Traveling with children can be challenging, especially if you’re a solo parent. Without another capable adult to share the parenting responsibilities, the entire endeavor can stress out even the most patient and well-traveled single parents. If you’re planning to go on an adventure with your little one, here are eight tips to help make the journey easier and more enjoyable.
Manage your expectations
Before starting the planning process, you must first check your intentions. The dynamics of traveling solo with children greatly vary with traveling with both parents present, so setting realistic expectations is essential. If this is your first time traveling with your little one, focus on the activities you can efficiently do together instead of pressuring yourself to do everything at once just so you can tick them off from your travel checklist.
Prepare your children
When traveling with children, careful preparation goes a long way. If your kids are old enough, consider training them at home before your trip. Inform them of your travel itinerary, especially about your planned activities. Educate your children on what to do if they get separated from you and other necessary safety precautions. Emphasize the importance of behaving properly and how they should act in unpleasant situations. Remember to get creative when explaining essential details to your kids, as they relatively have limited attention spans.
Do your research
Since traveling with children usually comes with surprises, it would help if you anticipate them by conducting extensive research. If you don’t have a destination yet, search online for the best kid-friendly destinations and choose a location that suits your family’s travel needs and preferences. Check reviews of other single-parent travelers and their recommended itineraries. As a solo parent, safety should be your top priority, so avoid shady or less-traveled sites and focus on finding places with minimal to zero safety risk.
Invest in quality accommodations
While being budget-conscious when traveling is ideal, finding quality accommodation can make your travel experience more manageable and less stressful. Look for lodgings situated near essential establishments and public transportation. Check if your preferred hotel has amenities to keep your little ones entertained, such as play areas and swimming pools. If you’re not prepared to splurge on accommodations, you can take advantage of early-bird promotions and exclusive deals and allocate the rest of your budget to other essential travel aspects.
Children, especially younger ones, tend to have a lot of items, so packing for a trip can be tricky for single parents. Create a list of your daily must-haves and things you can buy along the way. Use sturdy luggage that you can easily navigate through the airport and a travel backpack for necessities such as diapers, a change of clothes, travel toys, and food.
Make sure your hands are always free to attend to your kids. Leave bulky baby equipment at home and consider renting from baby gear rental companies. If traveling with a baby, using a safe stroller fan can help keep them cool and comfortable, especially on hot and humid days.
Establish a routine
Kids thrive on predictable schedules, so creating one for them even while on vacation can help make them feel more comfortable and relaxed. Do your best to stick to their daily routine and engage in activities that are familiar to them. While it might be impossible to adhere to a strict bedtime or mealtime regimen, try to make them as close as possible to their usual schedules. Establishing a routine can help maintain structure and prevent your kids from being cranky and throwing emotional tantrums.
Ask for help
When traveling as a solo parent, don’t be afraid to ask strangers for small favors, but remember to do it respectfully. For instance, if you need assistance placing your bags in the airplane’s overhead compartment, kindly ask the person next to you if they can lend you a hand. If you need to go to the bathroom alone, ask a flight attendant to keep an eye out for your little one. Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, so make it a point to ask whenever you need it and be ready to accept any form of kindness from well-meaning individuals.
Enjoy the process
One of the benefits of traveling as a solo parent is the opportunity to have quality bonding time with your children. Take plenty of pictures and refrain from using your gadgets. Cherish these precious moments with your little ones, and remember to enjoy the entire process.
Traveling with your little ones as a single parent doesn’t need to be complicated. Follow these tips to help make your vacation a safe and memorable experience for everyone.