You're finally alone, ready to start your vacation. You turn to your beloved, about to speak. But then... "WAAAAH!" The sounds of silence are punctuated by a fretful, crying baby -- and the child is wailing as if it may not stop until it reaches college age.
This happens to travelers all the time....in airports, on trains, planes, in restaurants, even in hotels with thin walls. Peace of mind is shattered by ear-piercing cries from OPB's (Other People's Babies).
What can you do?
Even if you have children, love kids, or are planning to start a family, you shouldn't have to spend a romantic vacation surrounded by the sticky-fingered set. The good news is, you don't have to. There are plenty of places that offer vacations without children; you just have to be selective.
Many all-inclusive resorts such as Sandals, SuperClubs, and Iberostar Grand Hotels restrict guests under age 16 or 18. Also, numerous fine inns, especially those furnished with treasured antiques, do not accept youngsters.
If you want to avoid the little darlings, your best bet is a river cruise. More expensive than ocean cruises, they have zero facilities for children and tend to attract an older crowd. (The one exception is AmaWaterways, which partners with Disney on a few sailings and is launching some custom-built ships for family travelers.)
On an ocean cruise, sailing a longer itinerary to distant ports at times other than summer and school breaks certainly cuts down on the likelihood you will encounter toddlers to teens. Large cruise ships are starting to make concessions to adults:
- Celebrity Solstice has AquaClass, an entire deck with adults-only cabins.
- Freedom of the Seas and several other newer Royal Caribbean ships dedicate one of their outdoor pools to adults only -- and the bar is just steps away.
- Princess Cruises has added to ships a dedicated child-free space called Sanctuary.
"Safe" Months to Travel
Many hoteliers say the best times to travel are what they call the "romance months" of May and September when kids are in school and couples season, which begins after Labor Day and ends before Thanksgiving. October and early June are relatively child-free times to travel, and immediately before a major holiday, such as the first two weeks in November or in February before spring break, is also a safe bet.
"Family-Friendly" Resorts With Adults-Only Sections
The term "family-friendly" should be a red flag for those who'd rather not vacation among children. If you book such a resort, expect children to be seen and heard throughout your stay.
In fact, if booking a Valentine's Weekend package at a family-friendly resort expecting a reprieve from the shrieks of infants, you might discover you're out of luck when it coincides with President's Day weekend. And further to the consternation of child-free couples, new parents may tow newborns along on their "romantic" interlude.
Still, some multi-generational resorts do make a concerted effort to keep romantic couples and rambunctious families separate. The more upscale a place you select, the more likely it will have facilities that segregate children from grown-ups. Most hotel spas are off-limits to kids, for example, and better hotels and cruise lines feature adults-only pools.
Beware of hotels that have adults-only swim hours, though. While you won't have to put up with screams and splashing, you will be swimming in the same water where diapers may have dipped earlier.
What You Can Do
Let the resort manager know how much you appreciate being in a serene, child-free space. The more you patronize places that cater exclusively to adults, the better it will be for everyone who likes to unwind without the presence of children.
Now if only Disney would make one day each month exclusive to adults on vacation without children, we'd be delighted.