Couples season is that blissful time of year when adult couples can freely travel without fear of encountering throngs of family vacationers accompanied by their children of varying ages and temperaments.
Even couples who have kids will honestly admit that a vacation with children is barely a vacation. Whether you like children, abhor them, or simply tolerate them, it's a fact of life that their presence inhibits romance (which is not to say that romance doesn't lead to children if you're not careful.) The fact of the matter is, exuberant youngsters disturb the peace, whether by screeching from a stroller or cannonballing into a swimming pool. And when you pay hundreds of dollars to honeymoon or vacation at a resort, the last thing you want is to be interrupted by children (or rude adults, for that matter).
When is Couples Season?
Couples season takes place when school-age children are back behind a desk, instead of creating a racket at resorts where sensualists want to stretch out free of immature eyes upon them. Although some parents of pre-school children vacation at this time, there are fewer of them during couples season than when the school-age crew arrives.
On the calendar, couples season begins right after Labor Day and ends before Thanksgiving. Additionally, the month of May — following spring break but before school graduations and summer vacations commence — is also considered a safe time for couples who don't want to spend their vacation avoiding or interacting with other people's children.
Some resorts, such as the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, while not banning children, celebrate couples season with special pricing and incentives. At other times of year, it is family friendly.
Important note: Valentine's Day does not fall within couples season! While Valentine's Day purports to be for lovers, in the United States it frequently coincides with President's Day, the occasion for a long weekend when family travelers also hit the road. Should you wish to take advantage of a romantic Valentine's getaway package, inquire with the hotel in advance as to whether it is will also be catering to families at that time.
What If You Can't Travel During Couples Season?
Not every couple can get away in the fall or late spring. For them, defensive travel planning is a must. The safest choice in accommodations is staying at an adults-only all-inclusive. At these resorts, only guests ages 18 and over are allowed.
Sandals Resorts, for example, are dedicated exclusively to couples. At their Caribbean properties, rooms and suites are designed for maximum romance, with plunge pools and bathtubs for two. More recently, they've been adding overwater bungalows to select properties, which replicate the feeling of being alone on a desert island.
If sailing appeals, consider booking a river cruise. Not only are these peaceful and romantic, they have no facilities for children. So the chance that you can have a kid-free vacation is very likely. It's a different story on ocean cruises, which accommodate more guests. Megaships aim for a something-for-everyone type of experience and even have facilities for kids and teens so that parents can get a break.
Another option is to choose a resort with a couples-only area. Although only a few have the capacity to segregate childfree couples from those with spawn in tow, many enlightened properties now offer a separate pool for adults only. These are referred to as serenity pools, tranquility pools and pools-unsullied-by-diaper-gravy pools.
Should a child attempt to enter such a pool (or an entitled parent decides the rules don't apply to his or her precious), inform the management and politely request that they take action.