My husband Slaed, a seasoned traveler, has no shortage of advice when it comes to hitting the roads, rails, skies, and even waterways. Fatherhood did throw him for a loop, but since become a dad in 2011, he’s come up with some creative ideas and some gems of advice he wants to pass along to you fellow travelers out there.
Who doesn’t love a good date night or time away from the kids? I sure love them as much as the next gal, but Slaed is always the one reminding me to set them up when we travel, and has played a part in securing each and every caretaker. It might be a little bit of a hassle to prepare, but once you’re out the door, the relaxing, “take-a-breather” benefits are worth the extra coordination.
Don’t feel guilty. When we travel, just by nature, there is so much more hands-on, quality time with the kids, so it’s okay to get away for a bit. Most likely, they’ll be asleep for the majority of the time you’re away anyway!
There are certainly others, but here are three (plus a bonus) ways that we have incorporated a date (or two) into our vacations and travels:
1. Family. Bring the grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc along with you or include a visit to family in your trip. This is our best and cheapest option. We try to make it easy on our family members by sneaking out for a couple of hours while Bergen is taking a nap, or after he goes down for the night. Note: No, we aren’t paying our family members an hourly rate for watching over our precious little one, but we do try to repay them in other ways with little gifts, tokens of appreciation, and of course, many, many thanks!
2. Nanny or Babysitting Service. Before we left on our trip to Kauai last November, we researched well-respected and reasonably priced nanny/babysitting services. We found a great company that fit our needs, and reserved a caretaker for two nights during our stay. It was nice to have this lined up ahead of time so that we were not scrambling (or just putting it off) once we arrived, away from the comforts of home.
3. Local Sitters. Probably the most time consuming of methods, unless you get lucky right of the bat. However if you find someone you trust, it’s often the more cost effective option than going with a service. We found a local sitter during our recent visit to Orcas Island through the island’s community center, but it’s also helpful to talk to fellow travelers or consult your local mom/parent network. Ask around! You never know who might have a few connections up their sleeve!
Bonus Tip: Never underestimate the power of a good baby monitor. While on Kauai, our rental house was just steps away from Kapa’a’s Baby Beach. We did some investigating and discovered we were still able to hear Bergen from the beach (and if he needed us, we could get back in a flash)! We weren’t truly “out on a date”, but it sure felt like it! We were able to spend quality together over lunch and dinner while Bergen slept. On another trip quite by accident, we booked a room directly across from the spa area of the hotel. We took advantage of the location, and, thanks to the baby monitor, kept an ear on Bergen while we soaked away in the hot tub.
Have you used childcare while traveling? Please share your experience and tips!