Taking your kids on holiday solo can be a daunting prospect – especially if you’re new to the single parenting game. However, taking a trip together is also an amazing bonding opportunity for your one-parent family. These practical tips from the Frolo Community will help you feel prepared and have fun on your single parent holidays.
If you plan to take your child on holiday abroad and you don’t have a child arrangement order from court, you need to obtain permission from everyone with parental responsibility.
It’s a good idea to obtain this permission in written form – for example, in a letter – as you might be asked to prove that you have permission when trying to leave the UK or enter another country. It also helps if you can bring evidence of your relationship with the child – in the form of a birth or adoption certificate – and a divorce or marriage certificate if your surname is different from you child’s.
If you can’t get permission from the other people with parental responsibility, you can apply to court for permission.
You can find more information on this topic on gov.uk
“Take your child(ren)’s birth certificate if you’re travelling abroad and get a letter from the other parent if you can.“
This might not be the most exciting tip, but it’s crucial to ensuring everyone has a good time.
When you’re deciding where to stay, look for reviews from other people with kids and, ideally, from other single parents. They’ll be able to give you the low-down on how family friendly a hotel really is. Even if a resort or self-catering apartment has lots of five star reviews it might not suit your needs; if all of the reviews are from couples or single people without kids they won’t tell you what you really need to know.
Similarly, if you opt for Airbnb – which can be a brilliant, affordable option that allows you to cater for kids at home – make sure that it’s located near a shop, has convenient transport links, and has all of the amenities you need. For example, air conditioning and wifi aren’t always guaranteed and some hosts ask you to bring your own towels and linens.
“I’d recommend smaller resorts over big ones. When my daughter was little it could mean walking for a long time to go to the loo from the pool or back to the room, packing everything up several times.”
“If it’s an option for you, it might be worth paying for extras that will make your life a bit easier, eg airport transfers or full-board – kids clubs are always a bonus too!“
This advice might seem contradictory, but bear with us. When you take your kids on holiday on your own, you need to strike a balance between making your life as easy as possible and setting yourself up to fail.
Research local taxis and public transport options before you go to make getting around an unfamiliar place as easy as possible. It’s also worth booking tickets for the attractions that you know you want to visit in advance so you don’t have to queue (queueing with kids is not our idea of a holiday). But don’t overdo it – planning an overly ambitious itinerary will just add pressure when you’re supposed to be relaxing.
“Create a rough plan and book things in advance as much as possible.”
“Plan some things, but not too much so you can go with the flow.”
As the only adult on the trip, you’re going to need your hands to be free to keep track of your kids. It’s worth investing in a large backpack that you can use as a hands-free luggage alternative.
“It’s always good to be super conscious about the amount of luggage you take. Pack light and take the type of luggage that means you can be hands free to manage your child. The practicalities of not having another adult to help with luggage can be stressful, so make it as easy as possible for yourself.”
“It’s slightly easier when they are not weaned and can fit in a sling!”
Frolos also recommend investing in a waterproof bum bag to wear in the water, or fake suncream bottles that you can hide valuables in for a bit more peace of mind when you’re poolside or on the beach.
“Be prepared to spend lots of time in the water as that is the safest way to take care of them as opposed to the shoreline.”
“Wear a brightly coloured top or hat at the beach so your kids can easily spot you – and dress them in bright colours so you can spot them from a distance too.”
It’s easy to forget that this is supposed to be a holiday for you too! If you’re travelling with little kids, frolos recommend that you factor in some time to rest every day (even if that means dragging them away from the pool). They also suggest packing a little parent self-care kit so you can unwind in the evenings after the kids are asleep.
“If you’re going with little kids, bring things to entertain them in the apartment or hotel room so you can have a bit of a rest in the afternoon before heading out again to enjoy the evening.”
‘If they go to bed before you, have some treats ready for ‘you time’. A book, magazine, some chocolate, or a glass of wine. This will stop the evening from feeling lonely and help you refill your jug for the next day.”
If you’re still a bit nervous, why not team up with another single parent? Or plan a group trip? Frolos in the community organise holidays on a regular basis – from camping trips in the UK to villas in Ibiza. Head to the Meetups section of the app to see what’s on offer.
There are so many positives to taking your kids on holiday as a single parent and your kids will cherish the memories that you make for years to come.
“I went to Tenerife for a package holiday with my (then) 5 year old for a week last May, having gained my confidence we then went on a 2 week cruise in October. I have a partner now so it is unlikely to happen again, but those memories are so treasured and the last holiday we had somehow marks the end of the five-year chapter my son and I spent alone.”
“I’ve been travelling solo for the last five years with my little guy and we’ve done all sorts of adventures across 37 countries – from chasing the Northern lights to living on a boat in the middle of the Barrier Reef! Honestly travel is probably what really helped us both accept and begin to love our new life. I highly recommend every adventure – big or small – even something within your city or close by. We found ourselves as we explored the world together.”
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