Travelling as a single parent with your children in tow can be stressful and exhausting. The thought of spending the whole vacation running after the kids with no free adult time is tiring and almost not worth the effort. Travelling as a single parent can also be an expensive adventure that can take all the joy away from having a great experience. But having uninterrupted time with your kids is just as appealing and a family getaway, especially during the festive season can also be such a beautiful time. Here are some valuable tips to help you make the most of your time away:
1) Don't be too Ambitious
If you are about to embark on your first holiday as a single parent, start small. Perhaps undertake a nearby getaway so if you need to return home unexpectedly, it's not going to be a harrowing trip. Go on a shorter break to see how you go as you wouldn't want to pay for extended periods of time if everyone is not going to enjoy themselves.
2) Warm Weather
Travelling in warm weather is always a much easier option, especially when the children are still young. This will enable you to pack light without worrying about boots and coats whilst it's also much more convenient to wash and dry garments in hot climates. Luggage will be physically lighter and your children could help with the smaller bags.
3) Ask for Different Rates
Travel is unfortunately catered for even numbers. 2 adults and 2 kids. Don't be afraid to ask if there is a different price for a single adult to try and save on some costs. Also enquire about any free or discounted inclusions for children, such as activities, meals or room rates. This could make a substantial saving which may allow you to add on another activity which you may otherwise not have been able to afford.
4) Take a Friend
If you have any friends in the same boat, invite them to travel with you. There is no better babysitter than other children to distract your own. Not only will you have some adult company, the kids will also have a great time. If you have the luxury of choice, ask friends who have children around the same age group or at least have similar interests. Travelling with another adult would also mean the both of you could sneak off for a couple of hours for some much needed adult time and relaxation.
5) Travel in a Group
Group holidays are incredibly fun and provide excellent companionship for all. Take the initiative to organise trips which could perhaps turn into an annual vacation that everyone could look forward to. Group travel is also excellent for the budget conscious as you could take advantage of group discounts on most expenses such as hotel rooms and tours.
6) Single Parent Groups
Join organised or community single parent groups to try and make some new friends in the same situation. It helps to have continuous support whilst also making fresh connections for potential holidays in the future. Many single parents have made lifelong friendships as they not only assist each other in times of need but it helps to be surrounded by people who understand what you are going through.
7) Plan the Activities
A good holiday for all is one that is made up of a good mix of activities for the whole family. Young children can't be expected to roam through museums for hours whilst the parent can't be expected to only engage in childish activities. Strike a good balance and it should make for a great vacation.
Selecting the right destination is imperative for a successful holiday. It has to be able to appeal to everyone in the family. Some great ideas include beach getaways, camping trips to pry the kids off their electronics and enjoy what nature has to offer, places with great theme parks and for the lucky ones, a cruise.
9) Get Them Involved
Talk to your children about the upcoming holiday and get them involved in the planning process. This way they have an expectation of what's to come. Explain to your kids that everyone has to respect each other's interests and that as a family you will experience everything together. Set the rules from the start. Let them know that you will need their help throughout the trip and give them some responsibilities so they feel needed.
10) Be Organised
Do all the hard work prior to the trip. Ensure you have booked everything you need to, all your travel documentation is in order and you have a solid itinerary. This way you're not making unnecessary decisions when you arrive and you're able to relax and simply enjoy each other's company.
Holidays are just precious. It shouldn't be a time filled with worries and anxiety. Forward planning and being well prepared will make an immense difference. Cherish every moment and may you make many fond memories in the years to come!