Many parents think that traveling with small children is anything but a vacation. That’s because of all the planning, packing, and preparing that has to be done for a family of four or in some cases, more. If that weren’t enough, many out-of-town trips are usually centered around kid-friendly activities and hotels making it seem like the vacation is more for the tots than parents. By the time the vacation has ended, many mothers and fathers feel anything but rested or relaxed. That’s because they spent the majority of their team pleasing their children rather than taking a break themselves.
Of course, not every vacation has to feel that way. Luckily, there are plenty of different ways that families can find child care while they are traveling. This way mom and dad can explore the city sights, enjoy a romantic dinner for two or simply take a break from their kids while in a setting that is far from home.
With that being said, below are six different ways parents can take the vacation they deserve. From booking a cruise to traveling with another family, there are many unique and creative ways that you can spend a little alone time with your partner during your trip.
1. On-Site Child Care
Many hotels have kid's clubs — especially the larger resorts. For a minimal fee, you can drop off your children for a few hours or even for the entire day to be entertained in a room with other children. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts offers a Camp Hyatt program, where kids can experience their own vacations by participating in activities and adventures that focus on the culture, history, and environment surrounding each destination.
The Four Seasons also offers Kids For All Seasons (KFAS). The camp hosts activities for children all year round. KFAS offers complimentary access to a pool table, ping-pong table and Lego table, as well as board games, movies, daily crafts, and rooms dedicated to playing Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.
2. Bring A Babysitter
Should your neighborhood babysitter be unavailable (even for an all-inclusive cruise to the Caribbean), parents have the option of checking out different sites that offer traveling nannies. There are plenty of agencies in the United States that provide babysitters for traveling and local families.
One for example is Adventure Nannies. They are described as the world’s “most capable nannies” that are matched with the families based on a few prerequisites.
3. Or Bring Grandma
The easiest way to enjoy some well-deserved “parents only time” on a vacation – regardless if it’s at a resort or a cruise – is if grandma comes along. This way parents can enjoy a worry-free vacation while kids get to enjoy the company of someone who is very close to them. If that weren’t enough, it’s also a perfect opportunity for families to bond with grandparents while making life long memories.
4. Book A Cruise
Many cruise lines offer on-site babysitting services or camps. According to Royal Caribbean cruise lines, babysitting services are offered both in a group setting, and individually in your stateroom. In stateroom babysitting must be reserved through the Guest Relations Desk (Purser's Desk) at least 24 hours in advance.
Carnival Cruise Line also offers something called Camp Ocean Night Owls. The program is available for children 6 months to 11 years and allows parents time to enjoy the nightlife without having to worry about their little ones.
5. Check Out Child-Care Websites
Many families are unaware of this, but there’s also the option of looking up local babysitters through childcare websites. One way is to contact a local university or college in the town that you are visiting. Parents can call the university’s student affairs or the financial aid office of the college for a list of college-aged babysitters who would be willing to watch small children outside of classroom hours.
6. Travel With Another Family
The easiest way that you can enjoy a little R&R with your partner is if you travel with another family. Now, traveling with two times as many kids might not seem ideal for many people, but with two sets of parents, it will be easier to swap babysitting nights for date nights. This way moms and dads can enjoy a quiet dinner for two, even if they have to pull in double the work the next night.
For many parents, this is the most cost-efficient strategy, as families can save babysitting money — and don't stress about a stranger watching your child — by vacationing with friends.