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How couples can prepare for their first COVID-era trip without kids

If it’s been a while — and chances are, it has been — here’s what you need to know

While the unpredictable coronavirus has proved (and re-proved) its staying power over the past [checks calendar] two years and counting, vaccinations and eased travel restrictions mean it could be time for you and your partner to finally get away from it all. And by “it all” we mean your children.

Every parent has spent more time than usual with their kids during the pandemic. And while that has provided many people with an opportunity to get to know their offspring more deeply, it’s also given plenty of us a burning desire for a nice romantic getaway with just our partner. Uninterrupted quality time and adult conversation. Uninterrupted loving silence. The choice to do something or nothing. You remember these things. And if you don’t, Valentine’s Day is a good time to remind yourself as a couple.

But, of course, taking a romantic trip without your children is a little more complicated than calling a sitter for date night (or just handing them a stack of cash and the number of the local pizza parlor as you saunter towards your Uber). In order to spend less time thinking about your kids while you’re actually on vacation without them, you’ll have to spend some time thinking about how to deal with them now. Here’s how to plan a romantic getaway as a couple.

In this article:

Get vaccines for the whole family

The one souvenir you don’t want to bring back from your vacation is COVID, so you and your partner will want to be fully vaccinated and quite possibly boosted before you depart on the perfect romantic getaway. It’s also advisable to do the same for your kids — not least because it means you’re less likely to have to cut your trip short to deal with a medical emergency. While you’re thinking about this, it’s worth asking whoever will be looking after your children while you’re away if they are vaccinated, since they’ll be spending time in an enclosed space with your kids. Don’t assume anyone’s status; sometimes, people’s answers can be surprising.

Choose your child care wisely

Obviously, you’ll want someone responsible looking after your kids while you’re away on your romantic trip. But there are a few more things to consider:


Make sure whoever’s looking after your children is someone your kids will be comfortable with for the length of time required. (And that the reverse is true for your caretaker of choice.) For example, if your kids will be staying at their grandparents’ place for a week but they’ve never stayed there longer than a weekend, make sure this really will be OK with everyone. You don’t want to be mediating from the beach because Nana is exhausted and your children are going stir crazy.


Ideally you’ll have your children looked after by someone they know, but if you’re hiring a new sitter, have them come by a few days before the vacation to hang out with your kids. That will let you know if the arrangement is likely to work (while giving you time to make Plan B if not) and it gives your children the opportunity to get used to this new person in a low-stakes context (i.e., not when their parents are a few time zones away).

The rules

Whether you’re going on a weekend trip or a two week romantic escape,  the instructions you leave for that person may need to be quite comprehensive. At the very least they should know your children’s dietary needs, allergies and what to do in an emergency (which doctor to go to, which family member to call). You may also want them to know anything from where to find your kids’ insurance cards to which bedtime story is likely to get them to sleep. A fairly comprehensive list of information to consider leaving can be found here.

In these times of travel uncertainty, you might also want to see if the caretaker would be able to stay or keep your kids for an extra day or two in the event that a flight gets canceled.

Prep young kids for your trip

If your children are in their teens, you can skip this part — they’re probably counting the days until you leave — but if they’re younger, it’s good to prepare them for your absence and explain why you’re going away without them.

The why

Tell them how long you’ll be gone and tell them why you’re going without them (because you want to spend some time hanging out with your significant other). Depending on your children’s ages, you can explain this desire by reminding them that they enjoy hanging out with their friends without parents being involved; this is kind of the same. Some parents worry that their kids will feel abandoned if they’re left behind, but there’s a lot to be said for children seeing that their parents actually want to spend quality time with each other — it’s good relationship modeling.

The rules

Set expectations in terms of behavior, and then repeat those expectations in front of your children and whoever will be taking care of them, to avoid actual misunderstandings or fake-but-useful misunderstandings invented by crafty children. Will it be business as usual at home while you’re gone or will there be treats (watching favorite movies, flexible bedtimes) to make up for your absence? Whatever you decide, make sure it’s clear.

Also consider arranging playdates for your kids while you’re away. It’s fun for them, decreases loneliness and gives their caretaker a bit of a break.

Stay in touch — or don’t

There are parents who think it’s important to speak to their kids every day while they’re away, and there are others who certainly didn’t fly to a tropical island with their loved one just to spend time Zooming their kids. Whether you take one of these approaches or land somewhere in the middle, decide before you go (while factoring in time differences) and communicate your plan clearly to your children and their carer. Your children’s routine will inevitably be altered by you being away, but you can minimize disruption by making clear plans with them.

Don’t forget your homecoming

On the day you return, consider getting home at a decent hour so you can see your children before bed. It’s a good way to ease them back into a normal routine. And hey — you never know — you might just discover that you missed them (even more than you thought you would) while you were away.

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About Michael Davis

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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

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Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

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