Vacations for single parent families and becoming easier to do. You may be hesitant to undertake single parent travel , but just because you’ll be the only adult in the party doesn’t mean you have to forgo seeing that exotic beach or go skiing. Going on family vacations as a single-parent family is entirely feasible – it may simply mean a little more preparation.
Hotels, resorts, cruises, and tours assume, as always, that a family simply means two adults and two or more kids. The rates and space are created based on this criterion that served all concerned quite nicely, till about a few decades ago. Changes in the social scene and within the conventional family structure did not seem to warrant any serious changes in the travel business until more recently. More and more families now consist of just one parent and one or two kids. While they seem to be managing quite well on most fronts, it’s when it comes to travel, it can seem challenging.
Get all the information you need and plan well, and you should be able to pull off your holiday getaway without a hitch. Here’s what you should know about single parent travel…..
Budget and Costs – What You Need to Know Upfront
When travelling as a single parent, keep in mind that you’re not alone. Between 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, which means there are lots of other parents who know the struggle of planning for a vacation on their own. Here are some tips to help:
- You may want to set a budget first before deciding on your destination. The closer you are to home, the less you’ll have to spend on airfare and transportation.
- If you are set on travelling far from home, try to choose a period that doesn’t coincide with the peak season.
- Try to book early so that you won’t be forced to settle for costly tickets, at least 3 months in advance is ideal. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to avail of package deals and promotions – keep your eyes out for deals.
- Save up a little bit of money every month so you’re not taking a big chunk out of your paycheck when the time comes to buy tickets or pay for gas. Every little bit helps.
These days, many families choose “all-inclusive” vacations at resorts that cater especially to families. These resorts have special rates that are cheaper than those at regular hotels when you book for a family. Family packages may include suites that comfortably sleep four or even six people, buffet meals and access to child-friendly facilities. However, some of these places base their charges on rates for two adults plus kids. So even if they say that there’s a kid’s discount or that children below a certain age are free, if you’re a single-parent family they may charge one of your kids the adult rate just to get the minimum price for a family room. Others will have you pay a “single’s supplement fee” that could be half the price of the adult rate or even more.
The key to spending less on your accommodations would be to find a resort that charges by the room instead of per person. Read the advertised rates carefully and go for those that price “per room per night” rather than “per person per night.”
Where to Go – What are the Best Vacations for Single Parent Families?
If you’ve got more time and money to spend on your family vacation, you can choose to go overseas and maximize the benefits of travel. Bear in mind however that you’ll also have many more details to attend to, such as negotiating a language barrier and getting all the pertinent travel documents together.
When travelling as a single parent with younger children, you might want to make it easier on yourself by choosing a place that you’re familiar with, or at least one where all the accustomed conveniences are within easy reach. For instance, you may want to save that backpacking trip to a third world country for when you’re alone or when your kids are in their late teens or twenties.
Vacations for single parent families is made more pleasant when you’re at a destination that acknowledges and supports your status. Increasingly hotels and resorts provide thoughtful extras to make single parents feel welcome and enjoy their stay. Holiday Inn in Orlando offers the Nickelodeon Family Suites just minutes away from Disney World. An incredible four story water tower in a fabulous water theme park equipped with life guards, character themed bedrooms and more take good care of kids from toddlers to teens, while you get some quality you time.
The Franklyn D. Resort in Jamaica offers a full time nanny as part of a package, leaving you to enjoy your Caribbean vacation. The Atlantis in Bahamas has joined hands with Johnson & Johnson to offer a Gentle Travel Kit and other services for babies and toddlers. All baby needs from pacifiers to cribs, lullaby CDs, and trained babysitters are available within minutes of your call.
Be flexible about your vacation options. You can have as much fun in the next state as you would halfway around the world. After all, what’s important is that you and your kids can enjoy some time together. Popular vacation destinations include the beaches of Florida, Virginia Beach, Mexico or the Caribbean. You can also head up to a lakeside resort in the mountains. If you like, you can even head to Europe or all the way to Australia and New Zealand.
Where to Stay with Children When Traveling Solo
As we mentioned before, single parent travel is often plagued by accommodation issues. Hotel prices are calculated based on two adults sharing the room, with kids who normally get to stay free or on reduced rates. When a single parent with a child comes along, they still charge double occupancy, which means the parent winds up paying for another adult and forfeits the child rates. For those travelling on a tight budget, this might throw a hammer in the works. Package tours might not be competitive for the same reason.
This issue can be solved if when on a single parent vacation, you check for accommodations that charge per person per night, or per room regardless of number of occupants. Find out beforehand about single supplement factors where hotels charge a single adult anywhere between 50 – 100 % extra. Off season is perfect for single parent travel for that’s when you can take advantage of offers and discounted rates. Using Airbnb and VRBO for rentals is another option. Often the spaces will be larger and with a kitchen so some meals can be made at the rental – laundry is often another plus.
Look for places that are advertised as family resorts. In addition to the rates geared towards the special needs of family groups, you’ll find that these places are simply more suitable to travelers with children. To begin with, they’re likely to have large rooms or suites with two large beds or provide roll-out beds for a fee. Some resorts even have suites and villas with living areas, kitchenettes and separate master bedrooms and children’s rooms.
Besides the accommodations, the food at these resorts are also more likely to appeal to your children. You’ll find this a relief if your kids are picky eaters and not inclined to sample local cuisine. For instance, at some hotels there are kids’ corners at the buffet with macaroni-and-cheese, burgers, and pizza or a special kids’ menu with similar fare for room service and in-house restaurants. Some may also have snack bars or ice cream parlors that appeal to your little ones’ tastes.
Read More >>> How To Deal With A Picky Eater On A Family Vacation
Another great thing about these resorts are the amenities that will help keep your children safe and occupied while you get a bit of time off to relax. Look for a place that has a kids’ club or child minding services. A nanny or child-minder to watch out for your younger kids will be a big help. Meanwhile, older kids will appreciate places with arcades, water parks, playgrounds and teens’ lounges.
Required Travel Documents for Single Parents
Another important thing to remember when on a single parent travel out of your country of residence is to get written permission from the absent parent to take the child out of the country. Getting your kids’ papers in order is essential during single parent travel. You want to go smoothly through customs and inspections, so if you’re going out of the country do make sure that you and your children have passports, visas, birth certificates and other papers ready. You’ll need to get the second parent’s signature on your kids’ passport applications unless you have sole custody of the child or that parent’s name does not appear on the birth certificate.
Can a child travel with only one parent? That depends, different rules apply to different places. Ensure you’re familiar with the law of the land and keep all paper work handy and ship shape. Same goes for travel papers such as passports, visas, immunizations, hotel confirmations, itinerary printouts, ticket printouts and any others that may apply.
Safety Considerations for Family Vacations
You’ll need to be extra vigilant when travelling as a solo parent, if only because you may be the only adult in your group. Be sure to read up on your destination of choice so that you’re aware of the closest police outposts and hospitals. Make sure that other people are informed of your itinerary. Keep your phone charged at all times and keep some prepaid call cards handy.
Make sure that your children know what to do if they should become separated from you. Make sure they carry copies of important phone numbers – your own, the hotel’s, and police or medical services.
Don’t be daunted by single parent travel. Plan your vacation well and be informed and you and your kids should be all set to have a good time – vacations for single parent families will give your kids memories for a lifetime.