adults only travel

Many travel-related businesses have begun offering adults-only areas. Even certain communities around the globe have created policies prohibiting children. This has sparked many debates across the world, and has left some parents feeling discriminated against. While parenthood used to be quite nearly expected, numerous people today are opting out of raising a child. 

Those deciding to not have children are largely economically motivated. In a study by the New York Times, 64% of young adults said expensive childcare was a contributing factor in how many children they had. Coupled with the fact that raising a child costs an average of $235,000, many young adults are choosing to wait or not have kids at all. 

What Is the Childfree Community?

More Americans are choosing not to have children. In fact, the number of babies born in 2018 was the lowest in 32 years. There are many reasons contributing to this, including:

  • Cost of living;
  • The impact on the environment;
  • The need to further their career;
  • Cost of childcare;
  • The lack of family leave;
  • And the urge for more leisure time. 

Frequently, people that are a part of the childfree movement advocate for voluntary childlessness. The movement was started in the 1970s by two activist groups, the National Organization for Non-Parents and No Kidding! 

The ChildFree Community has grown in recent years, especially in online forums like Reddit. A sub-section of Reddit was created, consisting of over half a million people who have chosen to be childfree. These spaces allow like-minded people to support one another in their decisions to be childless.

Examples of Childfree Spaces

There are some businesses that have had childfree policies in place for years, and some millennials may be particularly attracted to age-restricted destinations and events.

Childfree Restaurants

There are restaurants that are age-restricted or have childfree zones. Though some parents work very hard to teach their children how to behave, there is an equal number of children that lack the social skills appropriate for public settings. Just by simply being themselves, children can unintentionally disturb the ambiance of a restaurant or be a burden on the staff. 

To ensure they don’t discriminate against parents, some restaurants choose to introduce zones instead. La Fisheria, a Houston restaurant, created a policy that does not allow children in the restaurant after 8 pm. This way, a wide array of diners can enjoy themselves without overlapping with one another. 

Cruises

Some cruise lines have started to focus on adults-only cruises, either making the entire ship childfree, or creating spaces on family-friendly ships for adults to hang out. This allows adults to enjoy a stress-free environment without the need to share amenities with young children. 

Disney Cruises are every kid’s dream. However, they are wildly popular among adults too. Much of their success has come from designating adults-only spaces, including a swimming pool, lounges, and multiple restaurants. They even section off part of the beach for childfree adults. 

Disney Cruises also do an exceptional job of entertaining children, so parents can have time for themselves. There are kids’ clubs sorted by age, as well as contact options in place so the parents can be reached if needed. 

Airlines

Airlines are notoriously uncomfortable, and the community of air-travelers have made unspoken agreements on airplane etiquette. However, it is hard to make children abide by these rules, especially in a stressful environment like a plane. To remedy this, some airlines have created childfree zones to allow those without children a space to relax, catch up on work, or nap.

IndiGo announced kid-free quiet zones on airplanes to give business travelers a better chance to get work done or to rest before landing. While this is the first U.S carrier to create this policy, other international airlines have made the change, including Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, and Singapore’s Scoot Airlines. 

Adults-Only Hotels and Resorts

Many hotels have policies in place that restrict access to children. Adults-only vacations create a relaxing atmosphere for those who are childfree. These vacations are ideal to meet other like-minded adults and to practice self-care without the added responsibility of children.

Resorts like Blau Varadero Hotel have designed getaways with adult amenities, creating an upscale experience for those without children. With no children to look after, the hotel and staff can focus on providing the best customer service and experience to its patrons. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Adults-Only Spaces

Adults-only spaces have brought forth a lot of controversy since their inception. While they offer stress-free environments and a quiet atmosphere, they also exclude a large audience.

Pros

There are some benefits to adults-only spaces, including:

  • Childfree spaces are less boisterous, creating fewer distractions as adults enjoy activities. This allows adults to enjoy a stress-free vacation with a break from responsibilities. Vacations are a time to rediscover yourself and rejuvenate. Traveling with kids can carry the same stressors as daily life.
  • Staff members spend less time managing and cleaning up after children, meaning they have time to offer better service to customers. Many children are unintentionally messy, and can cause damage to a restaurant or hotel. The more time the staff has to spend cleaning up after children, the less time that can be spent creating a memorable experience for everyone.
  • Adults-only areas prevent children from being exposed to activities that are inappropriate for them, such as bars or nightclubs.

Cons

There are also drawbacks to adults-only spaces, including:

  • Childfree areas exclude many people, like parents, from participating. However, there is a large market for family-friendly vacation spots and other spaces.
  • Omitting children from activities eliminates potential bonding moments with parents and other kids.
  • Some childcare facilities may not be equipped to help children with special needs.
  • Childcare is an additional expense many parents need to consider before participating at adults-only venues.

Tips for Having an Adults-Only Vacation

Many adults are discovering the benefits of self-care, and a vacation is a great way to recharge. Though it may seem easy to pack up and leave, there are some things to consider before leaving on an adults-only vacation. 

The Best Time for an Adults-Only Vacation

Some may think the summer season is the best time to go on vacation, but this may not be true for adults-only spaces and especially parents. Instead, plan to go in September when kids are back in school. This way, those without children will have less chance of running into young vacationers, and parents may pay less for childcare services. Additionally, traveling in the off-season can be less expensive and less crowded. 

How to Find Childfree Businesses

Many businesses, like resorts and hotels, are explicit about their childfree services. Others, not so much. Luckily there are many ways to find out if a business is childfree, including:

  • Using third-party platforms, like Yelp or TripAdvisor;
  • Using search engines, like Google to look at reviews;
  • Or using Facebook to see what others are saying about the business.

A business’s website should also display its services, however, they might be harder to find. Usually, a customer can discover if a business is childfree by looking at its “about” page, or by calling and asking directly.

Finding Childcare

Some adults forgo vacations because they cannot find childcare. Good childcare will reduce expenses and ensure children are left in good hands. There are many ways to find a good babysitter, including:

  • Asking friends for referrals;
  • Advertising in a college paper;
  • Going through a nonprofit agency;
  • Looking online;

After securing a babysitter, be sure to:

  • Conduct an interview with the sitter;
  • Meet them in person;
  • Let them spend time with the kids;
  • Ask for references;
  • Ask for CPR paperwork.

Though many businesses are seeing the advantages of adults-only spaces, many parents who like to share these moments with their children feel left out. Luckily, there are enough options for any type of customer. By understanding and researching a business’s services beforehand, everyone can have the chance to enjoy the type of environment they want.

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