Half term is officially here, which typically provides the perfect respite from a busy work schedule. However, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, half term can also make holiday havens turn into destinations to be avoided, if you are looking for a bit of peace and quiet.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone when it comes to seeking a holiday destination where children are absent. Last October, boutique hotel specialist i-escape reported a 30 per cent rise (on the previous year) in searches for “adults-only” getaways. That figure is supported by the growing number of hotels offering child-free experiences.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend break to celebrate a special occasion, you’re a couple who haven’t quite taken the family route yet, or if you’re parents needing a rest from your own little angels – the fact is, you all want the same thing. Calm, fun and uninterrupted conversation and a few glasses of wine, with license for a headache and a lie-in the next morning. Here’s how to enjoy a holiday without being bombarded by other people’s kids!
Booking flights during half term
It is difficult to avoid tantrums, crying and flailing limbs that accompany the presence of small children on a plane, but all is not lost. There are a small number of Asian airlines that are now offering child-free zones (Malaysian Airlines, AirAsiaX, Scoot and IndiGo), and with a growing demand for quieter flights, perhaps commercial airlines will follow suit in years to come.
In the meantime, avoid seats at the back of the plane near the toilets. These seats also give parents extra time to pack everything up as other passengers disembark. On long haul flights, families are often near the bulkhead as this is the only place a child can be safely secured in a cot - so avoid these at all costs. In addition, book flights that are deemed more of a hassle for parents, generally this means night or very early-morning flights – while some parents may be sure their child will sleep, others are worried they will not sleep and be tired and ratty. No parent wants to be responsible for disturbing a plane full of sleepy passengers!
Adult only accommodation
Adult only holidays are not always about avoiding children, but simply a sanctuary away from noise and haste. Just picture it… gazing over the edge of an infinity pool on to the horizon. No dive bombing, no noise, just you in your own little corner of the world. Nowadays it’s the norm – with plenty of tour operators offering an array of adult-only experiences across the globe – we’ve selected our top 5 further down the article.
If you’re off on an adventure and don’t want an exclusive resort experience, you need to find accommodation that doesn’t attract families. Upmarket hotels, boutique B&Bs and private villas tend to attract an older demographic so it’s worth doing your research and hunting them down.
Avoid budget tour operators and hotel chains as families are often after a bargain break. Always check the hotels website before you book – if they offer deals for families, or have children’s facilities, then they are not the place for you.
The best holiday destinations for adults
Consider your holiday destination – Disneyland attracts families, exotic and far-away locations like the Maldives and Fiji less so. Choosing where to go can make a big difference to the likelihood of families with young children being present. Some locations may seem obvious, others not so; research is key when it comes to securing that dream child-free holiday.
When planning a beach vacation, it’s important to look for a place that has a private beach, in order to dodge the masses of families lining the water. Remote beaches with fewer facilities are more likely to put families off - so the more idyllic the better.
Tourist attractions and excursions
When it comes to sightseeing, retail therapy and cultural activities: choose places and excursions that will attract a more mature crowd. Art galleries, hiking expeditions, boutique shopping and yoga classes are less likely to appeal to the families in search of fun and affordable activities like water parks and animal attractions.
Restaurants and dining
You may have booked the perfect adult-only hotel, but when it comes to wining and dining venturing out to find a child-free restaurant might prove a little more difficult. But there are few general rules of thumb that may help. Avoid heading out to dinner early – families will be looking to eat early evening so head out a little later to avoid the crowds. Large busy restaurants with multiple cuisines and buffet style restaurants are a no go – they tend to attract families on a budget, feeding on mass. Seek more exquisite, fine dining restaurants that offer one cuisine – you’ll be able to enjoy your glass of vino in peace! It’s also worthwhile doing your research as restaurants off the beaten track are also less likely to attract the crowds.
Currency travel cards are a great way to get the most out of your holiday money. Not only do they tend to offer great exchange rates, and few, if any charges when spending abroad, they also allow holiday makers to pre-load exactly how much they want to spend, meaning you are less likely to blow your budget. (For example, the Caxton multi-currency card does not charge you for using ATMs abroad and could save you an average of £3 per cash withdrawal compared to your debit card.)
For all of your travel currency needs make sure you load your Caxton currency card ahead of your travels and if you’re asked to pay for anything in advance use your International Payments service and pay in the local currency.