Why We Stopped Buying Gifts and Travel Instead

No matter if you have one child or ten, life is busy for parents. For my husband and I, we both have full time jobs, housework, five children to care for, dance classes, field trips, doctor appointments, and a never-ending “to do” list. Our calendar stays full, and time never stops to wait for us to catch up.

When we got married last fall, we took a long-weekend honeymoon trip to Nashville, TN, a place we hadn’t been to yet as a couple. It was magical.

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We decided during that trip–our first trip alone as a couple–that instead of spending hundreds of dollars each year buying “stuff” for each other on our birthdays, anniversary, and Valentines Day, we would take at least one long, 4-5 day weekend trip each year, to a place we’ve never been together.

Here’s Why We Decided to Travel Together Instead of Buying Gifts:

  • Getting Gifts ranks dead last for both of our 5 Love Languages. I assume that most of you know your love language and that of your partner, but if you don’t, it’s free to find out which Love Language speaks to you. (This post is not affiliated with 5 Love Languages, but I highly recommend knowing this about your partner!) For both of us, getting gifts was the very last of the 5 Love Languages, so gifts on special occasions mean much less to us than they might mean for others who scored higher in this Love Language.
  • Quality Time and Physical Touch ranked highest in both of our 5 Love Languages. Traveling alone with your partner provides the ultimate setting to spend uninterrupted quality time with your partner. Although we do at least one date night every other weekend, nothing compares to the closeness you feel when you travel with the person you love. The amount of quality time and physical touch you can pack into a weekend trip is enough to make us both feel especially loved.
  • Passion. It’s important for couples to keep the passion for each other alive. Passion can easily get lost in day-to-day life, and it’s important to recharge your passion as a couple often. Use a short trip as a couple as a time to really see each other and reconnect, so you come home with the kind of passion for each other (and life!) that we all want to feel.
  • To share new, adult experiences as a couple. While we take our children on a family vacation each year, there are different kinds of experiences you can have when you travel without children. When we traveled to Nashville, TN, we drank and dined on rooftops, stood in long lines for highly-appraised restaurants we wanted to try, saw Bruno Mars in concert, and took an Uber everywhere. We couldn’t have done any of that “adults only” stuff if we had taken all of our kids. When we plan our family vacations, it’s all about the kids and what would be most enjoyable for everyone in the family, but planning these short trips as a couple lets us remember how to enjoy and experience life when it’s just the two of us.
  • Date nights just aren’t enough. While we are good about making date nights a regular part of our routine, at least once every two weeks, a typical date night lasts just a few hours. When we do date nights at home or near home, we’re still surrounded by day-to-day life. As we get ready for date night, we’re tempted to throw one more load of laundry in the washer or tidy up the kitchen before we leave. In contrast, when you travel as a couple, you leave everything behind, so the focus easily becomes just you and your partner and all that you experience together.

Our first trip since our honeymoon, was to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and let me tell you–it was super romantic. We spent a four day weekend touring the historic bathhouse row, dined out at the Ohio Club, went hiking, got a couple’s massage/private aromatherapy bath at Quapaw Baths & Spa, and had tons of quality time in a cabin in the woods with a hot tub on the deck. Spending much needed alone time with my husband is quite honestly the best gift I’ll ever receive.

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Do you and your significant other enjoy traveling as a couple? Tell me about your favorite trip as a couple in the comments! Don’t forget to subscribe before you leave to get notified of the next post!

Thanks for being here!

12 thoughts on “Why We Stopped Buying Gifts and Travel Instead”

  1. My husband and I do this! We have two little ones, so it’s been trickier recently. However, if we aren’t able to do an overnight trip we plan out special events for gifts. We are going to see Dear Evan Hansen in June for my birthday gift. For us, memories are way better than things!

  2. Elizabeth Tired Mom Supermom

    This is the best idea ever. My hubby and I stopped buying gifts for each other years ago but we do tend to spoil the kids at Christmas time, travelling is a way better adventure!

    1. smallstuffbigfamily

      I’m so glad you like the idea! I really did too when we decided to do this. One of the best decisions we’ve made as a couple so far! ❤️

  3. I love to see the world but I am still trying to figure out what the best way to this is with a little one. I love to show her the world but time with just my man and I is also important.

    1. smallstuffbigfamily

      The way we balance that is we take a family vacation that’s a week long to a new place every year which is completely focused on doing things the children will enjoy. But these shorter trips with my husband really allow us to enjoy being “a couple” and to do things adults can’t do or would be a whole lot harder with five young children. Our next couple trip will be in Boulder, CO and our kids would not enjoy that nearly as much as we will. We plan on doing a lot of hiking and they just wouldn’t be able to handle that, especially the very young kiddos. The kids are excited about going to the beach this summer though! That’s much more up their alley. 🥰

  4. My mamaw use to buy each family a spring break trip every Christmas and it was the best! I loved it, so many great memories.

    1. smallstuffbigfamily

      My parents always took us on a summer vacation, most of the time to a new place in the US we had never been to before and I definitely think that instilled my love of travel!

    1. smallstuffbigfamily

      So kind of you, thanks! Are kiddos are from 2-12 and we are blessed to have lots of aunts, grandparents, and their other bio parents to give them lots of love while we are gone. I don’t even think they miss us. Lol 💕

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