Almost Fearless

How to Have Sex on the Road and Not Wake Your Child

Seriously, I want to know. I have this habit of asking traveling parents the same question: “How exactly are you keeping your love life going?” Because it’s not just having a child, it’s having a child in your hotel room, in your bed, with very little room and often a shared bathroom — and we’re living like this for months or years at a time. It’s not so much, “How do I keep the spark alive” but how do I literally find a sex position that works under these conditions! Please, just draw me a picture. I need advice. To that end, three of my favorite traveling families decided to post a little family-sex-on-the-road round up. Wow that sounds bad. Anyway, if you want even more advice from these um, experienced… travelers, go to Our Travel Lifestyle, Vagabond Kids and Travels with a Nine Year Old. Happy Valentine’s Day, Traveling Families!


Tracy from Our Travel Lifestyle:

Travelling as a family is a rewarding adventure but it also poses challenges. There’s one particular challenge that doesn’t get talked about all that often – just how do travelling parents manage to have sex while they’re travelling with kids in tow? Well to celebrate this Valentines day we’re going to talk about it! Three families are going to share their stories.

It all started…

A few months ago, Christine and Drew Gilbert (from here at were interviewing us for their upcoming documentary on location independent travellers. The interview was going to plan with all the usual questions, until suddenly out of left field Christine set us up.

“So you’ve been on the road now for 9 months, right?“

“Yes, since January 2010.”

“And you’re travelling with two little kids on a budget so you usually share the one room?”


“So how do you have sex?”

Now we haven’t seen footage yet but it would be a fairly safe bet to say when it does come out, our faces will be a shade of red that’s usually only reserved for clown’s noses. Our eventual response?

“Umm … quietly!”

Over the next few months we started talking to other travelling families and realised that everyone’s experiences are a little different depending on how you travel, the age of your children and whether you’re a single parent or a couple.

The problem for parents

Having sex while travelling is probably a pretty common and relatively uncomplicated thing for singles and couples, but for parents there is a level of complexity that probably isn’t appreciated by the average traveller. Most families who travel long term do it on a budget, which means sharing a room with your children. While you save money on accommodation by all squashing into the one room, you lose out on chances for intimacy unless you can find a way to ‘do it’ with the kids in the room.

We’ve been on the road for just over twelve months with our 3 and 5 year old children. When we first started travelling we thought it would be a big issue for us, or rather we thought it would be an issue for me. Colin happily admits to being a male who is happy to have sex anywhere, anytime provided the kids are asleep or in another room. Me, well I’m your typical married mother – I have 1,000 other things on my mind at all times and find having children asleep just a few meters more than a little distracting. “What if they wake up” “What if they see us?” “Did one of them just stir? I saw an eyelash move … crap…”

But when your on the road for such a long time, you really only have two choices – enforce a monastic life on your husband or learn to deal with having the kids near by. We chose the latter option and to be honest we’ve found that the secret is exactly what we told Christine – be quiet. Do whatever you like, as often as you like, do it as freaky as you like … just do it quietly.

The bigger challenge is maintaining any spontaneity in your relationship. Any ‘quiet’ action that you manage to have is pretty much confined to a small hostel bed with the aim to make as little noise as possible. Nights out without the kids to have some time to appreciate each other are few and far between. I really couldn’t even guess at how long it’s been since I’ve put on a pair of heels and make-up, or worn sexy underwear. If you ask Colin he’d tell you it’s been a bloody long time.

So while it might be easy to still have sex in a room when you’re travel with small children, maintaining your relationship can be a bigger challenge. When you’re travelling with two small kids it’s sometimes hard to remember that you are husband and wife not just parents.

Read Tracy and Colin’s post called, It’s Business Time for their take on the issue…

Single parent travellers draw the short straw

Of all the parent travellers, single parents perhaps have the toughest lot when it comes to sex on the road. When we cornered Theodora, a single mother travelling with her son, over beers she confessed to having a bit of a dry spell. Actually her exact words are “Nada, nish, zilcho, nothing since January last year, thank you… And, before you ask, none on the horizon, either…”

There have of course been opportunities for Theordora that haven’t quite panned out for cultural reasons or poor timing. Or how about the well educated, gorgeous local in Indonesia whose romantic overtures would have been returned if it wasn’t for the fact that he was married and in that particular tribe the wife of an adulterer is entitled to hack both tryst partners to death with a machete.  Even after a twelve-month dry spell Theodora wisely chose to turn that offer down.

And of course, even if a single parent is to get an offer for a night of romance well umm who’s bedroom would they go to? The one that you’re sharing with your child, or perhaps the room of the lucky man thus leaving your child unattended in a foreign country?

Read Theodora’s post called, The S Word for even more…

Travel with your own babysitter?

Kristy and her husband Jeff have discovered the holy grail of family travel – they travel with their maid/babysitter/nanny who shares a bedroom with the children, leaving Jeff and Kristy with a room to themselves to … well do what they like, when they like.

