By Anne Taylor Hartzell, on June 6, 2015

Honeymooning through the years

Parents: Do you remember your honeymoon like it was yesterday, or does it feel like a lifetime ago? When was the last time you took time out for a romantic trip, just the two of you?

When my husband and I were first married, our trips looked a lot different than they do now with two kids. During our honeymoon on Maui and on frequent trips to Mexico, we would lounge away the days at the beach without a care in the world. We would consume countless books, sip Mai Tais or margaritas at luxurious beach hotels, and indulge in lazy, afternoon siestas

Our shared wanderlust continued beyond our honeymoon. For several years before and after we were married, we explored Asia and Europe together, spending our vacations eating our way through Italy and Greece, and watching some of the most stunning sunsets off the coast of the Mediterranean.

Back then there was plenty of space for romance. Today, with two kids under the age of 10, that carefree, traveling couple seems like a different dimension. While we have always been good about escaping on occasional overnight staycations, several years into our parenting journey (and several years after the birth of our second child), we realized that in order to feed our relationship, we needed to carve out more time for romantic trips.

Even if it is just a night or a weekend away, taking a romantic trip can do wonders for your relationship and keep the romantic fires burning long beyond the honeymoon. Not sure how to start? Here are three types of trips to help you and your partner ease back into travel together and start to vacation like honeymooners again.

The overnight escape

If the thought of taking a trip far away from your babies sends you into a tailspin, consider a quick overnight escape and a great dinner at a local hotel to ease into a romantic weekend.

I remember two things about our first night away from our oldest daughter. We talked nonstop about her (and called my mom to check in several times), and worried about her separation anxiety throughout dinner. I also recall that as the mother of an infant, I had the best night's sleep of my life. My husband and I had an incredible dinner and an uninterrupted long conversation. We returned home from our overnight escape recharged. We swore we'd make more time for these trips. And we have.

The staycation weekend

As our kids grew from infants and toddlers to preschoolers, we felt more at ease to leave them with the grandparents for the weekend and take some staycations. Today, many of our favorite romantic escapes still involve a short road-trip to a nearby resort and spa. We book a couple of spa treatments, make a reservation at a great restaurant, and set up fun couples experiences we can do together at our leisure. We love wine-tasting and spending the day on the golf course together. No matter what you spend your time doing, a change of scenery and a weekend away can help you gain a different perspective and re-ignite those romantic flames.

Viewfinder Tip: If you don’t have family nearby to watch the kids, consider asking a trusted friend or neighbor to help out.

Three nights and a short flight

Now with school-aged kids, we've been exploring longer stints away from home. While our couples' getaways are still few and far between, we’ve gained so much in our relationship from carving out time for three-night vacations that are a short flight from home. From wine-tasting with friends in Paso Robles wine country to a romantic weekend in Sedona, Arizona, and a work/anniversary trip to Cancun, three nights seems to be the sweet-spot for us to create space and unwind in the context of a busy family schedule.

What kind of getaway is right for you and your partner? The answer will be different for everyone. For some parents, it can take time to get comfortable with more extended trips away from the kids. For others, three-night vacations will end up being a minimum. There are no right or wrong answers here. The beauty of parenting is every family is different and you must do what is right for you.

Experimenting and learning what works for your relationship are the keys to keeping  romance alive. If you find yourself making excuses for why you can’t take time out for a little romantic trip now and then, this three-step plan may help you ease back into traveling as a couple again and even regain the heat of those early honeymooning days in the process.

 How do you keep the romance alive with travel?