If you think it’s not possible to take a single parent family vacation, think again.
Taking a vacation – sans partner – does not have to be out of reach. In fact, I’ll show you how to score a relaxing vacation. Yep. You and the kids.
One where you don’t worry about the cost being too high.
Or the timing is wrong.
Or the adult libations being too few.
I remember planning out fun time with my girls a few years ago.
Every three months, I made sure we went somewhere.
It was great family time. Just me and the girls having fun.
Discovering the parts of Costa Rica we had only ever heard about.
That’s how we found Parque de Diversiones, Museo de los Niños, Galería Nacional, and Volcán Poas.
They were the perfect single parent family vacations.
At the time.
For a mom with little ones.
But as my daughters got older, I heard different requests.
Things like India, Europe, and Hawaii.
(I’m sorry, what?)
I needed to remind the girls that mom must work for the money we spend.
But as I thought about it, I realized I also needed to justify those trips for myself. That’s why I was making excuses.
A trip to any one of these places meant I had better be on top of my game. On top of my schedule. And my household management.
Then, I considered the cost. I can’t think of anyone who wants to pay the double occupancy rate just because there are 2+ persons. Never mind that only one is an adult.
Of course, I want my kids to have a great time. But, I’d like to relax on this vacation too.
There’s no need to take a vacation only to come home looking for ways to recuperate and de-stress.
So, if you’ve pictured yourself spilling over with luggage, tickets, and toys, that’s completely understandable. I’ve been there. I’ve even done that.
And I’ve seen the harried mom chasing a small child while dad strolls to the agent desk. Then proceeds to give mom the evil eye because she is now on the other side of the building and can’t help him present all the necessary documentation.
Why on earth would a single parent subject themselves to all that?
But, traveling alone with kids does not have to feel like you’ve lost a bet.
You can enjoy yourself if you make certain preparations.
Suggestions to Prepare for Travel
I have, personally, found these preparations helpful:
When traveling by plane, find – and use – an airline club that is family friendly. Family rooms have been a Godsend. Although the purchase of a one-day pass can cost up to $50, the peace of mind and included food & beverages makes the trip much more relaxing.
If the airline club is not in the budget, find an area of the terminal that allows you to put your back – and your belongings – toward a wall. This way, you are safely able to watch the kids.
When traveling by boat, again, go family friendly. Disney cruises – among others – are well known for helping the solo parent in need.
When traveling by car, plan some fun (safe) stops and excursions. Get everyone out of the car and moving for a while. Plan some time for you to rest, too. Long drives can be exhausting.
If traveling by train, choose a route that has some great scenery. And, if the trip is lengthy and it is in the budget, book a sleeper car. I can’t tell you how much of a brain break I got by being able to shut the door and let the little one sleep.
For a while, I stopped traveling by bus, because the seating got more and more cramped. But, in Costa Rica, I found an air-conditioned, spacious bus service with assigned seating. Meaning no overbooking. Nobody standing on top of you. No last-minute riders.
If you find a comfortable bus service, try to book the trip during daylight hours. Unless the trip is longer than 8 hours. Buses tend not to stop as much in the evening. That gives you and the kids plenty of naptimes. Evening hours worked best for my family during long bus trips.
Now that I’ve given you some suggestions and ideas to prepare for whichever mode of transportation you’ll be using, let’s look at some single parent family vacation sites and packages.
Vacation Websites and Packages
A supervised kids club designed to be a learning experience that is fun and entertaining. Game time, arts and crafts, and swimming is often included in the different programs. Ages 3-5 are welcome in one of the half-day sessions (either AM or PM). Only children age 6-12 can participate in the full day session. Children must be potty trained. No diapers or training pants are allowed in the kid’s club.
At Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Select®, Holiday Inn Resort® and Holiday Inn SunSpree® Resort hotels around the world, up to two (2) Kids Stay and Eat Free. But because it is only available at participating hotels, you must contact the individual hotel.
At participating locations, children 18 and under stay free when they share the same room with their parents or grandparents. Check for a “Hotel Alert” on the hotel information page to verify any restrictions.
Kids under 16 also stay free in spacious family rooms. Up to 2 kids eat free breakfast.
Offers and All In One package that was created especially for single-parent families to make an “unforgettable voyage.”
With adult activities and youth clubs, there is always something to do on a Disney cruise line.
A travel and leisure break company dedicated to finding child-friendly destinations for single-parent family holidays.
A site that shows fun things to do with kids in many different countries. There are also selected family accommodations with kid-friendly hotels.
Travel experts on call to find you resorts that don’t charge additional fees for single parents.
Offers vacation packages and experiences for single-parent families from Canada to many destinations in the Caribbean.
Now you know it is quite possible to take a single parent family vacation. And it is also possible to enjoy the vacation.
So, now that you know and have a handful of options, what are you waiting for?
When is your next scheduled holiday?
Don’t have one? Check out One Parent Holidays.
I dare you to pick one.
I bet you’ll have fun.