14 Destinations That are Better Before Babies

Some parents seem magically able to take their kids anywhere. They trundle across Europe carrying five diaper packs, they brave the 17-hour flight to China with twins and they hike through national parks with a toddler in the backpack and a baby in the front pack. 

However, for many parents, traveling goes on hold when the pink or blue balloons start coming in from friends and family. While family vacations are a wonderful experience, they are certainly not the same as exploring the world as an adult. If you’ve got a bit of a travel bug to work out before you have kids, here’s where to go:

THE ROWDIEST PARTIES

Eivissa at night [Ibiza, Spain]

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Ibiza, Spain | Ibiza means “party” in Spanish – ok, no it doesn’t – but, this warm-weather Mediterranean island is a non-stop celebration from May to September. Bathing beach beauties? Check. A famous electronic dance scene? Check. Insane nightlife? Check. You could bring your kids here to play on the sandy beaches, but it’s really more fun to stay up until 6am, take a morning nap and then ease out of your hangover under a beach umbrella. 

Bangkok, Thailand | Bangkok’s nightlife has a certain reputation, but it doesn’t have to be illegal to be fun. Hedonistic bars at the top of skyscrapers are for nights when you are willing to follow a dress code. Endless bar crawls mixed with the Thai capital’s famous street food are for those other nights when you want to explore and taste the city’s many flavors.

Sambodromo Parade [Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | If the colorful photos from Rio’s Carnival fascinate you each winter, imagine being there yourself. Even if you don’t time your visit to coincide with one of the world’s most nutso street parties, rest assured, Rio keeps a bit left in the tank for the rest of the year. Each day, sun bathing and beach volley ball will give way to nights of dancing, local music and endless caipirinhas. If you don’t think kids would be up for that lifestyle, you’d be correct.   

Berlin, Germany | Out from under its Cold War slump, Berlin is ready to draw you in with weird parties, all-night revelry and new dance moves you probably will never again be able to replicate. Test your party stamina to the limit as the festivities frequently last until after dawn. Berliners are not past a morning party if everyone is still going strong. Take your power naps and consider it practice for when you’re up all night with a fussy baby a few years down the road. 

THE BIGGEST ADVENTURES

Aeruak View [Machu Picchu, Peru]

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Machu Picchu, Peru | Machu Picchu is an adventure and the extreme altitude, sudden drop-offs and hiking required to get there reduce the likelihood of you taking your kids all the way to Peru to see it. Since you are on an adult’s only vacation, make plans to hike the Inca Trail. Walking through the Andes affords incredible sunrises and a view from on top of the world.   

Sossusvlei Namib Desert, Namibia | Namibia’s crazy sand dunes are some of the largest in the world.  A hike to the top will take much longer than you expect due to shifting sands. Your shoes will inevitably fill up. If you don’t want to hike, you can snowboard down the dunes, sky dive or hot air balloon over the desert. Kids aren’t the best companions when you are contemplating throwing yourself out of an airplane.

Salar De Uyuni [Bolivia]

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Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia | Traveling with children doesn’t go over well in the Salar de Uyuni – a beautiful salty expanse of nothing but salt flats for as far as the eye can see. While you might be in awe of this once-in-a-life-time landscape, any kids along for the ride are probably dying of boredom as they rattle around in a Jeep. No playgrounds, no rest stops and the extreme landscape make this a place better visited while you are still child-free.  

THE MOST ROMANTIC

Couple on a tropical beach [Seychelles]

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The Seychelles | Even without the grueling plane flight to the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles are best enjoyed sans kids. One of the world’s premier honeymoon destinations, the beaches and rocks of the Seychelles are great travel destination for people without kids. Turquoise-blue waters, fascinating jungles and cool snorkeling trips are just the beginning. 

New York City, N.Y. | Yep, New York is fun with kids, but you can’t take them to nice restaurants or expect them to want to linger in the growing twilight. Have the candle-lit dinners, go gallery-hopping, and enjoys the late nights out and the expensive shopping out before little ones come along.

Santorini [Greece]

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Santorini, Greece | There’s nothing like a beach coupled with exquisite food to bring to mind romance. Santorini’s bleached white houses cling to the hillsides just like in the tourist brochures and the food is usually straight from the Aegean Sea. A place to relax and enjoy the good life before you’re called away to change diapers or help with math homework. 

THE FARAWAY PLACES

Flinders Ranges National Park [South Australia]

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The Outback, Australia | The plane ride to Australia is going to be challenging whether you’re 5 or 30, but adults won’t scream on the plane for 5 hours straight. Once you’re there, scorpions, big spiders and other creepy crawlies could be too tempting for your toddler. The dry, barren Outback landscape is nowhere you want to be stranded with a child although its incredible remoteness, fantastic animals and rich Aboriginal culture make it a top travel destination for the adventurous set.  

Vancouver Island, British Columbia | Vancouver Island is beautiful, doesn’t have a lot of roads and costs a whole lot of money. It would be tough to take a child beyond Victoria. Roughing it in the woods with a baby isn’t usually a lot of fun and the upscale fly-in retreats don’t usually welcome kids.

Kuang Xi Waterfalls [Luang Prabang, Laos]

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Laos | A trekker’s delight, Laos has thick jungles, wild hill country and impressive religious monuments. This indomitable part of the world is recovering from decades of war, genocide and displacement. Now that Laos is safe to visit, it offers a fantastic view on the culture and lifestyle of Southeast Asia. Dig in to the food, ride on the back of a motorbike and enjoy the adventure before you have kids along.  

Cape Town, South Africa | Cape Town’s amazingly beautiful beaches, chaotic city streets and fantastic Winelands aren’t the easiest places take your kids. It’s tough to lie on the beach when you’re afraid sneaker waves will carry off your child, and wine tours are definitely more fun when you have no responsibilities. 

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Carmen Fifield

The delight of finding an unknown park, a captivating history museum or a fantastic desert means exploration is never far from Carmen Fifield’s mind. Carmen’s favorite travel memories include biking to historic sites on the island of Guernsey, huffing and puffing up the stairs to the Great Wall of China and eating the most delicious crab cake ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Carmen’s Favorite Travel Tip: Say goodbye to airplane food and tuck some fruit and your favorite sandwich into your carry-on.