It’s rare that I travel without children. These are some of the differences that stand out:

1) Packing for just oneself feels impossibly simple and light. I keep thinking, “It can’t be this easy, can it??”

2) Since the family is staying home, no need for the pre-trip stress of readying the house to be unoccupied.

3) Airport security with only one pair of shoes to come off and one bag to send through is laughably simple. Heck, I remember the days of having to wake up a sleeping baby so I could fold up his stroller and heave it up onto the conveyor belt, one-handed, while holding the now vocal and annoyed baby with the other. Downside: because I will be a lone adult instead of a mom, I will probably be sent through the creepy backscatter machine instead of getting to follow my boys through the regular metal detector.

4) Even with my sweetheart’s frequent flying, we never have enough air miles to upgrade all of us. With me flying alone, however, and it being low season, I have finagled an upgrade. I will drink champagne! I will swivel my seat to face my laptop on a desk beside me, or face the TV shows diagonal to me, or the fancy food in front of me, or even to LIE FLAT. I consider this upcoming flight to be a vacation entirely on its own.

I grew up close enough to New York that my best friend and I occasionally ditched school to catch one of the frequent commuter trains into the city instead. New York is the city of my childhood, and I’m delighted to be “coming home” for a few days.