Kristy: You know, you are sitting around with other traveling families, you start to gossip, you start to share stories and then you start to talk about the challenges of traveling with a family. This topic was a result of one of those evenings. The kids went to bed, the wine started to flow and so did the stories. As the night went on, the stories got a bit bawdier and we talked about doing a collection of stories, stories about having sex while traveling with your family. We knew we had just the group to do it, so along with Christine (Almost Fearless), Theodora (Travels with a Nine Year Old ) and Colin and Tracy (Our Travel Lifestyle ) this little Ménage a Quatre was born. I can neither confirm nor deny any of Jeff’s content below.
Jeff: They say men think of sex every 7 seconds. Once and a while, on those rare times when Vagabond Mom and I travel by ourselves, I must confess from the moment the hotel room door closes I start thinking about sex every 2 seconds, add in a few cans of the cheap expired beer from the mini-bar and I feel like a king in my palace and start to lounge in just my underwear. Yes, I admit, I am a true travelling pig. The cheaper and shabbier the room – the more randy I get baby. Usually, as long as I can muster a few cabana boy/room service jokes, we manage to get by. Ahhh … good times.
Now back to reality. What happens during family travel? Well, not much usually – but it’s a shame – a holiday is an especially enjoyable time for intimacy. On family trips I still get that little rush upon entering our room, dreaming of some cabana boy games, but it’s quickly drowned out by the exhaustion of the trip, unpacking 16 suitcases, and settling heated kid arguments about who gets what bed. Goodbye fantasy.
Like many working families in Asia, we have a live-in maid and we often bring her with us when we travel. When she travels with us she shares a separate room with the kids, and BINGO. I can take my wife out for a nice dinner and we can spend a bit of time together after dinner without fear of having to fuss with the kids. The obvious problem of course is the extra expense. An extra air ticket may be $400, then there is the additional room for 3 nights let’s just say it is another $450, and then there is the extra food and attraction expense – rounded out to another $150 more, so … total cost of this intimate opportunity? $1,000.
You see where this is leading … an uncouth cost/benefit analysis. If you are over 35 like me and exhausted by the trip, the first day and night is not amorous in the least. The next few days may offer possibility, but really, at this age, how many trysts are we really talking about? One is mandatory, two perhaps once in a Blue moon – how about three? If you are at three, let me know your diet and exercise regime and bottle it. So, back to our calculator…. lets see, that’s $1,000 for one tryst – WHAT!!??
If we travel without our helper and no separate rooms it’s a tough “love” challenge. One (more expensive) solution is to get a mini-suite, but only if you’re able to get one with a locking bedroom door. We’ve found that the old, “Kids, here’s some snacks, books, and the TV. Mom and I are going to rest awhile, please don’t disturb us unless it’s an emergency” routine can work now that the kids are a little older. Of course, suites are more expensive and not all mini-suites (sometimes sold as family rooms) have a bedroom with a locking door, and it’s tough to justify calling long distance to Phuket or Tokyo to try to clarify this point.
We have also used the hotel babysitting service as most hotels in Asia offer this, and they were great especially for younger kids. Typically it is one of the housekeepers and they love the chance to play with foreign children. The problem of course is that this only gets you a nice dinner or movie out, unless you’re downright insane with desire and rent a separate super cheap shabby room in the bad part of town for a few hours (that would REALLY get ME going, but anyway). Other hotels may offer Kids Clubs and they can, sometimes, be a godsend. Unfortunately, some are quite expensive; especially the all day programs, and many are not all that great. At a minimum, you should look at the Club schedule and sign the kiddies up for an arts and crafts or other activity which lasts an hour or two, then, GET BUSY!
If you are travelling with another family, or perhaps the grandparents, use the opportunity to arrange for them to watch your kids for an hour or two in the afternoon for some quality spouse time. There are other options, but the feasibility factor declines dramatically, you know …. those options like locking the kids in the closet, bathroom sports, locking the kids out of the room, leaving the kids at lunch and telling them you’ll be back in a while, putting your 9 and 10 year old kids on rented jet skis for an hour, you know, that old thing. But, seriously, the main thing is that moms and dads need to remember that they are husband and wife as well when on family trips – it does really add to your travel experience and a loving relationship.