As parents, we all need the occasional break. Taking a coveted vacation without the kids, however, raises logistical questions. My daughter is now 3 and old enough for an extended stay with her grandparents. As I started researching travel destinations, this hit me like a ton of bricks:
Do my husband and I fly together or should we book separate flights?
In the event of a complete disaster, are we better off splitting up so one parent survives to raise our daughter?
Facts: The odds dying in a car crash are much higher than an airplane. Do you always take a road trip or go to a restaurant in a separate car from your partner? I would guess, probably not.
According to Wikipedia airplane safety statistics:
- The odds of dying in a car crash are 40 per 1 billion journeys
- The odds of dying in a plane crash are 117 per billion journeys
Practicalities of parents flying separately: It's one thing when there are 20 Southwest flights per day to San Francisco from San Diego, but when there are 3 daily flights to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific from LAX, it is harder to coordinate separate flight arrangements. If you're trying to keep the family in the same airline alliance, this also narrows your flight options. Who wants to wait 4+ hours in a foreign airport for their partner to arrive, if for some reason it's not feasible to get to the final destination alone? Separate flights might also be subject to individual delays or cancellations.
Considerations if the worst happens: If you have a trusted family member or friend designated as guardian in the event both parents die, this might make you more comfortable flying together. On the flip side, if you just don't have anyone, you may want to take extra precautions. Make sure you have a will, trust, or adequate life insurance in place. Talk to a professional about what is appropriate for your situation.
I'm sure my husband and I will wind up flying together, however, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit jittery about it. Do you and your partner fly together without the kids? Please share.
*Katie Dillon, a member of the Yahoo! Mother Board, writes an award winning lifestyle site called La Jolla Mom. Due to her experience as an expat parent, she recently started Kids Fly Happy (currently accepting guest posts), a site dedicated to parents traveling with their kids. She has also written an ebook called "Surviving Long Haul Airplane Travel With Young Kids" which is available for download. The post photo is used with permission from iStockphoto.