

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I’m packing for my first solo trip in a while.

No kids. No cats. No Chris.

Yeah, I’m excited. It’s probably the whole traveling-without-the-tribe thing. They’re more than just the entourage; they’re my back-up, my support network. And they’re my therapists when I need them.

So here’s my problem: I don’t know what to expect. I don’t even know where to set the bar for this trip.

Without the kids, I’m much less particular about the travel arrangements, activities and accommodations than I would have been if I had the kids in tow.

We’re making stops in San Francisco and Napa’s Calistoga region. It’s an interesting project for my friends at Microsoft’s SkyDrive, which deals with the ways traveling parents can keep in touch with work and family while they’re away. For an over-sharing mom like me, what’s not to love?

We’ll try some wine, some electronic sharing, some more wine, and a little data conversion.

Bliss, right?

But as a typical working mother, I looked at my plans through the eyes of my family and set the bar for some of my travel arrangements pretty low. I wanted to make sure the impact of my absence was minimal to the family and I may have gone a bit overboard.

For instance, I’m flying on US Airways. I sit across from Chris every day, and I see his eyes roll when he gets another US Airways case, but I also remember their kindness when, earlier this year, they made a special effort to retrieve our passports that I slipped into our checked luggage by accident.

Oops.

I also chose a red eye flight on my return. Why would I expect the family to pick me up at 10:45 p.m. when I could spend a few more hours in San Francisco and have them pick me up at 9 the following morning? I don’t mind sleeping on a plane….that much.

Really, what was I thinking?

On the other hand, the bar is raised for this trip sans kids. I’m going to have a lot of time with other adults, without kids tugging on my sleeve constantly. I plan to catch up on my sleep (ah, those beds at the W Hotel sure are comfy, aren’t they) and I may even be able to sit through an entire episode of Orange is the New Black on Netflix without being interrupted.

I like to think of myself as consistent and dependable, but as I look at my itinerary, I see the needle on my expectations-meter bouncing around. I can’t be the only one.

Does the bar get lowered — or raised — when you travel? How about when you travel alone?

I’m afraid I might have a really good US Airways flight (take that, Chris!) and that I’ll oversleep at the W.

Hey Microsoft, if that happens, I apologize in advance. I shoulda seen it coming.

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[Photo credit: Shutterstock/Masson]