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Travel Tips for Single Parents

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My fellow single parents know that even under normal, everyday circumstances single parenting comes with many challenges. I’ve had friends familiar with my daily routine as a single mom refer to my typical day as an athletic undertaking. If a regular day is an athletic event, then traveling alone with children is an Olympic event. It’s not always easy, but it is possible to enjoy traveling with children as a single parent! Here are my five travel tips for single parent vacations with kids.

Single parent vacations can be a whole lot of fun!

Single parent vacations can be a whole lot of fun! (Photo credit: serrnovik, Depositphotos.com)

1. Pick the right mode of transportation.

Selecting the right mode of transportation is an important factor in planning a single parent vacation. Road trips provide the most control over pitstops and allow you to pack more luggage. Family road trips, however, can be stressful in terms of keeping sibling fights to a minimum and child entertainment to a maximum, especially when the only adult in the car is busy driving.

For shorter travel times between long distances, booking flights might make more sense. Many airlines allow early boarding for parents traveling with young children. Take advantage of this opportunity to get your brood buckled in. Read tips for flying with babies and toddlers before you go!

When possible, I prefer traveling by train with my three kids. It takes a bit longer, but train travel offers more opportunity for mobility during the trip so my children can work off some of their limitless energy while in transit. Plus, all kids seem to love trains!

Train travel makes a good choice for solo parent trips

Train travel makes a good choice for solo parent trips (Photo credit: volare2004, Depositphotos.com)

2. Pack wisely and rent travel gear.

It can be difficult to manage children alone while lugging a bunch of baggage. One suitcase, one carry-on, and one stroller is plenty for a single person to tote when traveling by train or plane.

When traveling with more than one child, you’ll want to make certain porter services are available at all interim and final stops if you want to bring additional luggage and travel gear. Otherwise, consider renting baby gear. Using a travel gear rental service, you can have items like strollers, cribs and supplies delivered to your hotel, airport, cruise ship, or grandma’s house.

For single parent vacations with children aged 5 and older, purchase kid-sized rolling suitcases so they can pull their own bags. Talk up the importance of this responsibility. You’ll get more buy-in if you let your kids pick out their own suitcases.

Big kids can carry their own suitcases

Big kids can carry their own suitcases (Photo credit: IgorVetushko, Depositphotos.com)

3. Choose kid-friendly accommodations.

If staying at a hotel, it’s important that you feel comfortable as a single parent in the company of other guests. Some people vacation to get away from children so you’ll be happiest at hotels that welcome families. You may want to seek out resorts with kids camps so you can get a reprieve from childcare duties during your stay. Kid-friendly cruise lines also offer group and in-cabin babysitting. There are lots of fantastic kid-friendly group trips available, too, which can provide a great opportunity for your kids (and you!) to learn a lot and make friends while traveling.

Single mom and kids at hotel pool

Kid-friendly accommodations are a must! (Photo credit: Anna_Om, Depositphotos.com)

4. Ask for help.

When traveling solo with kids, you’ll probably need to ask other adults for help at times. Be prepared to tip more than you would if you were traveling without children. You may need to tip porters at the airport, bellman at the hotel, or give larger tips to restaurant servers for extra service for your family.

Don’t be afraid to ask strangers to snap family photos either. Most people, especially those at the grandparent stage, are delighted to take photos of young families.

Bellman helping with luggage

Prepare to tip bellman and other helpers during your single parent vacation (Photo credit: sarymsakov, Depositphotos.com)

5. Splurge a little.

If you can afford it, then splurge on some extras that will make your life easier during your single parent vacations. For example, you might want to order on room service a couple of times during your stay. The kids will love it and dining-in causes less hassle after a long day of play.

Carve out some alone time while away, too. Get a well-deserved massage while your children are busy at the hotel kids camp. Or, purchase a tropical beverage to sip on the balcony after the kids are in bed for the night. After all, vacations are supposed to be dedicated to relaxing and recharging, and no one needs that boost more than single parents!

To make the most of your next single parent vacation, be sure to take a look at these tips for saving money while traveling with kids and this advice for getting easily getting through airport security with kids!

Room service food

Splurge on luxuries like room service (Photo credit: ymgerman)

Save these single parent travel tips!

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Travel Tips for Single Parent Vacations

Do you have any travel tips for single parent vacations? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Laura Cecil, Travel Mamas Guest Blogger

Laura Cecil is a mom of three and the former editor of Livesnet.com. 

Comments
  1. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    zwei2go – Let me know when you start blogging again. Maybe you can do a guest post for Travel Mamas sometime!

  2. I am a single parent and have been traveling with my daughter since she was 6 weeks old (she’s now 10). We’ve traveled throughout Europe and most of the US. This post is helpful to those afraid to travel alone with their kid(s).

    I completely involve my daughter when planning a trip, from picking the location, planning what we will do there and finding the hotel (I also let her order room service once or twice while there).

    I believe the best piece of advice you’ve given is “Ask for help”. The times that I have asked for help, never have I been turned down. Many times, others will offer to help before I could even ask, which was always good.

    Thank you for this post (this is confirmation that I should get back to blogging about my travel adventures as a single parent).

  3. This was a great article. I’m not a single parent, but I do travel with my 3 children with out my husband often.

  4. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Marissa – So glad you liked Laura’s tips! 🙂

  5. If I see parents with children I am more than happy to help out but I may not be aware that I could help, so don’t be shy about looking for a friendly grandmother to lend a hand.

  6. Im a single mother with a 2 month old son and this article was helpful because i cant wait to travel with him…

  7. This was really helpful for me, as a single mom I am planning to travel with my daughter (age 7) for the first time and even though we are going by train I think a lot of the same rules apply. Especially since I have very little travel experience of my own, and now I’m taking her. So thank you very much 🙂

  8. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    So glad Laura’s tips are helpful, Christina & Dena!

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