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 and solo parents are now more widely considered.
More and more families now consist of just one parent (single parents) and one or two kids. While they seem to be managing quite well on most fronts, it’s when it comes to travel, single parent families travel can seem challenging.
At the end of the day, single parents, probably more than anyone, need and deserve that amazing family vacation. As a parent, the one thing that has helped keep me sane is planning annual trips for my family. Taking the time to pick out a destination and book our tickets has made the whole family look forward to something special each year.
You may have heard of the single supplement fee, which is often required for single occupancy in a room. But there are ways around this fee and it doesn’t have to mean that you are excluded from traveling on your own.
I have found that family resorts can be the perfect solution for single parents. These resorts offer special packages and discounts that make the cost of travel more affordable,
Get all the information you need and plan well, and you should be able to pull off your next family holiday getaway without a hitch. Here’s what you should know about single parents travel…..
Family Vacation Budget And Costs – What You Need To Know Upfront
When travelling as single parents, 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.
- When you book all inclusive resorts – all your costs – lodging, meals, drinks, activities – are booked up front which makes budgeting easier.
These days, many families choose “all-inclusive resorts” 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 for one adult or 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 single parents 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.”
Single Parent Travel Ideas For an Inexpensive Vacation
Here are some simple travel ideas that will help you have an inexpensive, stress-free, and simply awesome vacation.
Explore Your Options
One of the biggest challenges of going on a holiday as a solo parents is the cost. Vacations can be expensive, and it they are even more so when you have no one to split the costs with. One of the simplest solutions is to steer clear of the regular tourist traps that tend to be more expensive and plan for a holiday that’s off the beaten track.
Keep in mind that the people who live in all those exotic beach locales that you are eyeing in the glossy brochures are not millionaires, yet they enjoy the same soft white sand, balmy breezes, and crystal-clear water.
Instead of booking a tour or a room at a popular resort, do some research on your own and see whether you can visit those tropical islands or that charming Asian city without paying tourist prices.
This strategy is ideal with older children or teens that will be more self-sufficient and willing to go on an adventure. This way, you will have a refreshingly different experience free of crass commercialism.
Consider House Rentals vs. Hotels
Are you planning a simple trip to a nearby lake or beach town? If that is the case, you should look into renting a cottage instead of booking a room at a hotel. That way, you will avoid the single supplement fee that you will often encounter when you reserve a family package that is meant for groups with two adults plus children.
A cottage by the lake will be very charming, and it will also give you a greater degree of privacy. You will even get to save some money on your meals. Because these places come with kitchenettes, you will not have to eat out all the time. And who knows? You may even be able to interest your kids in learning to cook.
Best Rental Sites Similar To Airbnb:
- Best Overall: VRBO
- Best for Quality Control: Plum Guide
- Best for Big City Vacations: Sonder
- Best for Hotel-Level Service: Vacasa
- Best for Small House Renters: Getaway House
- Best for Multi-Stop Trips and RVs: Outdoorsy
- Best for a Splurge: Marriot Homes & Villas
- Best for Combining with Car Rentals and Flights: Priceline
- Best for Also Planning Activities: TripAdvisor
- Best for Any Type of Lodging: Booking.com
- Best for a Home on the Road: RV Share
Travel with Another Family
This is one of the nicest solo parents travel ideas if you are on a budget. Get in touch with other single moms and dads and get a rental. You will be able to avail of larger discounts and savings as a big group, and your children will have companions that they can play with and perhaps develop lasting friendships with in their own club in the future.
These family friendly, travel ideas should help you to have fun and enjoy the benefits of travel without spending more on your vacation than you can afford.
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 all the logistics 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 single parents 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.
Family vacations are 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.
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.
From the Florida coast to the Caribbean, there are dozens of places that you could visit with your kids. Here are some ideas on where kids stay and what to do on single parent vacations.
Visit a theme park
Theme parks are some of the most kid-friendly places in the world. They’re great if you can’t really spend an extended period on vacation either because you have to get back to work, your budget is limited, or you’re having trouble with logistics.
Theme parks concentrate a lot of fun and activity into a single place, and the problem you might have will be choosing what attractions to visit from among so many. To make the most of your time, plan ahead and involve your children in the process – ask them what they want to see and do, and come to an agreement with them.
Enjoy a national park
As a parent, you may not have a very big vacation budget. But don’t worry – some of the most enjoyable experiences are relatively cheap. If you have sturdy, school-age children, all you may need is the price of admission to one of our beautiful natural parks.
Places like the Grand Canyon are awe-inspiring and can provide a lifetime’s worth of memories. You can always enjoy a hike and include a picnic or some bird-watching.
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Go to the beach
Beach vacations are great for everyone. You’ll have the luxury of relaxing on soft white sand and listening to the waves lapping against the shore, while your children will be able to swim, make sandcastles, or explore tide pools. You’ll also enjoy watching people on the boardwalk and going souvenir shopping.
Just make sure that the beach you visit has adequate facilities such as rest rooms and life guards.
Focus on Outdoor Activities
Plan your family trips and vacations around getting physical. Most kids today spend too much time indoors, occupied with video games or computers.
They’ll probably welcome the chance to play some good, old-fashioned sports. Take them to the Caribbean where they can snorkel or dive, or to local beaches where they can play beach volleyball or football. In the colder months, you can try skiing or snowboarding.
Where To Stay With Children When Traveling as Solo Parents
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 parents 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 parents 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 – especially all inclusive resorts where all meals are included – 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.
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 clubs or child minding services.credit and much MORE!Book Now
Recommended Resorts for Single parents families
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.
Franklyn D. Resort, Jamaica
The Franklyn D. Resort in Jamaica offers a full time nanny as part of a all inclusive resorts package, leaving you to enjoy your Caribbean vacation. This resort has something for everyone from snorkeling to parasailing and the perfect beach setting.
