Our thoughts and experiences with this popular pre-birth trend
So tell me: what is a babymoon?
A babymoon is a trip taken by both parents before the arrival of their bundle of joy (and, let’s not forget, bundle of work!). Whether you’re anticipating your first child, or getting ready for another (or another, or another…), it’s one of the times when it’s better to be together without family, though I’m sure some parents bring their children either out of necessity or simply because they want to. As with any vacation, some couples seemingly shell out whatever the cost to be pampered hand and foot for a week, and others do their best to sneak away for an inexpensive day trip or ‘staycation’ if they can. And while “going away” seems to have been baked into the very idea of a babymoon, with the right attention to each other you can certainly create all of the qualities of a babymoon without going anywhere.
How popular are they?
Babymoons are pretty common, and seemingly getting even more so; a 2005 study showed that 60% of new parents had taken some sort of babymoon. Google Trends shows search interest in babymoons has grown in volume over time. Here’s a graph for the U.S. over the past 15 years, but the worldwide trends look rather similar:
But aren’t there restrictions for pregnant women traveling?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “as long as you and your fetus are healthy, you can travel safely until you are 36 weeks pregnant.” If you’re planning to fly anywhere, you should be sure to complete any flights before reaching 36 weeks. And it’s worth noting that: “Some domestic airlines restrict travel completely or require a medical certificate during the last month of pregnancy. For international flights, the cutoff point often is earlier, sometimes as early as 28 weeks. Check your airline’s policies when planning your trip.” I’ve read that the best time to travel while pregnant is in your second trimester, but having traveled during all three trimesters, I think there’s no reason to limit yourself to only traveling from weeks 14 to 28, as long as you’re feeling up for it.
So, let’s cut to the chase: are babymoons worth it?!
In my experience: yes, absolutely! In a highly unscientific study — ahem, discussions with several friends — I’ve confirmed that that conclusion is consistent. But as I mentioned, if you’re short on time or money, you can still indulge in a special getaway that doesn’t take much of either. In our experience, a babymoon creates a great opportunity to connect before your life gets a bit more hectic and less centered around you, both as an individual and you as a couple. If you already have a child or children, and someone is willing to watch them, by all means, take advantage! Whether you plan something active or relaxed, a babymoon can help you hit pause on the rest of your life (and the stresses of putting a crib together, buying things for your impending arrival, and making it to countless doctor appointments). The only requirement: Just be sure you’re on the same page about what you’d both like out of the trip. Read on.
Okay, I’m in. How should we plan?
As with any travels, it’s important to talk to one another about your expectations and hopes for a babymoon. Is it to explore a new location? Just to have time together? To eat your way through great meals and desserts? (You’ve gotta get those extra 300-500 calories a day somehow, after all!) If you’re in differing camps on your reasoning, I highly suggest giving more weight to the pregnant one’s preferences. Remember, she’s literally carrying the extra weight and might not be feeling fantastic. Once you agree on what you’re hoping to get from the trip, plan away!
Here are a few resources we like that can help you plan:
- The Points Guy lists top babymoon destinations by month so you can plan to join in or steer clear
- Reader’s Digest’s guide to securing a hotel upgrade
- If you’re driving, Roadtrippers for mapping your route (in the U.S.) and planning stops along the way
- Atlas Obscura to find hidden wonders before your trip
- If you’re a coffee lover (or your partner is), check out Sprudge and their fantastic city guides
What was your first babymoon?
In 2017, when I was pregnant with our little Eliza (still unnamed at the time), we planned a short trip to the Hamptons. We chose to go in mid-May since my summer work schedule would have made it difficult to go any later, and it turns out that rates in the Hamptons actually can be quite reasonable before Memorial Day. I was about six months pregnant (26 weeks) at the time and feeling pretty good, so even though we’d hoped to go later in the summer, it worked out perfectly. We kept our costs down by using a Hotels.com credit to cover about half of the cost of the room and rented a car for a couple of days to enjoy a leisurely drive and stop along the way, coming from and heading back to our apartment in New York City.
We didn’t have any expectation of an upgrade, but Sean called ahead to let the hotel know what a special weekend it was for us and asked if they had any availability, whether they’d be able to give us an upgrade to a nicer room. Maybe they would’ve given it anyway once they saw I was pregnant, but I think asking in advance made all the difference. We stayed at the Gurney’s Resort in Montauk, again at an off-season rate but with full amenities including beautiful outdoor fireplaces keeping us warm on the deck; the view was incredible and we had the coziest time together, reading books and eating fantastic meals.
What about your second babymoon?
You can read the ins and outs of our second babymoon in detail, but flash forward 2 ½ years (and many travels) later and I’m expecting again (another so-far-unnamed little one)! We chose Vermont when our baby-to-be clocked in at 30 weeks, so it still felt like plenty of time before the expected due date, but close enough that I appreciated the time away.
We quickly realized that planning a couple’s trip while you already have a little one at home is a much more complicated endeavor than when you’re still childless. (You might be shaking your head at how obvious this is, but, obvious or not, it’s still worth pointing out!). Since Eliza was born, most of our respective travels have either been as a trio or else solo, but very rarely as a couple. So it felt like new territory being away together—you know, like we used to do quite often! In fact, early on in our planning process, we even considered bringing Eliza with us. I imagine it would’ve still been lovely, albeit less of a time for us to reconnect on our own and more of an adventurous time. When Sean’s parents suggested they could watch her though, we were more than happy to take them up on the offer and to begin planning.
We zeroed in on Quechee and Woodstock, Vermont, two cozy destinations in Windsor County that we’ve found charming over the years. And as you can read here, we had a restorative, relaxing weekend while doing it at a fraction of the price of what it would have cost for even one night at a hotel.
Sadly, it’s impossible to bank up on sleep before your baby arrives. But you can bank up on quality time with your partner before a steady bout of sleep deprivation sets in. A babymoon, short or long, cheap or a splurge, is one great way to do it!