For many pregnant couples, a “babymoon,” or one last romantic escape before the newest family member arrives, has become almost as necessary as the crib purchase. After all, you’re about to be sleep-deprived and covered in spit-up, so you might as well relax while you still can.
But at a time with babymoons are marketed almost as heavily as wedding events, how can you plan an affordable one, especially when your budget is about to take on the added stress of a baby? I chatted with Amy Graff, who is both a mom and a travel expert. She says there’s no need for pregnant moms to stay home with their feet up for nine months; expectant couples can be out and about, and with a few adjustments, can enjoy as much freedom as they did in their pre-pregnant days. As Graff puts it, “Why be fat and uncomfortable at home when you can be fat and uncomfortable on a tropical island?”
[In Pictures: 10 Smart Ways to Improve Your Budget.]
Here are five of Graff’s top tips for planning an affordable babymoon:
1) Make your plans early (or really late). If you’re traveling at a popular time, such as mid-summer or over a holiday, then you’ll want to make your reservations at least two months in advance. But if you’re flexible, then sometimes you can get killer deals by waiting to book anything until just days before you depart.
2) Get away from the crowd. Swanky ski towns like Aspen, Whistler, and Killington are gorgeous in the summer time, and they also tend to be heavily discounted, says Graff. You can also get great deals to Mexico and the Caribbean during the warmer months. And if you can travel during the week, you can probably score an even better deal.
3) Shop around. Instead of relying on one travel website to meet all your needs, Graff recommends comparing your options from multiple vendors, such as cheapflights.com and orbitz.com. You might even get a better deal if you visit the websites of hotel chains and airlines directly.
4) Prioritize your comfort. Think non-stop flights, plenty of time for naps, and quiet evenings with room service instead of eight hours of sight-seeing. Graff also suggests bringing along a bottle of water to stay hydrated, especially on airplanes, along with plenty of snacks and mints to combat queasiness. Load up on sunscreen, too, since skin can be especially sensitive during pregnancy. Other must-have items include sturdy flats and a first-aid kit with blister pads and Tums.
[In Pictures: 12 Money Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes]
5) Invest in a Plan B. When you’re pregnant, you don’t always have control over your body. It might decide that you’re too tired to go at the last minute, or your baby might decide she’s ready to make an early entrance. “The biggest mistake is not having a Plan B,” says Graff. “Couples should not only purchase cancellation insurance for their airfare, but also make sure the airline does not have any regulations for pregnant women flying, such as a note from your doctor.” She also suggests checking with your insurance company about medical coverage wherever you are going. You might also want to research local hospitals and providers in advance, in case a health issue arises while you’re traveling.
Readers, what do you think about babymoons? Have you taken one?
Kimberly Palmer is the author of the new book Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back.