How to plan an enjoyable child-free trip

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Been thinking of taking a trip with your partner that doesn’t include the kids? While travelling with your children is always an adventure, sometimes you just want that dream of relaxing on the beach without chasing after little people or performing extreme sports without worrying about their safety. While my husband and I have each taken individual trips away from our children for work or with friends, we are taking our first long-haul child-free trip as a couple in November to the Maldives (using a Companion Pass and Avios). Before you select ‘2 adults, 0 children’ on your hotel booking, read on for some tips to make the trip easier on everyone.

Do a practice run locally or within Europe

Before you jet off to Mexico, you may want to try a kid-free trip somewhere else in the UK, Europe or even on your doorstep. You can start with a staycation to one of the UK’s many cities and country destinations, even spending time by the sea for one or two nights. Our first-ever night away from our son was using Marriott Bonvoy points to stay at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel for just one night. Easing your way in can really help you, your children and the person watching your children gain confidence before you jet off to the other side of the world.

(Photo by Dougal Waters / Getty Images)
(Photo by Dougal Waters / Getty Images)

Have relatives come to you

Rather than uproot your children by bringing them to someone else’s home, it can be less destabilising to have your help come to you. If your family lives within Europe like my in-laws, you can use a Reward Flight Saver from British Airways to bring them to come stay with you. You can sell it as a really special time with a babysitter or grandparent when they may get to all sleep in mummy and daddy’s bed, eat special foods or have special activities planned.

Get your help some help

Just like parents need a break, so do carers. Some of the grandparents I spoke to discussed burning out during a week alone with their grandchildren. For our upcoming alone trip, my family is flying in two sets of grandparents from two different countries to make sure everyone has some support. You can get them a babysitter, ramp up your usual childcare or have more than one family member visit.
Photo by Peathegee Inc/Getty Images
Photo by Peathegee Inc/Getty Images
For our children, it is a rare occurrence that they will see both sets of grandparents at the same time, let alone all be under the same roof. So, we’re selling our trip away as a ‘grandparents’ party’ rather than focusing on mummy and daddy being away.

Set up a countdown calendar for the kids

You’ll know your own children and whether discussing a big absence long before your trip or just giving them the facts just before you leave is more helpful. However, many parents use a ‘Countdown Calendar’ to demarcate the time for children when their parents are away. A simple handmade calendar that includes an airplane for the flying days plus the ability to put a big ‘X’ through at the end of each day.
While young children like mine do not understand the concept of a week, our 4-year-old does understand ‘7 sleeps until mummy and daddy return’ and the countdown calendar helps visually illustrate that for him.

Schedule time to communicate with the kids

As children value routine and schedule to feel safe, keeping them on their set schedule is important while you are away. We found out the hard way that randomly calling — especially around bedtime — could be very destablising for our children. A sudden FaceTime with us from another location jolts our children from their current routine and upsets rather than comforts them. Agree a time with your child’s carer and try to keep the schedule set rather than at random. If you find your child is upset seeing you somewhere else, you can also try to be in a non-descript location to Facetime (ie not on a sun lounger) or just a classic voice call.

Splurge on seats or go to child-free places

Finally, have some fun and reap the benefits of your child-free time. You can travel outside of school holidays so this is a good time to use your Companion Voucher from British Airways or even do a Tier Point run. You can use your hard-earned miles to fly in business or first class without creating a controversy. Save the low-cost flights for when you have your children in tow, instead, you can spend the miles they’ve accumulated on yourselves. Go to a child-free resort, go for adventurous tours that don’t allow children or follow our lead and book an overwater villa on points that would be too dangerous with young children. Most of all, relax, enjoy it and avoid the kiddie pool area.
Photo by Nicky Kelvin
Did someone say the new A350 Club Suites? (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

While family holidays are lovely and create lifelong memories, experts say that spending time alone as a couple is good for your marriage and can make you a better parent. So, go ahead and book that flight for two and bring in the support while you’re away.
Featured photo by Maskot/Getty Images.

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