As a single parent, planning a vacation with children can be overwhelming. How do mums and dads find the ideal location that meets everyone’s needs without a second adult to depend on? When travelling alone with a child or children, single parents can feel challenged and stressed, especially if being single is due to the recent death of a spouse or partner or a separation or divorce. You may be emotionally exhausted, complicating whatever task is at hand.
Still, with some extra planning and a bit of inspiration, single-parent holidays can offer entertainment, enjoyment, rest, and, above all, quality family time with your beloved children.
1. Determine your family needs
Before selecting the accommodation type, determine what kind of vacation you want. Do you need alone time with your children, or would an activity-filled agenda be a better change of scenery? Consider your bank account and zero in on shared family interests so you can identify locations to research and any budgetary limitations before starting your accommodation research.
2. Select the type of holiday you want to have
Decide the kind of experience your children would enjoy: a seaside vacation, theme park, or camping adventure. Seaside holidays cater to every age group, with the little ones building sandcastles and older children involved in water or beach sports, which can also provide a mum or dad with some relaxation time.
For children old enough (and tall enough) to enjoy rides, theme parks are ideal for family fun, although visiting Legoland can be an absolute delight for younger primary school children. If you are on a budget and looking for some relaxation, or if your child is interested in trees, plants, and animals, a camping outing or a trip to a farm might make a memorable family vacation. Single-parent camping holidays can be the perfect occasion for adventure and shared quality time.
3. Budget, budget, and budget
Before choosing an accommodation, define your budget. Be as realistic as possible so that you don’t experience financial pressure that can ruin the whole point of the vacation. You do not need to eat out daily or spend most of your budget on travel or accommodation expenses. What interests your children or makes them happy should be your priority.
If money is tight, you can select a vacation site closer to home and organise free activities that fit your wallet comfortably. You may also consider looking for a vacation resort that is ‘kids-go-free’ to save.
Some resort companies have even introduced single-parent rates, yet some hotels still ask for a single-occupancy fee. If there is a place that you would like to go, inquire if a single-parent rate exists, as accommodations at standard rates can be exorbitantly costly if a single parent is footing the bill.
4. Consider your needs
As a single parent, don’t forget to consider your personal needs. Factoring in your needs is essential if no one else can give you a hand, such as friends or extended family. Remember to pace yourself if you alone are the chauffeur, guide, and cook. While the kids may be raring to go, you may be exhausted at the end of the day. Some hotels and resorts feature children’s clubs with staff dedicated to organising activities and entertaining children for several hours daily. Keeping the children involved in a vacation activity can offer the single parent some time for relaxation and rest.
Don’t forget to factor in if you want accommodation with a kitchen or affordable meals. If you prefer to go off the grid, consider renting a cottage and driving there or hiring a car so you are autonomous. Still, if you are the only adult present, you may want to choose a location and accommodation that makes you feel safe and where people can help in an emergency. You may also want a place near shops and businesses you want to visit if you need to juggle all the responsibilities.
5. Don’t forget security
Security is a priority, especially when children are involved. Selecting an accommodation equipped with a security strategy, personnel, and equipment can make the difference even if the price is a little higher. Security guards, alarm systems, commercial security cameras, and solid building access control systems can be life-saving when travelling as a single parent, especially with more than one child in tow.
Finding a vacation destination with accommodations can be challenging when going on holiday as a single parent. You won’t want to pay for two adults in a hotel room if you are alone with your kids, yet you can benefit from extra services allowing you to relax, making resorts and hotels inviting, budget permitting. You may also want accommodations that offer evening activities for single parents once the kids are off to bed. If you wish to rent a caravan, a cottage, a resort, or pack along a tent, there are numerous accommodation choices for every budget, and with some research, you may even find a discount.