Nothing emphasises your single parent status like a holiday. Most family holidays are created with the two-parent family model in mind, which often means single parents end up paying more as a single adult traveller and are unable to share the cost with another adult. Before you dismiss the idea of vacationing as a single parent altogether, take a look at our top ten tips which are certain to help you make this family holiday go smoothly.
Holiday with friends
Just because you aren’t part of a couple, it doesn’t mean that you can’t holiday with another adult. You may have single parent friends or a friend that would love to get away with you and the kids. Travelling with a friend means sharing the cost of accommodation and even travel, just as two parents would when they go on holiday as a family. Going away with another single parent can also mean that if your children of the same age they have holidaying companions which always makes vacations so much more fun!
Book a shorter holiday
If you aren’t used to going on holiday as a single parent, book just one week away rather than two. You may even want to book a long weekend at a location that is somewhere close to home if you aren’t feeling too confident about going away as the only adult looking after your children. Once you have got the hang of it you can then plan a longer vacation for next year, having learned from your previous experience of going away with the family. If you have family or friends living in an interesting part of the country, why not ask to visit them so you at least have some kind of support should you need it?
Cater for all
If you have children of various ages, you need to ensure that wherever you go there will be suitable activities for all of them. Renting your own villa with a pool is a great idea for all ages, and everything you need is on site – simply stock up on all your groceries the first day and relax in your own hideaway. Alternatively, select a hotel that has kids’ clubs for different ages, and also has a spa and bar for you – your needs to be met too!
Pack the games
You may want to put a ban on all technology, but seriously, wait until you’ve reached your destination, as otherwise, your journey could be a very long period of whining about being bored. Pack the tablet and travel games and books in your carry-on luggage, so there is always something on hand to entertain the kids while you wait to board and during long transfers from the airport to your accommodation.
Check and double check!
The last thing you want to deal with at the airport is discovering you have left some important document or a passport at home. Check your bag for all the relevant documents and information the day before you travel and check it again just before you head off out the door.
Don’t wait until you reach your destination to book activities. Make sure you are organised by booking tours and activities in advance, so you have less to do when you get there. For example, if you are planning to visit the romance capital of the world, Paris, you can discover more about tours and prices via a tour booking website like The Paris Guy.
Spend time as a family
You may think that this vacation is all about the holiday, but older children will want to hang out with kids their own age, leaving you wondering when you are going to get to spend any time together. Make meal times family time and make it clear that there will be one or two days where you will be hanging out as a family. Stipulate that there will be no wandering off to other things during this precious family time.
Make an itinerary
Boring perhaps, but very necessary when you are the only person responsible for the entire holiday. With plans laid out for each day, you can relax knowing you won’t miss any essential sites or trips. Get the kids involved and ask them if there are any particular things they would like to see and do and if they are realistic and within your budget, factor them into your itinerary.
Accept things aren’t going to be perfect
If you have been a single parent for a while, you will already know that the best-laid plans often go awry and that having high expectations can lead to disappointment. As they say, don’t sweat the small stuff, and if you don’t get to go to a particular place on a certain day, or even at all, just let it go as you don’t want to waste any moment of your holiday needlessly worrying. Savour the moments that go right and tuck them away in your favourite memories to reflect on when you get back from your vacation.
Take time out for yourself
This is your holiday too, so remember that although of course, you want your children to have the most fabulous time, that you need to enjoy yourself too. Research if your accommodation has a babysitting service or takes advantage of the kids’ clubs to take a couple of hours for yourself. You may want to seek out some adult company, so why not see if your hotel is hosting any dancing classes or networking events during your stay? If you prefer some time away by yourself, book a spa treatment, head out for lazy lunch, or just relax by the pool with a good book and enjoy the peace and quiet, because it won’t last for long!
These ten tips should go some way to making a vacation as a single parent easier. Remember to be organised, research your options, and most importantly to relax!