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It’s all about expectations. How we view what happens to us in life is truly about our expectations. I have learned – and still am learning - to identify my horrible, upset, grumpy attitudes and acknowledge it is often because I expected something different than I received. These expectations become more abundantly clear when we travel. A trip we’ve looked forward to and dreamed about for months, sometimes even years, can lead to great disappointment if we have expectations that are unrealistic.
This can be true when we vacationed before kids, and can be especially true when we vacation with our kids. My husband and I view “vacation” somewhat differently… what recharges one of us may be boring for the other. My go-go-go planning of activities can leave him more exhausted at the end of a vacation than at the beginning. Before you set foot on that airplane, make sure you are on the same page of what your day-to-day activities will look like.
Will you plan several days of resting at the pool/beach? Do you have tours planned for some or all days? Do you like eating local food? Do you like experiencing local culture? Do you prefer to stay at the hotel or venture out? Do you like to sleep in or wake up early? When is the best time to see what you want to see? Those are just a handful of good questions to talk about when planning your vacation to ensure your expectations of the experiences will likely be met.
If you’re like me, vacationing with kids isn’t exactly romantic. It’s not the candlelit dinner on the beach. It’s not strolling hand-in-hand along beautiful streets full of art studios. It’s not slowly drinking our 3rd cappuccino for the day while people-watching from the café. Yes we’ve been able to do those things, but that was pre-kids. Things have changed, and in many ways they’ve changed for the better. Yes, I longingly look at couples enjoying those romantic dinners. Yes, I tell myself “someday” we can enjoy that again. Someday my husband and I will be able to talk without being interrupted during an entire meal! Yet there will always be a desire to somehow make these trips romantic, just in a different way and you have to work for it.
So, I just want to share a few tips we have learned along the way to ensure we have alone time to decompress from the day and talk.
1. We are required to book 2 hotel rooms because of our family size, and always make sure the rooms interconnect (other options are to book a home via Airbnb or apartments). Because of this we put all 4 kids in one room and we have the other. Most of the time the hotel crib will fit in the bathroom of the kids’ room, which is where we put our infant.
2. If you aren’t required to book 2 hotel rooms and are trying to save money, find a place with a separate sitting area in the room such as a suite, or a balcony (as long as the weather permits). If your budget allows, splurge for 2 hotel rooms that connect. This allows you to have time alone together after the kids are in bed.
3. Order room service or pack snacks. Something that makes an evening feel a little more romantic is the presence of food! Sometimes I will even pack some chocolate along for this reason.
5. Look at photos from the day and talk about your favorite things.
6. Once the kids are in bed, you need to let go of whatever upset you during the day. Most of what upset you is likely laughable… so choose to laugh about it. If you’re struggling to do this, spend 15 minutes alone with a journal or scrap paper and write it out, then move past it.
7. Resist the temptation to be on social media.
8. Take turns going to the spa and getting a massage. Even though it’s not a couples’ massage, it goes a long way for feeling relaxed. Some places do offer in-room couples’ massages.
The reality is, traveling with kids won’t be romantic unless you change your idea of romance. The point is, you’re on a family vacation together, making memories with your children and eachother. Plan a good date night before and after your vacation so you aren’t disappointed by the lack of one-on-one time during the trip.
If you have more tips on how to keep the romance alive – please comment & share!