How to prepare for your solo family holiday abroad (without losing your mind):
What we all need after the year we have been through is a holiday away with some well-earned rest and relaxation. Yet as fun as a holiday can be, preparing a single parent holiday abroad can be a challenge. To start with, there are currently so many unknowns, that planning a trip abroad may seem crazy right now. Yet, the sooner you start planning your 2021 solo family holiday, the less stressful your trip will ultimately be. The best way to keep your stress levels low, is to start preparing your holiday as soon as possible and to use a few tricks to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed at the prospect of travelling on your own with your kids:
Do your research
It’s essential to a little research into your destination before and after booking. Knowing what to expect in terms of weather, accommodation, things to do locally and budget is essential to plan your holiday, including outfits and footwear. Aside from the usual holiday gear, you might need clothes to be able to use facilities, such as the fitness room or tennis or multi sports courts, or the nearby horse riding stables or golf course. After all, you don’t want to arrive and find you don’t have the right gear to pursue one of your favourite activities.
Travelling on your own with children is stressful, so here is a trick to keep your nerves in check in crowded place: Buy personalised hoodies from Banana Moon Clothing for the whole family in the same bright design with everyone’s name on it. This way it’s easy to spot the kids wandering off and getting separated from your little group – whether it’s at busy airports, the train station, the hotel restaurants, etc.
Check the paperwork
Whatever you do, don’t leave checking paperwork to the last minute: Firstly, you might find that your travel agent or tour operator has already done your homework for you, saving you valuable time: It’s likely that your booking confirmation will include the details you need or at least links to most of them: your accommodation, tips how to get there, activities on offer locally, weather forecast, currency, and most importantly, travel documents, such as visas or vaccinations. Secondly, If you do find out that you are missing any of the paperwork required, you will have time to organise or apply for It – whether It’s a new passport, visas or vaccinations.
Having the right travel documents on you is essential if you wish to take your kids abroad. So, once you have gone through your agent’s paperwork, do your own fact check because, in the end, vaccinations and travel documents are your own responsibility. Many travel agents don’t know that, in addition to passports, single parents also have to carry proof that they are allowed to take their children abroad. So, check out our busy single mum’s guide to packing for a solo family holiday to find out which travel documents you need for yourself and your kids.
A trick to keep your nerves in check: Get yourself a spacious travel wallet where you can keep your family’s travel documents together, so that you have them handy and on you at all times during your journey, and don’t have to dig around your hand luggage for them.
Take out travel insurance
It has always been wise to take out travel insurance to cover yourself and your kids in the event of illness before or during your trip. Medical and other emergencies can necessitate not only the cancellation of your holiday, but also a prolonged stay abroad or special arrangements for your or your child/ren’s return home. Such scenarios were not covered by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which incidentally (with very few exceptions) will no longer be valid from 1 January 2021.
With travel insurance becoming an absolute necessity come 1 January 2021, it’s an opportunity to shop around and find a travel policy that includes claims relating to COVID-19, from cancellations to COVID-19 related medical expenses (in case you catch the virus on holiday). Taking out comprehensive travel insurance is going to give you peace of mind, so don’t skimp on it.
Use a holiday check list
The ultimate nerve calmer for your inner control freak: Using a check list and ticking off the tasks as you do them can feel rewarding but best of all, will calm anyone with pre-travel nerves. A good checklist might include a section for documents, health and medication, toiletries, electronics, entertainment, and clothes. Google “the ultimate holiday checklist” and you will find have plenty of downloadable documents, even catering for specific holidays, such as a beach break check list or ski holiday packing list.
Whenever you decide to travel again, don’t let the thought of preparing that next family holiday put a dampener on your travel plans. What at first may appear to be a herculean solo task, can actually be pretty simple and relatively straight forward if you take the time to think about what you need, create a pre-travel plan and tackle tasks one by one over a longer period of time.
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