If I could change one thing about my pregnancies, it would be this: I wish I’d taken a babymoon with my husband before it was too late.
At the time, I thought babymoons were, at best, something only wealthy moms could afford—I mean, shouldn’t I be saving up for diapers? At worst, they seemed like a travel industry marketing ploy, as unnecessary as a push present.
I was so wrong.
Now that I’m 7 years into parenting, and I can count on one hand the nights my husband and I have had alone together, I can really appreciate how lovely it would have been to take a babymoon.
A vacation before the baby comes is an excellent opportunity to practice self-care by reading magazines, sleeping in and scoring a prenatal massage. Even more importantly, a babymoon offers a chance to reconnect and strengthen your partnership when you need it most—right before that needy newborn shows up. Plus, let’s be real, it could be the last time you have great sex for ages.
So let’s plan that babymoon! Before you book, here are some factors you’ll want to consider:
The ideal time for a babymoon is during the second trimester (weeks 14-28) when morning sickness has typically passed, energy levels have increased and your belly still fits comfortably into a vehicle. Most domestic airlines allow women to fly up to 36 weeks, but that doesn’t mean you should push it to the limit. I mean, who wants to give birth in a strange place without your OB—or worse, on the plane?
Also, try to avoid traveling during school holidays such as Christmas and spring break. You’ll get better rates and more peace and quiet without the family crowd.
While Mexico and the Caribbean have been popular babymoon destinations in the past, they now carry a risk of Zika virus infection, which can cause serious birth defects. Luckily, no mosquito-borne virus transmission has occurred in the U.S., according to the CDC.
You’ll also want to be within a reasonable distance of a hospital or medical center that can provide care should you experience anything unusual with your pregnancy. Loop your OB in for a recommendation once you know where you’re headed.
Ease of Travel
Even if you’re a pregnancy superhero, give yourself a break and avoid unnecessary travel hardships like changing planes, super long flights or a bumpy bus ride. Book yourself an aisle seat for bathroom access, take frequent walks, and if at all possible, upgrade!
You don’t have to choose a warm-weather destination for your babymoon, but keep in mind that floating weightless in a pool or calm sea will feel amazing, whereas bundling into snow pants will not. Do avoid extreme temperatures, since preggos already run hot. (I can tell you from personal experience that August is not the right time to visit Palm Springs if you’re sweating for two.)
Choose a destination that offers your favorite relaxation activities, whether that’s a spa with prenatal services, a selection of great restaurants that will satiate your cravings or a cute town with lots of shopping. If your resort offers an adults-only pool, all the better; you’ll have many years to listen to screaming kids fighting over pool toys, so enjoy the silence while you can!
And if you’ve been thinking about hiring a photographer for a maternity shoot, consider scheduling it during your babymoon so you can capture this magical time in an equally magical setting.
Where to Go
And now for the fun part: here are 8 dreamy babymoon destinations to inspire your travel plans:
Maui, Hawaii – With perfect year-round weather, Gardenia-scented breezes and a warm, welcoming sea, you’ll feel—and sleep—incredibly in Maui. For peace and quiet plus pampering, consider the adults-only Wailea Hotel, where you can book an in-room Lomi Lomi pregnancy massage.
Laguna Beach, California – Located in Orange County just an hour south of LAX, Laguna is an easy breezy getaway with gorgeous beaches, art galleries and boutiques, tasty Tex-Mex, and a range of resorts from the reasonable Laguna Marriott Cliffs to the ritzy Montage Laguna Beach.
Naples, Florida – This gulf coast destination offers pristine white-sand beaches with gentle waves, luxury resorts like The Ritz Carlton and a burgeoning restaurant scene, including hot spot 1500 South, opened by a private chef to the stars. If it’s good enough for Oprah…
Mackinac Island, Michigan – If your idea of relaxation is avoiding traffic, why not vacation on an island that doesn’t allow cars but provides horse and carriage rides aplenty? This charming, old-timey destination highlights life’s simple pleasures: beautiful views, porch swings, and fudge shops. Choose a charming B&B or the classic Grand Hotel.
Las Vegas, Nevada – You can have a ball in Sin City without actually sinning. A casino-free hotel, such as The Four Seasons, offers sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the strip while you indulge in poolside wait service, world-renowned restaurants and decadent spa treatments. Take in a romantic Cirque du Soleil show like La Reve or Zumanity and then draw those blackout shades closed for an awesome night’s sleep.
Montauk, New York – The tabloids portray the Hamptons as a glitzy celebrity playground, but peaceful Montauk, on the eastern tip of Long Island, has a super chill vibe and stunning sunset views. Take long walks on its white sand beaches (you might find yourself completely alone on a weekday!), enjoy ultra-fresh seafood and hit the Seawater Spa at Gurney’s Resort for a Mother-to-Be Massage.
Cannon Beach, Oregon – If you prefer cozying up in front of the fire to baking in the sun, consider this misty Pacific Northwest gem, where you can explore rocky coves, look for wild Puffins or just kick it at a deluxe resort like The Stephanie Inn, which features a complimentary chef’s gourmet breakfast buffet.
Sedona, AZ – With its stunning red rocks and spiritual vibe, Sedona is a mystical place to relax and recharge while growing a human. Hike a trail, tube along a creek, shop for local crafts, hit the spa (Enchantment Resort’s Mii Amo Spa offers pregnancy-friendly water therapy), and gaze at a starry sky like no other.
image via Getty