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It’s not always easy to have couple time when traveling as a family. Of course, part of why we travel is to spend more time with our children, create family memories, experience new things and so on…
Okay, don’t get me wrong. I love spending time as a foursome. But with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’m reminded that before there were four, there was just the two of us. And someday, it will be just the two of us again. As my children get older, it’s easier to find some alone time with my hubby. But I remember the days when they were babies and toddlers and it wasn’t as easy to have a few minutes together (let alone myself!)
We have a few things we do to make sure we have couple time when traveling as a family. But I thought it would be great to see what other traveling families do as well. So I reached out to a few of my fellow travel bloggers and here are their tips and tricks.
Hire a Nanny or Babysitter
Kevin at Wandering Wagars says hiring someone for a few hours is well worth the money.
My wife and I love SCUBA diving and whenever we travel to a location that offers it, we plan ahead and research local nanny services. Hiring a nanny gets us a few hours away to slip under the waves and enjoy some much deserved peace and quiet. We’ve worked with nanny services in Iceland, Grenada, Mexico and Jordan and both we and the kids have had amazing times.
We’ve found that the nanny time has been great for the kids. It lets them join in games, socialize with other children and they always come back with painted faces, temporary tattoos or some kind of toy that they’ve either made or discovered. At the same time we get a chance to do something together that we absolutely love, but aren’t able to involve them in yet.
The Kids Clubs
Kids recharge differently than we do and spending time away from us meeting new people is a great way for them to learn. Corinna at The Mommy Clause agrees. If you’re in a nice resort, chances are the kids’ clubs are more than just video game centers. Corinna says:
I know, I know, it’s a family vacation – but there are several nice resorts that offer kids programs to guests throughout their stays. You can spend the day as a family and then utilize the kids’ club to have a romantic dinner together. Alternately, drop the kids off for a few hours after breakfast and try a game of tennis or a round of golf before picking up the kids for a family lunch and time spent on the beach together.
Most cruise lines in the industry offer programing for kids every day. Not only are the clubs included in your cruise fare, there are daily schedules filled with activities that correspond to what is going on throughout the rest of the ship. This makes it very convenient to balance family time with alone time. You can choose to have meals together and spend a couple of hours in the afternoon by the pool as a couple or attending a show in the evening after dinner.
Bedtime is Date Time
I love this idea from Allison at Fun Family Vacations. We do this even now that the kids are older.
When we go on Vacation we always bring (or purchase) a special bottle of wine to share one evening after the kids go to bed. Bedtimes are often ignored during holiday, but one night we will make sure the kids are in bed by 8pm. This is usually on an evening we have splurged for a fancy meal. If we are renting a condo or vacation home equip with a kitchen, we will make the kids a fun “kid dinner” (grilled cheese/mac-n-cheese), rush them off to bed, and enjoy a candle light dinner with our bottle of wine. My husband is quite the home chef and he makes our “romantic travel dinner” using as many locally sourced ingredients as we can find. I’m a lucky girl!
Stay in a 2 Bedroom
This goes along with what Alison says about getting the kids to bed early. We always found that if we could get a 2 bedroom, or even a 1 bedroom, we could find a way to connect after hours. Jennifer at Our Family Travel Adventures has been traveling full-time with 3 kids for 3 years! She echoes the 2 bedroom suggestion but has alternatives in case that’s not an option.
We’ve been traveling the world full time with our three kids for three years now. We have stayed in everything from small hotel rooms to full size houses. Sometimes we are able to get 2 hotel rooms, or a 2 bedroom suite, but often it’s just a shared hotel room. That can get a little tight and makes it hard to sneak away for alone time.
The balcony is a great hideaway for us. We situate them with their tablets, and have a quiet meal together on the balcony, or chat over a bottle of wine, or just sit together and read for a while.
Our kids are getting older, so they’re finally old enough for us to start leaving them alone together for short periods of time while we go out to a romantic dinner. Or, we ask the restaurant if the boys can have their own table, so we can have a quiet dinner together. The boys get to be more ‘adult’ and show their best manners, and we get a romantic dinner alone.
Even though we have less time alone together, traveling as a family has brought us closer together as a couple, as we have shared some amazing experiences together.
Travel with other Families
We have a few close friends that have kids the same age as ours and we love to travel together too. When you travel with another family, you can take turns having a couples night out. Sometimes we do this as couples, other times its a girls or guys night out, depending on our agenda for that week. We’re looking forward to a few of the kids getting older and babysitting the younger ones.
Travel with Grandparents
A multi-generational vacation is great for a lot of reasons. Kids get to connect with their grandparents in a relaxed setting and… built-in babysitters! Keri at Baby Globetrotters says,
It took us a few years to work out that the key to having a happy family holiday wasn’t to throw ourselves into isolation like we would have pre-kids, but to bring support with us! Believing you can just put young tots into the kids club at a resort while you relax by the pool is a big mistake. Many will only take kids once they’re over a certain age, which for us has meant we always have at least one baby or toddler left with us all day. With only the occasional hotel baby sitter at night, we never got a break.
We now do our one long holiday a year with my in-laws. We live overseas so it’s a perfect opportunity for them to spend time with their grand kids while also taking a break from their business too. Every couple of days they are happy to take the kids off our hands for a few hours while my husband and I explore, eat in peace or simply just sleep!
Travel without the Kids
This might seem a little obvious but it needs to be said. My hubby and I are taking a vacation together without the kids for the first time in 12 years. TWELVE YEARS! I don’t know how the time has gone by so fast. We have date nights and alone time when we’re on vacation, but we have never had the opportunity until recently to get away on our own. If you’re fortunate enough to have grandparents or family nearby, get away for the weekend. You and your honey need that time together. After all… who is left when the kids grow up!
Yes, family time is important… but so is a strong relationship and finding a way to have couple time when traveling as a family is important too.
Did I leave anything out? Comment below and tell me how you find time with your honey.