The kids clubs are perfect for families as parents can relax knowing their children are in good hands with plenty of activities to keep them busy. With a variety of accommodation available, Franklyn D Resort offers great value for money.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet romantic getaway or an action-packed family holiday, this is the place to visit. And with its stunning Caribbean views and tranquil atmosphere, you’ll never want to leave!
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 on family vacations here.
This is the perfect destination to take your family on a beach vacation. With its picturesque beaches, crystal clear waters and world-class entertainment, you’ll be sure to make unforgettable memories. The resort also offers plenty of fun activities for kids such as swimming with dolphins, going deep sea fishing or spending time at the water park and kids clubs.
Beaches Resorts are a popular all inclusive resorts and destinations among single parents. The resort features a 12-mile beach with clear turquoise waters and a variety of activities for all ages, including Sesame Street® characters, the Xbox Play Lounge, and a teenage disco called Club Liquid. All of these amenities are located on some of the world’s top beaches.
Your kids can enjoy fun and sunshine and the kids clubs while you indulge in a 5-star dining experience at one of the 19 restaurants. There are also 15 bars for a nightcap or colorful cocktail. You can pamper yourself at the Red Lane Spa.
If you’re into sports, try scuba-diving or other water-sports, play a round of golf or tennis, and even participate in a basketball tournament to meet other families. There is lots for the whole family to have an enjoyable experience.
Find Deals For Beaches Family Resorts
Get up to 65% off at Beaches Family Resorts and the Best Caribbean resorts for kids of all ages
Nickelodeon Punta Cana
If you have young kids, we recommend Nickelodeon Hotels, specifically the recently opened Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana. This resort brand is excellent at offering amenities and services for babies and toddlers, plus their kids club is outstanding, with supervised activities and the unique Nickelodeon Experience™ (which includes breakfast with Spongebob).
Your children will have lots of fun at Aqua Nick with its water slides, splash pads, spray grounds, and lazy river, as well as at Character Central where they can meet their favorite Nickelodeon characters like SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
This will give you some time to relax and enjoy the beach, spa, or some quiet time designated for adults. Additionally, since the “Nick” is a large resort, there is a higher chance of meeting other single parents.
Moon Palace, Cancun Mexico
The Moon Palace in Cancun offers great amenities for kids. The Playroom has numerous game rooms, an area for aspiring models to dress up and have their hair done, a dollhouse section, an arcade, two playgrounds, a pirate boat, a sandbox, and a miniature soccer field. There’s also a creativity area available for children to explore their artistic side.
The FlowRider™ is a popular attraction that will test your balancing and surfing abilities, leaving you tired by the end of the If you’re looking for some relaxation, you can visit the tranquil Spa, or join in on the various themed parties, music nights, and other activities to potentially make new friends. As a large resort, there’s a good chance that you’ll come across other single parents on vacation.
Some Helpful Single Parent Travel Tips
Travelling as the only adult/solo parents with a couple of kids can be a real challenge, so some single parent travel tips should come in useful if you want to go on vacation as a single parent family. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind:
1. Make a plan and stick to it.
It’s important to have an itinerary before you set off on your family travel so that everyone knows what they need to do and when they’re expected to be at each point in the journey. This plan should also include any activities or attractions that may be of interest to the kids.
2. Get organized before you go.
Make sure that you have all the necessary documents for your family trip and items packed, such as passports and tickets. Keep these in a safe place that’s easily accessible so that if anything goes wrong or gets lost during your travels, you can quickly get back on track.
3. Pack light
It may be cute to get your toddler his own tiny stroller bag that he can pull around behind him, but it will be next to useless and will only become one other piece of luggage that you’ll have to carry around.
Make sure that you only have one piece of large luggage per person with you so that you can move easily. It will also help you to get through customs faster. If you’re travelling with a baby or a toddler, keep in mind that you’ll also have to bring a car seat and a stroller with you and plan accordingly.
4. Bring along a few activities or toys for the kids to do during downtime.
This will help keep them occupied and entertained while you’re travelling. You can also use these to distract them if you’re stuck in traffic or have a long layover.
5. Allow yourself some time to relax and enjoy your vacation as well.
Being a single parent can be stressful, so try to schedule in some breaks for just you where you can unwind and recharge after all the planning and organizing.
6. Prepare your children’s travel documents
If you’re travelling out of the country, you’ll need to get passports for your kids. Some countries also require a visa or your kids’ birth certificates. When applying for a passport, take note that the other parent’s signature is needed on the papers unless you have sole custody or only your name appears on the birth certificate.
7. Watch out for fun activities, and inexpensive activities
Lots of single parents are on a budget, so one of the best single parent travel tips you could get is to look for activities that cost little but are a lot of fun. Try to put yourself in your children’s shoes and you’ll discover that you don’t have to spend too much to make them happy. Take a train instead of a taxi, and visit public park facilities like parks, museums, and zoos.
8. Stay safe
Any parent knows that an eagle eye is required to watch out for kids. If you have more than one in tow, this could be a challenge. Encourage a buddy system, or have older siblings watch out for the little ones. Make sure your children know what to do in case they get lost.
9. Take your time
Being single parents can be stressful, especially when travelling with children. Make sure that you allow yourself enough time to get from one destination to another and to take breaks during the journey. And don’t forget to have fun with your kids too! Enjoy the travel experience – it could be an unforgettable adventure for everyone.
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 as Solo parents
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.
In conclusion, whether you are a single mom or single dad, vacationing as a solo parent can be done safely and with a lot of fun. With just a bit of extra planning and caution, you can be sure that your family vacations are safe and enjoyable.
Don’t be daunted by single parents attractions available in your destination. 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.
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