Travelling solo with kids can be daunting at first, and if your kids are young or you are not the naturally outgoing type, it’s likely to be pretty lonely and stressful, too. But it doesn’t have to be. There are ways you can make sure that you can have an enjoyable solo family holiday! Here are some tips on how to have a stress free vacation and even relax and make new friends when travelling alone with kids both in the UK and abroad:
Choose Family-Friendly Accommodation
Choosing the right holiday accommodation plays a major role in how much you, as a solo parent, will be able to relax and how easy it will be for you and the children to make friends. If you choose a family-friendly campsite or hotel with lots of kids facilities and a supervised kids club, you will have plenty of opportunity to chill and chat to other parents whilst watching the little ones in the pool, at the playground, or when dropping them off for activities. This will make for a more stress-free, and enjoyable solo family holiday all around.
Try a Staycation
Whether you are separated or divorced, you will need permission from the other parents before you take the kids abroad, just like you do if you are married and take the kids overseas on your own. A letter of authorisation to show border control is usually sufficient but do check with the airline and the other parent before you book your solo trip. If you are a foster parent, you are also likely to require permission before you take your children on holiday abroad. This is the case when you are fostering in Sheffield, for example.
If you don’t want the hassle and insecurity, staying local might be more enjoyable and less disruptive for your family. Flying abroad on your own with young children can also be quite stressful. Keeping an eye on little ones and your luggage in a busy airport or bustling resort can be tricky. There are plenty of beautiful staycation destinations in the UK, such as Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, Suffolk, and the New Forest, to name but a few. So, don’t rule a solo family holiday in the UK out.
Frequent Family Venues
Whether you have decided to take a summer staycation in the UK or venture abroad, make sure to plan an itinerary that includes plenty of family venues. Playgrounds, zoos, and child-centric museums all provide easy opportunities to entertain the children, relax, and chat with other parents and caregivers – providing you speak the same language. This will also give you the chance to ask about other popular attractions and eateries in the area. Fellow parents are often the best source local intel when it comes to family friendly attractions.
Use Social Media
If you are travelling solo with kids in the UK, use Facebook or MeetUp to find out what’s going on locally and if other holidaymakers are in the area, the same campsite, or the same hotel. Introduce yourself online first before meeting up with the kids. Using social media on your solo family holiday also means you are able to stay connected with new friends when it’s time to head home.
Join Organised Activities and Excursions
Hotels, holiday villages, and camps catering to families, always offer a range of organised activities for kids which give solo parents an effortless way to meet other parents. While your children play games, do arts and crafts projects, and make new friends their own age during supervised activities, you get to relax and can get acquainted with other parents. It is easy to chat to other parents once your children have made friends and bonded over activities. You could also join the adult or family programme and enjoy interactive cooking classes, bicycle rides, museum tours and hiking excursions geared towards families. These will guarantee built-in playmates for your children and conversations between you and other parents.
If you are on a solo family holiday abroad and don’t have a car, make sure to book some day trips with one of the tour operators at the resort or in the town in which you are staying. There are many excursions aimed specifically at families, such as pirate boat trips, snorkelling trips, or kayaking tours. Water parks and theme parks trips are also great fun with kids, but not the type of activity where you will get an opportunity to chat to other parents if that is important to you.
Book a Fully Organised Holiday
Have you ever considered fully organised group holidays? These might look more expensive at first glance but are often great value for money as many services and activities are already included in the price. If you are an active family, you will love a specialised activity holiday, such as a horse riding, cycling, or hiking vacation, an activity and adventure package, or even a cruise or safari. Many of these types of holidays are, of course, aimed at families with slightly older kids.
If your kids are younger or you want to have like-minded company, you could go for an accompanied solo family holiday where everyone will be in a solo parent family like yours. This has countless benefits especially if your children are still adjusting to life in a one parent family. On a fully organised single parent holiday both parents and children as you and the kids have an instant support network and group of friends in the same situation which can have a hugely positive impact and reduce stress levels. Parents receive hands-on support from a tour leader who will organise everything from airport transfers and group dinners to family activities and day trips, or equipment hire, lift passes, and lessons on single parent ski holidays.
All you need to do is relax and enjoy a stress-free solo family holiday with other single parent families who may be separated, divorced, bereaved, solo-mums-by-choice, or single foster parents. Whether you struggle to make friends on holiday or are very sociable, there are invaluable benefits in booking a single parent group holiday.
Travelling solo with kids doesn’t have to be stressful! The key to minimising stress is being organised, so that nothing can throw you off balance when you embark on your solo family holiday. Make sure you have your paperwork sorted in good time, your airport transfers organised, and a flexible itinerary prepared. Throw in little extras if you can afford them, such as speedy boarding, fast track security, and private airport transfers, to avoid long waiting times with little ones during your journey. Leaving in good time if you have a train or plane to catch is another sure way to start your solo family holiday relaxed. There is nothing worse than having to race to the boarding gate with kids and luggage in tow. Make sure to pack plenty of travel toys to keep the kids entertained during long car and plane journeys.
Travelling solo with kids is much more enjoyable when you can find time to relax, your kids make friends, and you have adult company, too. Keep an open mind and heart and connecting with awesome new friends will be easy. Best of all, bonds formed while travelling often evolve into long-lasting relationships. With some planning and effort, you can not only grow your social circle, but have a stress-free, relaxing solo family holiday.
About the author:
Single Parents on Holiday is the only tour operator in the UK specialising in group holidays for solo families, including single parent ski holidays, beach, activity, and farm holidays for single parent families, as well as group holidays for solo travellers 40+.