Of course travelling with an extra person comes at a cost. An extra flight and an extra room for the children to share with their helper; all up Jeff estimates that a three night weekend away with their helper costs them an extra $1000. Given that on the first night they’ve been travelling all day so any ‘action’ is unlikely, the best case scenario is that’s $1000 for maybe two nights of fun. And lets face it when you’re over thirty and the parents of two kids who’ll want your undivided attention the next day, it’s not like your going to stay up all night making the most of your time together. When you start thinking about it, $1000 is a lot of money to pay for an hour or two of adult time.

Read Kristy and Jeff’s post called Let’s Talk about Sex Baby for their hilarious account…

Tips You Can Use

  • Go stealth: kids will sleep through more than you think!
  • Get help: there’s no shame in hiring help, especially if it means keeping your marriage healthy.
  • Act like teenagers: The floor? The shower?  Quietly on the bed?  Standing up?  There’s no rules, but a playful attitude helps!
  • Sex isn’t always possible: I think the main idea is to stay connected, wherever you are in the world.

Read more by these bloggers:

It’s Business Time

The S Word

Let’s Talk About Sex Baby

Have you traveled with children?  Any advice to offer?  Trust me, inquiring minds want to know.

Pics:  toniblay, iloveblue, stuckincustoms

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



  • What a great topic and conversation!

    To add another dimension to it from the traveling childfree couple side of things, it’s not necessarily ‘uncomplicated’ for us either. Sure, we have more opportunity for alone time – but sex on the road does present challenges for us too!

    We lived for our first 4-ish years on the road in a very small tiny travel trailer .. where we’re often parked at night either 1) on neighborhood streets in front of friend’s homes 2) in Walmart parking lots or 3) in crammed in RV Parks with neighbors also in mobiles homes (and thin walls) within arm’s reach.

    So yes.. while we had visual privacy and no one to wake within our house – homes on wheels shake and bounce and have little sound privacy. And bouncing your house in the middle of a parking lot is only so exciting for so many nights. 😀 One of the reasons we loved being able to also park down forest roads and setup camp where there was no one else in site.

    When traveling via other modalities, childfree folks are also generally traveling on a budget and selecting accommodations that offer less privacy than one might like to fully engage in their preferred sexual connections. So yup… quiet and discrete it is!

    I’ve heard a lot of similar concerns from parents in general who live in small spaces with their kids, regardless if they travel or not. And I can certainly understand that traveling with kids and sharing rooms/beds with them and not having a trusting local network of babysitters can be extra challenging too.

    When we’ve met up in larger group nomadic rendezvouses, often times we’ll see the parent’s coordinating child care to give each couple alone time. Perhaps more nomadic parents could set intentions for more rendezvouses with folks they can trust to exchange childcare with?

  • We don’t have kids, so I still believe that international travel with pets is the biggest challenge. I have a great post about that nightmare, but will have to find the link and come back.
    Happy Valentine’s Day from Haiti,

  • Sorry the post about international travel with pets is called “An unforunate incident involving the international trafficking of canines and what I haven’t learned since then.” Can’t get the link to copy.
    blogging from Haiti,

  • We faced the challenge of being intimate while sharing small living spaces — usually a one-room apartment or hotel room — with our 12 and 9 year old kids during our 10-month RTW trip. A couple of ways we made it work:
    – let the kids indulge in TV or DVD on the laptop, and let them turn up the volume! Then, tell them that you’re taking a shower together to save water, and enjoy the bathroom as best as possible.
    – If the kids are old enough to run around on their own outside (such as at a family-style campground where we’d sometimes stay), shoo them outside and tell them Dad and Mom need to take a nap, and do not come back for a half hour unless it’s an emergency.
    – Kids are sound sleepers. Enjoy the middle of the night together while they sleep through it.
    It takes commitment and creativity to keep sex and intimacy enjoyable while traveling with kids, but it’s possible!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yeah I am dreading when the kids get older. We’ll have to be even more inventive I am sure 😉 Thanks for the tips. But sending the kids out in the daytime to play in a camping ground would mean “daytime sex”. Is that allowed for parents??? 😉


  • I’m glad we don’t have to worry about this yet — but I do enjoy reading about all the creative ways traveling couples with kids approach the problem. Being sneaky and the fear of being caught by your kids might (or might not) actually add spice to the act, no?

  • This is a great series because I wonder about this as well when we meet traveling families. I’m glad we don’t have to use stealth (at least, yet!)

  • We had a blast with this article, it was fun to write and fun to have a round robin with all of these great bloggers. Family Travel is always a challenge and totally worth it by the way, and the logistics of the lovin’ make it even more fun!

  • Well, thanks for posting this. If and when such a situation arises, I now know who to turn to for advice!
    It is encouraging to find that many think that stealth works!

  • I have to say, the part about having sex when your children in the room is absolutely, positively disgusting. If they are young and cant even find their own nose, fine, but kids are aware of more than you would think. My parents had sex in the hotel room on vacation and I was most definitely old enough to know and awake enough to be scarred for life. Do NOT have sex when your children are in the room, its positively horrific if your child witnesses that.

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