Perhaps the thought of an adults only vacation has crept into your mind before. Maybe it was during a 11-hour delay at Boston’s Logan International Airport, when the only things worse than the ice storm grounding every plane was that you ran out of diapers for your 6-month old. And all the shops were closed. Or maybe it was that beach vacation when you never saw the beach — not because it was raining, but because all three kids caught the Flu. You’ve never played more Go Fish!
Call it an adults only vacation, a kid free vacation or simply a well-deserved relaxing getaway. Travelling sans children might come with a tinge of parental guilt, but it can recharge your batteries and help you connect with your better half on a whole new level. Plus, some smartly selected souvenirs fix any guilt trip, right?
Maybe the answer is way too obvious. You can eat where you want without checking to see if a restaurant has crayons and a kids’ menu. You can sleep in and stay up late. And you can talk to your significant other without being interrupted 17 times. But there are even more important reasons to consider an itinerary built for two: strengthening your relationship.
Soak these stats in: more than eight in 10 of those who travel together as a couple report that the romance is burning bright in their relationship. And more than seven in 10 believe that travel inspires romance.1 Sure, dinner and a movie is a nice slight reprieve, but isn’t it time for more?
An adults only vacation is far from a selfish gesture; it’s critical to building a successful relationship with your better half so that you can weather the literal and figurative storm of all those drama-filled family vacations that will occur afterward. And unless your parents spoil your kids with daily milkshakes and toy store shopping sprees, you might just arrive home to a grateful gaggle of kiddos who didn’t realize how good they had it.
We just mentioned grandma and grandpa, who are often prime candidates for babysitting your brood when you’re booze-cruising without a care. Whether your kids do spend some quality time with your parents or in-laws, you stash them with friends, or have other relatives up for the challenge.
Just know that there are some hoops to jump through before you sit in that cushy First Class seat without worrying about keeping the air sickness bag in one hand and a juice box in the other. This starts with determining the right timing for your excursion. Going on a two-week tour of Italy and leaving your newborn back home might be a bit much for everyone. (That said, as your kids become toddlers, you might very well wish you travelled more when napping and strollers made getting around a cinch.) Also consider the best time of year to travel, taking into consideration school breaks, sports schedules and more. Once your children get old enough for sleep-away camp, you have an ideal window of time to get away, and there are no feelings of being left out, especially if they’re roasting s’mores.
One more option to explore: the hybrid couple’s retreat and family vacation. Maybe you’re embarking on an extended family vacation to Disney World. And while you explore the parks together by day, there is an older cousin or grandparent game for babysitting while you take to Disney Springs after dark.
Before looking at hotel rooms without having to worry about pull-out coaches and extra sheets, or booking airline seats without already sweating trying to trade rows with strangers to bring the whole family together, you have a big decision to make: are you simply travelling without your kids — or are you treating the entire vacation like adult swim? In other words, are you OK with other kids running around, screaming or simply saying cute things that immediately cause your eyes to well up and force a call home at 3 a.m. local time? It’s just a consideration to make, as there are plenty of options to fit both bills.
Here what several vacationing couples have to say about Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita...
Taking an adults only vacation today is much more manageable today than it was decades ago thanks to modern technology. With Apple’s FaceTime, Skype and other apps, it’s easier to stay in touch with the kiddos — and see how grandma and grandpa are holding up — than ever before.
So go enjoy yourselves. Unwind, eat well and spend some quality time with your significant other. While there are a number of ways to create your own kid free vacation, from spending a night in the next town over to travelling to the other side of the world, there is only one misstep you can’t afford to make: forgetting souvenirs for the kids. They may forget you went to the Maldives or Monte Carlo, but they’ll never forget you bought them lousy T-shirts and stuffed bears from your home airport.
Mike Ward is a copywriter, family columnist and sometimes comic who lives in Richmond, Va. with his wife, two young kids and two mutts. He likes long road trips and rooting for losing sports teams.