If you’re looking to take the kids on holiday by yourself, we’ve got some handy tips and money-saving ideas - ideal if it’s the first time you’re taking the plunge.
Taking the kids on holiday can sometimes seem like a mammoth undertaking - especially if you’re the only adult making the trip. But it can also be surprisingly freeing.
A recently single mother we spoke to told us: “To begin with, I was quite nervous, and taking the kids out on my own seemed quite daunting. But after a couple of day trips, you start to realise it’s very doable.
“Going on holiday with the kids actually takes pressure off in ways you might not expect. For instance, if you’re having meals made for you, it means you don’t have to do it. Having a bit more time free from chores has actually made them realise that I can be fun too!
“Also, children are very good at making friends with other children - they seek each other out well. This can relieve you of having to constantly think of ways to keep them entertained, and means you can relax a little.
“You can also befriend some of their parents, if you fancy meeting people. At the very least, you tend to end up sharing the responsibility of looking after them.
“And I’m definitely getting braver with my holiday choices with time.”
Money-saving tips for single parent holidays
- Know exactly what you’re paying - when booking accommodation, make sure it’s a room that’s payable by the night, and not ‘per person per night’ - especially if you’re sharing
- Get breakfast included – the cost of eating breakfast out quickly stacks up, especially if the kids are happy with regular hotel breakfast fare
- Get a room with a fridge - keep snacks and drinks cool, and ready to hand
- Pick a hotel with a swimming pool - choosing somewhere with a pool included will save money on activities throughout the day. Plus it means you have an easy fallback in case you’re stuck for ideas. Keep an eye out for accommodation with other appealing kid-friendly features such as play clubs and mini-golf courses
- Take a picnic - if you’re going out for the day, having a picnic is always a winner. Children find picnics fun, tend to eat more, and it costs less than eating out.
Single parent holiday destinations
Family holiday resorts are a safe bet, and first-timers often have much more fun than they expect. Search for a local Center Parcs, Hoseasons or Parkdean Resort, and you’ll probably find something within striking distance.
As mentioned, it’s a good money-saver if pools and activities are inclusive. Even where the original cost may appear a little pricey, you’ll only really need money for extras, and so it’ll be easier to stick to a budget.
If you’re brave enough to go camping, or the kids are old enough to help out, festivals are another good bet. We’re living in a golden era of festivals, with boutique and local events increasingly becoming family-friendly.
There are usually plenty of other kids to play with, endless activities to keep them occupied… And if the weather isn’t as nice as hoped for, somehow kids find fun in mud and wellies that we may have lost ourselves.
If you’re heading for the great outdoors, we’ve got the ultimate guide to hiking with kids and family, and if you’re struggling for inspiration, we’ve listed the best ‘staycation’ destinations right here in the UK.
Flying with children
Times of departure and arrival become more of a consideration when you’re flying solo (with kids). Until a certain age, night flights are best avoided if you don’t want cranky, tired children for the first few days.
Flight duration is another consideration. It might be an idea to put a cap on how long you’re prepared to fly for. Hopefully this means they won’t become too bored, and also crossing fewer time zones will mean their personal clocks will be less out of whack.
Although this may sound restrictive, if you say - for example - that you don’t want to fly further than four hours with the kids, this still gives you a decent radius in which you can travel.
In the same regard, look at flights from your nearest airports to cut down on travel times, and minimise the chance of meltdown.
Check in online and research what documentation your children may need in advance. This should help smooth things out. There may also be family lanes in security, so keep an eye out for these, as they tend to be quicker.
If you are set on flying, take a look at our guide from the Travel Hack on keeping toddlers entertained on flights.
You’ve totally got this!
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance – check out Admiral’s Family Travel Insurance – protection for you and up to three children under the age of 18.