Take ’em or leave ’em? Are you bringing the kids on your next vacation?

Some people love to travel with their kids and couldn’t imagine leaving them behind.

That’s me. If I’m on the road you can bet the kids are in the backseat.

Of course, now that the kids are older and we’ve been traveling together for the past five years, I have to admit I’d like to carve out a little daddy-and-me time.

Apparently, I’m not alone. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a surge of stories suggesting that couples also need to getaway together.

But really, how can today’s modern family find the time to do both? Since most parents only have about two weeks off a year, how do they choose which way to go? Can it be as simple as deciding that this year will be a family trip and next year a parental getaway? Or are we stuck sneaking off for a quick weekender just to have some alone-time?

Then I wondered, what will the friends and family think? Are you considered a bad parent if you take a vacation and leave your kids with somebody else? Are you a delinquent parent for taking them out of school so they can travel with you? What if your kids don’t want you to leave them behind?

And don’t you have to wait until the kids are a certain age before it makes sense to bring them along? When leaving the children behind, how long can you be away?

How do the parents handle these questions and the feelings of guilt or being judged if they choose an adults-only retreat?

Fortunately, there’s been a lot of research that support both sides of this argument. In March, 2013 the Harris Interactive released the results of a survey which revealed that family vacations create long-lasting memories. And in June, 2014 About.com’s About Health section posted the outcome of their reader’s poll which highlighted the important benefits of couples travel.

So after an extensive search across the internet, we amassed our own list of benefits for each side of this debate. If you can think of more, please add them to the comments.

Reasons to leave your kids behind
• You get to eat and drink whatever you want, whenever you want and wherever you want.
• An adults-only getaway gives you a chance to try out some new adventures that may not be appropriate for kids.
• Couples vacations teach your children how to care for their future relationships including the importance of balancing their time together as a couple with the time spent as a family.
• It’s an opportunity to relax, de-stress, not have to worry about everyone else’s’ needs and focus on your own.
• You can have uninterrupted conversations and get “reacquainted” with your better half.
• Couple getaways allows both of you to spend quality time on your own and as a couple so you can reset your priorities and focus on what really matters to each of you and your relationship.

Reasons to bring the kids along
• When you travel as a family, you and your kids can bond in new and profound ways, try new things together, and work as a team.
• Family vacations can be the source of some of the best memories, which is probably why we like to take our kids to places we visited with our own parents.
• Family vacation memories last a lifetime and can become one of the most important parts of our past.
• Traveling together provides lessons for the kids in how they should behave in their future role as parents, including the importance of balancing their time together as a couple with the time spent as a family.
• Shared experiences give parents and children something to talk about, reminiscing and retelling stories from their travels, especially how they felt and what they enjoyed doing the most.
• Multi-generational trips provide opportunities for the rest of the family too. Including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can bond the extended family tighter.

The overall take-away from the research is that it’s okay for parents to take a break from the kids and getaway together. Both couples and families sneak extra vacation time together by taking advantage of long weekends and tend to stay closer to home.

If you’re wondering who would be watching the children while the parents are away, well that’ll be the subject of another post.

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