Bring your kids along on your honeymoon to make it a familymoon? It sounds like a lost episode of the Brady Bunch.
But 17% of men and 18% of women marry more than once. And in many of those marriages one or both spouses have kids.
Rather than the usual couple time, your honeymoon might be your first vacation as a blended family. Step-parents, step-kids and step-siblings might still be getting to know each other. You’re affirming your new family ties and perhaps creating your first memorable moments together.
What does a happy, successful honeymoon with kids look like? Where should you go, what should you expect and what might go wrong? Here are ten tips to make your familymoon the first of many memorable vacations with your new, expanded family.
How To Have A Memorable—And Even Romantic— Honeymoon With Kids
1. Plan the trip as a family:
Make your first family meeting a fun one by using it to plan the vacation together. Listen to everyone’s ideas for what they would consider a fun familymoon and see where you get the most consensus.
“Make sure everyone agrees generally about the destination and activities,” says Sonya Schwartz, founder of Her Norm. it will help to get everyone to feel invested in the trip and excited about it.
2. Consider the location and type of vacation:
A week of adventure in Costa Rica or a busy vacation touring Europe’s capitals can be among the most memorable and fun family vacations. But they’re also tiring and a little stressful. And they require a lot of planning; not idea at the same time you’re planning a wedding, maybe moving house and more.
This is why so many people head to the Caribbean for honeymoons, familymoons and even babymoons.
Reserve rooms at a family-focused all-inclusive resort, like any of the three Beaches resorts, book your flights, and you’re done. For the most part you can sort meals and activities once you arrive. And you can spend the first day or two relaxing and decompressing after all the excitement of the wedding.
In addition, resorts are an easy way to please diverse interests. “Parents want some intimate time and nice dining,” says Samantha Moss, editor and relationship expert at Romantific. Kids want activities, food they’ll like and a good pool. “Resorts will do nicely for all those desires. Everyone can get at least a little of what they want and that will make it a success.”
3. Be inclusive:
Both when you are at home planning and at the resort enjoying yourselves, “Let everyone have a say in what activities you do,” says Christopher Adams, the founder of ModestFish, who recently went on his own family honeymoon.
“The purpose of a familymoon is to bring everyone together, and to show everyone that they matter and their voices matter,” he explains. “I’m not saying to let your kids convince you that you need to go to every tourist attraction you come across, but I am saying that, big or small, everyone needs to feel the appreciation that you have for them.
4. Set a budget:
Sure, this will be one of your splurgier vacations. But you don’t want to have a shock when the credit-card bill arrives afterward.
An all-inclusive makes budgeting easy because hotel, meals and most activities are included. But even at these resorts there are extras, say a couple’s afternoon at the spa, professional family photos, or some off-resort excursions for your adventurous teens.
Research the extras and agree together which ones will go in to the budget and which ones you can skip. Just leave some wiggle room in case change your minds when you arrive.
5. Be a little exclusive:
You can bring cousins, a favorite aunt or your tween’s BFF on future vacations, but not this one. It should be just you and your new pod and your focus should be on each other, advises Schwartz.
If you’re having a destination wedding, stay a few days after all the guests leave to have some time for yourselves. If that isn’t possible, politely but firmly carve out family time. For example, have breakfast together in your room every morning and plan an excursion or two that’s just for your new tribe.
6. Don’t share a room:
This is the easiest way to save a little money on a pricey vacation, but resist. This is one trip where you adults need a little privacy. And maybe the kids do, too.
Book a suite with bedroom and doors. Or reserve multiple rooms; they can be adjoined or adjacent depending on how old the kids are. If you really need adjoining rooms, talk to the front desk ahead of time to make sure they’ll have them ready for you.
7. Don’t overschedule:
Big resorts like Beaches have so much going on; it’s tempting to want to try it all. Don’t. Chilling on the beach or an extended morning cuddle with little kids can turn out to be the best bonding time.
In addition, “A second honeymoon is all about celebration and having fun, which is pretty hard if to do if you have a too- strict agenda,” says Torben Lonne founder of DiveIn. “You have to allow room for spontaneity.” The thing you weren’t planning to do could wind up being the most memorable part of the trip.
8. Plan an activity that’s new to everyone:
Nothing levels the playing field like a situation that is new to everyone. Also, letting your step-kids, and your own kids for that matter, see you making mistakes and learning along with them will go a long way toward breaking any ice you still need to. It will give you a lot to talk about, too.
With tweens and teens, you might try SCUBA or surfing lessons. With younger kids it might be a cooking class or beach walk with a naturalist. Save some turtles together if it’s the right time of year. The activity matters less than the time together.
9. Balance your time:
Sure, the main goal of a familymoon is whole-family time. But it’s still a honeymoon,. You should absolutely take time for the two adults on the trip: A late dinner for two, a spa date, or maybe a tennis lesson for two are all very appropriate. If you have little kids, take advantage of the kids’ club to do things they are too young for, like a snorkeling excursion.
Aside from giving you some needed couple time, this also give the kids a chance to be on their own. This could be a very good thing, especially if there are step-siblings on the trip. They might have a better chance to figure out how they relate to each other, and even find things in common, if they are out from under your watchful gaze for a bit.
As much as this honeymoon with kids is a happy occasion, it’s also a complicated and emotional time. So be attuned to how the kids are doing. Someone might need the reassurance of one-on-one time with their parent. Or a step-parent/step-child activity outside of the group might help them connect more.
10. No work, no screens:
Have a no-work rule on this trip so everyone can relax, be in the moment and enjoy each other’s presence, says Schwartz.
Related to that, Adams says, “Limit screen time!”
He explains, “The purpose of a familymoon is to celebrate being family. Its purpose is to come together and appreciate the bond and connection you have, and will continue to have with your family! It’s not a normal vacation where you can do whatever you want to relax or entertain you.”
If a no-screens rule is too tough, have a designated wi-fi hour and otherwise leave screens in the hotel room. Bring a real camera for photos; make it waterproof to capture everything. With everyone off their Tik Tok accounts and email, who know what great memories you’ll capture with it.
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This Post has been brought to you by Beaches Resorts.
Photos of kids on a catamaran, family river tubing and couple at a balcony are courtesy of Beaches.