Traveling with babies and young children can present many logistical challenges. Keeping that spark of romance alive and well, let alone fanning it into a flame during a family vacation, may sound like a ridiculous proposition on top of everything else to negotiate. Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in traveling with a baby, and then a baby and a toddler, and eventually 3 young children – and their father – it’s that those who can manage to travel merrily stay married. And the good news is, working a little romance into your next family vacation can be easier than you think. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Get room service. Feed the kiddos what you must and where you must to get them settled down for the night. But once they are, treat yourselves to a delicious late dinner you can eat at your leisure right in your room while doing that thing you might remember from so long ago–visiting with each other without interruption (if the kids are too old to sleep yet, this is when you put on a quiet movie for them). For many of us moms, the sheer pleasure of chewing food prepared by another at one’s own pace is far better than flowers. And what’s better than simply setting your dirty plates out in the hall when you’re done?
2. Book a cruise or stay at a resort that offers childcare for the younger set, but be careful your child isn’t too young for the program. Not sure which cruise lines, hotels, or all-inclusive resorts will take a tot in diapers? I’ve scoped them all out and have recommendations (right down to the qualifying child ages in months, where appropriate) and include them in this new edition of Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide…
3. Hire a pre-screened hotel babysitter or vacation nanny for at least one romantic outing during your vacation. If evenings are still a tricky time to be away from baby, don’t overlook a romantic lunch out and leisurely stroll through a museum, or just some time with the feet up by the pool or on the beach together. Don’t forget the Directory of Hotel Babysitter and Vacation Nanny Agencies is here when you need it.
4. Bring bubble bath–for yourself. Since the Little One joined your tribe you may have forgotten the lost art of the grown-up bubble bath. Especially if your tub at home is brimming with brightly colored toys. Vacation is your chance to say, “This tub is mine,” and while you have someone watching the Little One during your tub time. Enjoy. And who knows, when story time is over and the lights go out, maybe someone over 3 feet tall will be able to join you.
5. Take turns sleeping in. If you have early-riser offspring, it can be especially challenging to recharge your sleep batteries during a vacation. If that’s the case, talk to each other ahead of time about which days will work out well to take Junior out for breakfast and a stroll while the other one counts sheep. After you’ve each had a chance to catch those extra winks, your dispositions may not only improve dramatically, but so will your ability to stay up later some evening—after said Early Riser has set for the day.
How about you?
Do you have a tip for keeping romance alive during family vacations? Have you tried any of these techniques while traveling with your young children? Here’s wishing you all a happy (and let’s hope at least somewhat romantic) Valentine’s Day!
Shelly Rivoli, author of the new revised & expanded Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Travel with Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler