Travelling as a Single Parent
7th December 2017
Travelling with young children can be challenging at the best of times, but if you are travelling as a single parent, there may be a range of new scenarios that you may not have previously considered or encountered.
Despite these, travelling with your children can be a great experience as you share a relaxing break, an educational trip, or even an adventurous holiday.
However, it is always good to be prepared for any eventuality and to have a few handy tricks up your sleeve as you navigate the joys of travelling as a single parent.
Self-Catering vs Catered
Every parent is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all holiday for single parents travelling with their children. However, it is advisable to think carefully about the pros and cons of different types of holidays and how they would fit in with your idea of a great getaway.
If you're looking to have a relaxing break, an all-inclusive, family-friendly hotel could be a good option; however, if you prefer a little more privacy or autonomy, a self-catering holiday in an apartment or villa may be a better choice.
Of course, the decision is yours, but it is wise to do plenty of research to find out about different amenities beforehand, like whether there is a children's club at your hotel or how far the local attractions are from your apartment.
Planning is Key
Planning can be an important part of any holiday, regardless of whether you're travelling with children or not. However, when travelling as a single parent with kids in tow, planning can be even more important.
Not only can it help to ensure that you always have an activity lined up to keep the children entertained, it can also be important for making sure you all stay safe and happy while travelling. It can give you extra peace of mind if, for example, you give a friend or family member a copy of your itinerary.
If you plan early, you can make sure that you have everything sorted, from exchanging currency, buying travellers' cheques to purchasing travel insurance.
Minimise Queueing and Waiting Time
While queueing can be frustrating and tedious for adults, it can be an even bigger challenge when you have a child with you. If you are travelling as a single parent, you probably won't have the luxury of sending one adult to queue while the other keeps the children entertained.
It's unlikely that you will be able to avoid queues altogether, but you may be able to cut down your waiting time in a few ways. For instance, you can now check in online before you get to the airport, meaning you can avoid a long queue at the check-in desk (though you may still have to queue to drop off your luggage).
When you get to your destination, it may be wise to ensure that you have already made travel arrangements. Getting a taxi outside an airport can be time-consuming, but if you have already booked a transfer to your hotel, you may be able to reduce this wait time significantly.
Ask for Help
Don't be afraid to ask cabin crew for help when aboard the plane, they're usually very accommodating. If you need to leave your seat to use the toilet, just kindly ask a flight attendant to keep an eye on your tot until you return. Likewise, when you get to your destination, utilise hotel and resort staff. Not many people will mind if you ask them to hold your bag whilst you assemble your child's pushchair. It may also be worth giving the resort a heads up that you will coming with kids in tow, as some places may even have special kid's programmes and activities in place to make things easier for you when you arrive.
Find Activities On the Beach
Lots of children love being at the beach when they are on holiday, so this is a popular activity for families. However, it can be challenging for single parents, especially if you are travelling with more than one child. The beach can seem like a danger-zone to a solo parent, and without eyes in the back of your head, it can be tricky keeping an eye on more than one child. It may be a good idea to keep the children occupied with activities you can all enjoy as a family, such as building sandcastles, going for a dip in the shallows, or taking a stroll to the neighbouring resort. That way, you can keep watch on the children and enjoy a fun and stress-free day together.
While the beach can be fun for the children, it may be something that you can do once, and then move on to other activities that the children will still enjoy, but will allow you to relax a little more. You could plan your activities ahead of time or ask your tour operator for recommendations.
Enjoy Time as a Family and Alone
Lastly, it's important that you actually enjoy your time away as a single parent with your children. As the only adult, you are likely to face challenges that other families wouldn't have to deal with, but that doesn't mean that you can't still have a wonderful break with your children.
Setting aside time for yourself can be important, and it's not impossible to do. If you are staying in a hotel, you could ask for a room with a balcony. This means that when the children are asleep, you can enjoy some alone time with a good book without leaving your children.
Some family-friendly hotels even offer children's services and clubs that allow you to drop the children off for a day while you go out and explore.
Travelling as a single parent can be as exciting as it is challenging. Not only does it give you an opportunity to get away from everyday life, it can also give you time to bond as a family. If you are in the planning stages for your next holiday, you can cross one thing off your list today and compare travel insurance quotes.