Romance isn’t off limits once you have children – you just need to work harder to make it happen, and that goes for when you’re travelling too.
If a willing babysitter is a distant fantasy, or you just don’t fancy leaving the kids at home while you jet off to exotic climes, it’s still possible to sneak a little honeymoon vibe into your family trip. Here’s how.
Choose your destination wisely
This may be pointing out the obvious, but make sure you choose a destination that looks and feels romantic. Sure, the kids may still have tantrums, but strolling along a jaw-dropping white sand beach, or the streets of a beautifully dishevelled Mediterranean city will help take the edge off.
Yes, a Disney cruise or a cheerful child-focused resort might keep the kids out of your hands for longer, but you’ll have to spend your ‘alone time’ in the company of giant dancing cartoon characters, or worse: strangers’ children.
There’s no bigger passion killer than having to cram the entire family into one room. You know the drill: you wrestle the kids into bed, then spend the rest of the evening in semi-darkness, tiptoeing around in silence for fear of waking them up.
Renting an apartment is one solution – they get their own room and you get to have dinner at an adult-friendly hour. But if having to do your own washing up seems too much like domestic drudgery, splash out on a hotel suite or connecting rooms, or at least plump for a hotel room with a terrace so you can have some quiet time together while the kids are asleep.
Remember the days when you could pop out of the house on a whim for a quick drink? When a trip to the beach didn’t involve buckets, spades and sandy meltdowns? No? Bring the grandparents along for the ride and you can remind yourself.
Your kids get to spend quality time with grandma and grandpa, and you get to spend quality time out on the town with your other half, so it’s a win all around. And unlike kids’ clubs and babysitters, there’s no need to book in advance, so impromptu walks on the beach are possible once again. If you’re very lucky, you may even get a lie-in.
Keep the kids entertained
The good old kids’ club is the easiest way to make time for romance on a family holiday. While your offspring are led on treasure hunts, you can relive your child-free days by sightseeing unencumbered, enjoying lunch by the sea, or, if you’re truly frazzled, taking a long, companionable nap.
If your children are too young for a kids’ club, there are often trained babysitters available, and some hotels offer baby listening services (less creepy than it sounds), enabling you to go out for a romantic dinner after putting the kids to bed.
Make nap time count
Having children who are young enough to nap is an added bonus when trying to ramp up the romantic atmosphere. Location is key here too. No one wants to be stuck in a hotel room watching a baby sleep, so book digs with some outside space, preferably with swoon-inducing surrounds.
Alternatively, you can lull them to sleep in the buggy while you take a walk, and when they’ve finally dozed off, sink a few cocktails and take in the view. If you’ve got a good sleeper, this can also work for an evening out.
Take a group holiday
Dealing with your own children on holiday can be challenging, so having others join the fray may seem ill-advised. But hire a villa with a group of friends and you can take it in turns to watch the little ones, allowing you some days and nights off to rekindle the old flame.
You could even take one of an ever-increasing number of group tours aimed at families. The kids will have an instant group of friends, and the other parents can help shoulder the childcare responsibilities, giving everyone a little couple’s’ time off.
Let the kids in on the fun
There’s no rule that says you can only enjoy a bit of romance when the kids aren’t around. Watch the sunset together as a family, or go to a beautiful spot for a beach picnic, with champagne for the grown-ups and sparkling soft drinks for the kids.
Remember that magical moments can be found in unexpected places. Just being together and watching your kids’ wide-eyed excitement as they discover new places and experiences can be pretty romantic in itself.
Where to go
Mexico, It seems impossibly easy to choose from Mexico’s numerous tourist areas, but TripSavvy has collected five of its favorites, all of which qualify as some of the most enticing, family-friendly vacation spots in Mexico. The country is a good bet for its delectable food, stunning coastlines, indigenous culture, friendly locals, and impressive archaeological sites. Your dollar is likely to go a long way here, so take the family south of the border for some sunshine, rest, and relaxation at any of our five favorite destinations.
Glamping, Wear the kids out with wholesome jungle or countryside activities, then enjoy fire-lit evenings underneath the stars – without dampening the mood by having to put up your own tent.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Costa Rica is so great for kids, we had to include two. Tamarindo is a surf town high up on the Pacific Coast with good hotels, and easy day-trips to cloud forests, volcanoes, dry tropical forests, mangrove kayak tours and more. Daily flights to nearby Limón make getting to this part of Costa Rica a snap. Long day trips can take you to Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal (where there’s an active volcano) or the remarkable cloud forests of Monteverde.
Wildlife bonanza, The Galápagos is probably the most famous wildlife-watching destination in the world – and if this is your child’s last year at home, this may be the time to embark on this trip of a lifetime. This remote archipelago is a land of stark lava formations, cactus forests, lush green highlands, turquoise bays and tropical beaches. But, best of all, it is overflowing with wildlife at every turn. Within minutes – sometimes seconds – of landing on this dot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you can be face-to-face with more strangely fearless and curious animals than anywhere else on Earth.
Northern Lights and a snow safari, The Northern Lights are one of nature’s great displays, a free, multicoloured light show that is most commonly sighted in the Arctic regions. To see the celestial disco in its full glory, you will have to head north, above 60 degrees latitude at least. Finnish Lapland is especially appealing for families, as you can combine your search for the Northern Lights with snowshoeing, snowmobile safaris, and a visit to a reindeer farm.